Given all the somber news recently, today is a great day to have discovered a wonderful article from the Apartment Therapy blog, “10 to Simple things to make you Happier at Home.”
I’d like to share this find which I have adapted by selecting my favorite 8 from the list and adding some personal insight.
Here are 8 ways to be happier at home:
1. Make your bed everyday. Actually, my aunt taught me this late in my life, telling me that it’s a simple and quick thing to do as soon as you rise. She was right. First, it gives you a straight crisp pallet to lay your clothes out on before you shower and get dressed. Second, you will feel much better knowing that when you are exhausted at the end of the day you get to come back to an un-feathered sleeping quarter.
2. Bring every room back to “ready.” I do this already because I am an anal Virgo, Type 1, First Born with a self-diagnosed case of some mild OCD. I prefer to leave each room in the house uncluttered, and my house close to clean as possible before I leave it. It may be a pain to do, but coming back to a clean home at the end of the day also lifts the mood and unburdens the mind which may be consumed and is probably preoccupied with a bunch of other things.
3. Display sentimental items around your home. If you get nostalgic every time you think about your trip to the Vineyards a few years ago, imagine you can relive those moments moments daily by having photos from the trip framed and displayed around the house. In our digital world, most of our positive memories are holedup on a Facebook album. Get them in your daily life.
4. Start a one-line-a-day gratitude journal. Make time before you hit the hay to write down a happy memory from the day in a journal you keep by your bed. Before bed, simply jot down one happy memory from that day. Ask the kids too. Their fave part of today can be yours too. Reflection is an important part of happiness, and pausing to reflect on a positive event from each day cultivates gratitude. When you’ve had a rough day, forcing yourself to do this will help you gain some perspective and refocus on the positives.
5. Before you get up each morning, set an intention for the day. In “The Art of Happiness” book, the Dali Lama is quoted as saying “”Every day, think as you wake up: today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.” How prolific. But your intention doesn’t have to be a big ole philosophical or lofty intention either. Your daily intent could be something like “be productive” or “enjoy today’s delicious moments” or it could be something more specific like “say thank you to my loved ones today.” But it should not be another “to do” item on your list. Now that would be adding stress.
But in no time your journal of good memories from the day and intentions could be used to brighten your mood and make a great keepsake. It could even help to get you out of a dark moment.
6. Spend money on things that cultivate experiences at home. Save money for a new grill for parties or a new DVD for family movie night — something that will encourage you to have people over and entertain. Plan a summer barbeque, invite your closest friends, kick back and relax. (And don’t forget to print out the pictures to remember the good times.)
7. Call at least one friend or family member a day. You can do this while you clean, while you make the bed, or while you walk the dog. Texts and emails do not count! Make an actual phone call to a loved one, just to chat and catch up. You’ll be glad you did because life is too short and you never know who may or may not be around anymore the next time you want to talk with them. It may be too late.
8. Spend a few minutes each day connecting with something greater than yourself. Finally, whether you believe in God, the ancestors, the spirit world or nothing at all, studies show that connecting to a high power is correlated with happiness. Just stepping back can help you realize that we are part of an enormous universe can put some perspective on your life and day. Before bed, spend just a few minutes contemplating something larger than yourself. Take a walk in nature. Write in a journal. Create a sacred space in your home. (Or if spirituality is really not your thing, create a home spa: light some candles, soak in a hot bath, delve into a good book… are you feeling better yet?)