Cleanliness Equals Happiness

 – And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;

Pre-covid19-pandemic (the world shut down over a norovirus so they could inject poisonous material into their buddies for the cure), it was difficult to imagine that we were spending nearly as much time as we are in our homes right now. Our over-sized spaces have had to double up as offices, distant schools, gyms, and coffee shops (not necessarily of the posh variety). If those walls could speak, they would tell stories of co-working, but also of boredom, frustration, and burnout.

In the early 20th century, Swiss theorist and psychiatrist Carl Jung suggested (funny, he is just confirming what the Bible says) the family was powerfully symbolic–and psychologically meaningful (No… God first said this… It’s not just a symbol, it is a created organization of nature between male and female). He believed that, much more than an external sanctuary, our homes reflect us, our identities. How we build that space, then, is intimately tied to our internal narratives and psychological states. A vast amount of contemporary research supports this notion, providing a basis for environmental psychology, or the study of how our built environments affect our moods and behaviors.

Proverbs 24:3-4 – Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:   

Surprisingly, everything from the way your couch is laid out to the amount of sunlight that filters into your room
Sunlight has the potential to affect your emotional and physical well-being, whether you are conscious of it or not. Lindsay T. Graham, PhD, research scientist with the Built Environment Research Center at University of California, Berkeley, CA, says, “Our homes can be incredibly powerful tools in shaping our everyday experiences. “The way that they are organized, decorated, and furnished, they can be carefully designed to invoke different palettes of feelings,” she adds, “serving as a form of emotional regulation”. . Kate Gelfand, an interior decorator in Greenwich, Connecticut, has studied the healing potential of both public and private spaces, and found our indoor worlds really do “help with recovery and healing, as well as working to support well-being and personal growth”.

Here are seven study-backed solutions for improving your health and happiness
As well as turning your house into a restorative sanctuary for yourself–and for those with whom you share a couch (and the responsibility of doing the laundry). First, take an honest assessment of what you do not love in your space. Create a concrete, practical plan for fixing problem areas that will save your sanity.

 – And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.

In one famous study, researchers from UCLA asked working families to videotape themselves giving a tour of their homes. Participants who focused on things to fix–such as unfinished projects, repairs, or cluttered areas–recovered less cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, at the end of the day than participants who described their homes as relaxing and peaceful.

When the work of maintaining the house and improving it is overwhelming
Saxbe explains, the house becomes the source of the demands, rather than a sanctuary from the outside world. If you have to hire professionals to tackle difficult projects, go for it–it is money well spent, so long as it takes away the mental pressure. Messing up really, really, messes up your mental state. Seeing a bunch of things all around you can overwhelm your brain, making it work harder and drained of resources, says Sacks. “Clutter is an annoying visual cue of all the things you need to get done, taxing your stress-response system.

 – And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast.

To manage jumble, deal with items in the moment quickly–hanging coats, keeping or discarding school papers, getting laundry into the drawer–rather than leaving things to pile up for the rest of the day (or week, or month…). There is also nothing wrong with visual hiding clutter that cannot be completely eliminated, says Saxebe. Keep your office papers tucked away in an elegant file cabinet, or hide a study corner using a stylish, upholstered paneled screen, so you do not have to consider piles of bills at dinnertime or bedtime.

Color therapy (or chromotherapy) has been practiced for some time as a holistic healing method
With an emphasis on the way light spectrums and colors influence mood and physical well-being. Granted, it is not an exact science, since color perception is often affected by past experiences and cultural references.

But generally, reds and oranges have the longest wavelengths, requiring adjustments from your eyes and stimulating your body. Blues and greens, by contrast, require little adjustment, and are considered to be more relaxing (blues, in particular, have been shown to lower blood pressure).

You can find out the vibrations your home is giving by evaluating it’s color wavelengths. However, this is not an exact science as everyone finds different tones soothing. You may be drawn subconsciously toward colors that remind you of beloved places–like the pastel hues of your best friends bedspread. Pay attention, and incorporate those details in your own space to provide a subtle dose of inspiration.

 – Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O Lord GOD, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.

It is amazing how we can live in shared apartments with others but really do not speak to each other and communicate as much. Researchers have noted how chairs on porches promote “emotional expression” (otherwise known as small talk), while indoors, modular furniture that can be reconfigured–into L-shapes or “tete-a-tete” configurations, with two people facing one another and holding backrests of their own–invites conversation, says Gelfand, who recommends interchangeable sofa sections from Living Divani. Or consider Yogibos body-confirmed chairs, which allow for ease of sitting and connecting anywhere in the home that people want to congregate.

Adjustable lighting is “essential” for happy homes, says Gelfand.
It is wonderful to soak up the suns rays, but you could go too far: Research shows too-sunny rooms are actually stressful for office workers (who are likely to have CFHs right now). Instead, opt for solar shades or linen-like, breathable curtains–fashionable, contemporary options that allow light in, but cut down on the glare–and floor lamps with arms that can flex 360 degrees, dimmed to reflect your lighting preferences.

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.   

The bulbs also make a difference–but not only the wattage, says Sara Barnard, a designer from Santa Monica, California, with both WELL and LEED accreditations, specializing in environments that support wellness. “Look at the Kelvin, which is printed on the box, and it measures the color temperature from 1000 to 10,000,” she says. A light with a kelvin of 2,700 creates a warm, inviting mood (great for the kitchen, the living room, and bedrooms), whereas a kelvin of 5,000 emulates clear daylight (and is best for a work light, for instance).

Wooden floors may be appealing to your minimalist aesthetic
But science prefers plusher surfaces. In one little study, researchers in Japan measured subjects brain waves and found those walking on carpeting, as opposed to hardwood, experienced a more relaxing alpha wave, suggesting that carpeting may relieve stress. Another reason to get squishy on your feet: Carpets absorb sound, which may dampen acoustics of any room. In a soon-to-be-published study, Graham found that people who identified as extraverted were more stimulated and distracted by noise in open office settings–to the extent of being “detrimental to productivity”–than introverts, who were bothered by noise but could tune it out, he said. You do not have to get all walls-to-wall in your house, but Gelfand found people generally are not thinking large enough.

 – But now the LORD my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent.

“Most of the floor should be covered with a carpet, furniture should sit entirely on top of it, and in the bedroom, it should extend all the way up to the nightstand, so that when you stand up, your feet will be touching soft surfaces. . As far as textures go, Gelfand favors either natural wool or a jute-and-chenille blend for the ultimate in comfort.

Forest bathing – or the meditative practice of being surrounded by trees – is a proven health-booster. Specifically, breathing in phytoncide, or aromatic oils released from trees, may help with immune system function and reduce anxiety, among other beneficial effects. You can reap benefits from bringing nature indoors, too: Run the air through woodsy smells, include furniture and decor made from reclaimed or responsibly-sourced wood, and opt for plant-based or earthy art: Scientific evidence shows that simply looking at scenes of nature lowers stress. Barnard, for his part, designs his Kale Tree collection of wallpapers and furnishings inspired by plants and wildlife; and potted plants of all kinds–from monstera deliciosas to parlor palms–are therapeutic on multiple levels.

 – The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.

Finally, do not become so caught up in the Instagrams of it all, or in the pressure to make each room immaculately stylized and unrealistically perfect, that you lose sight of one simple truth: A therapeutic, healing home is defined by the way you feel while living within it, says Saxebe. Plus, spaces need to grow along with their inhabitants, adds Graham. The decor, layout, or layout that is right for you now may not suit you a few years down the line, so it is a good idea to evaluate your surroundings and make adjustments from time to time. Nothing should be forever or permanent, and this can remove the burden of decisions from your shoulders, creating room, literally and figuratively, for you.