Two years ago, Victoria Harrison, editor of the website HOUZ.co.uk, felt unhappy and dissatisfied with her life. She had stress at work, she didn’t have enough sleep and she lived on chocolate and coffee. When she looked at her friends, who were also successful professionals, she noticed the same thing, as they were all unhappy even though they had their dream jobs and enjoyed a luxurious life.
Harrison says, “We were all tired. I was talking to a lot of friends and we had the same conversation every day. Everyone was very tense, everyone was following hobbies and diets. All these things were supposed to make us happier; but when I looked around, I found that we were not happy.”
However, she could not find the reason why she felt this way. She adds while standing at her house in Cambridge, UK, “I had a great job and I had all these things, but I knew that there was something missing, but what was it?”
Three years ago, Harrison left London where she has been renting a house for eight years and moved to her first home on the outskirts of Barrington Village.
She adopted simplicity in the interior design. She changed the color of the old fixtures from brown to white. She also surfed Instagram using her phone, then bought boxes of familiar artifacts and old magazines for the precious limited storage space.
When she looked honestly at her house, she asked herself, “Does my house make me happy?”
As a result of her own efforts to explore the effect of the interior design of our houses on our psychological health and happiness, Harrison issued a book entitled “Happy By Design”, which contains important tips for choosing the interior design of your home that brings happiness and joy to you.
“Some simple things in life have the potential to maximize happiness,” says Harrison. In addition to talking to experts about the benefits of oxygen released from home-grown plants, Harrison began to spend more time in the garden and observe simple things that made her happy.
Therefore, she built a clean and orderly house full of colors that improved her mood and calmed her mind. She also used a lot of living plants and recycled products, in addition to natural light and good smells. More importantly, she created a technology-free bedroom containing oxygen-rich fruit plants and a simple alarm clock.
She adds, “If you get some or all of these elements correctly, I think you will create the best conditions to be happy.”
“It’s easy to make simple changes to bring happiness to our homes. It is something we can all do. It’s fun and it makes you feel better. It does not have to be dazzling,” she says. Knowing her neighbors and having friends and family around her are priorities for Victoria Harrison. She illustrates, “Creating the ideal environment to share with those around me is really the key to happiness.”
“Work stress won’t disappear but if you feel stressed and spend the weekend in the garden, you’ll feel better,” she adds.
Healthy House Plants
Many scientific studies have revealed that plants grown in an internal environment can lower blood pressure, relieve stress and have a positive overall effect on our health. The Japanese scientist and botanist Kozaburo Takenaka spent many years researching this idea and developing the concept of “Environmental Parks” in hospitals and public buildings. He was asked whether he thinks plants could play a bigger role than purifying the air and he replied decisively, “Environmental parks not only cleanse the air but also bring peace of mind to people.” He added, “There is a need for indoor plants for those who seek fresh air and healthy life at home, but you should choose plants that release oxygen during the night, not only during daytime.
Simplifying Your Space
Darby E. Sachs and Rina Rebetti, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found out that women who describe their living spaces as “crowded” or “filled with incomplete projects” were more likely to be depressed and tired than those who described their homes as “comfortable”. The researchers found that women who suffer from overcrowded homes produce higher levels of cortisol.
The good news is that you can reverse this situation and make your way to happiness and health. According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a 20-minute non-stop cleaning once a week can improve levels of anxiety and depression. So, say hi to a neat and simple house.
Dr. Felice Zee, director of Sleep Medicine at Northwestern Medicine, Chicago, found that those who work at offices with more level of exposure to light had longer hours of better quality sleep, greater physical activity and better quality of life. But can these results be applied to our houses? Dr. Zee thinks that the same theory applies to houses. So why does daylight represent a big influence on our health? Dr. Felice Zee illustrates, “Light is the most important time factor for internal timing, and therefore it can have a positive or negative effect on health – depending on the time of exposure to sunlight.”
A strong gardening session will burn calories and improve blood pumping, even sitting on a chair and looking into a green landscape can have a positive impact on your health. In the 1980s, a scientist named Roger S. Ulrich conducted an experiment on patients recovering from surgery in hospital. He found that those who were able to see trees from their windows were discharged from hospital sooner, had fewer complications and required less medicines than those who had only a view on a brick wall.