How can we find our happy at home?
I think the answer to this is bigger than the question.
The answer is more holistic and slightly upside-down.
Now, more than ever before, we need to find the heart in our homes. A heart to give us strength, a sense of well being and comfort and, where possible, a sense of reconnection in order to manage the stress of our changing times.
But to access all these good feels from our homes we need to first put some in.
The physical process of working though our interiors so that they represent our truest selves is such an empowering and liberating experience. Just like when we wear an outfit that we feel truly represents our inner most style, values and ethos, and our hearts soar, so too can we emulate this at home.
Time spent in such personally tended environments is utterly soul quenching….
…and very different to tying ourselves to trends or the should’s and should not’s of social expectations.
However, our ability to self express lies in the higher part of our brains, a part that can be inhibited by stress and anxiety. Therein lies the upside-down-ness of how interiors can make us happy. We must start the happiness cycle ourselves in order to access the creative part of our brains. Once accessed we can strengthen this loop by working on our houses, pouring in all of our own uniqueness to maintain our happy homely status quo.
Our “reptilian brain” controls vital functions to do with our survival such as breathing, regulating our heart rate and digesting food.
Next comes the limbic system, which contains a part of the brain called the amygdala, responsible for making sure we notice any information that is potentially negative or threatening.
The third part of the brain is the neocortex, containing the pre-frontal cortex where we make decisions, establish plans and decide what’s good and bad for us.
Stress can cause a temporary loss of access to our prefrontal cortex (or creative cortex as I like to call it). Our ‘reptilian’ brains take over and we enter reactive mode.
When we are able to relax and let our brain waves slow down enough to re-enter the creative cortex (I’m renaming it!) we produce the best flow of ideas. Opposingly, when we are ‘stuck’ in stress mode we fall back into familiar routines and automatic responses, the exact opposite of creativity.
We aren’t inspired to paint a feature wall, move some furniture around or install new curtains. Stress hijacks our higher brain functions, so we are forced to revert to habitual responses.
This means that in order for us to access the part of our brains that are able to self express, be inspired and energised enough to make changes to our homes, we need to feel calm and happy.
This is a biggie for me and something that I have to continually work on. My personal tactics include adding as many empowering and happy activities as I can into each week. This is hard work to start with and might not feel easy or natural but eventually that 15 minute morning yoga gives way to a lunchtime walk which might lead to an evening read in the bath, Saturday sea swim or a Sunday huddle by an open fire. These empowering activities, that leave less time for Netflix or social media escapism, will begin to unlock the power of our creativity.
Once we have arrived at an inspired and energised headspace, we can start researching all our favourite interiors and designs ideas. Our newly creative minds will soon be bulging with an abundance of fresh ideas, from which new recipes to try to which tiles we need to complete the kitchen.
3) Ask questions
Asking ourself questions about our likes and dislikes, whilst trying to discern the difference between trends and our own preferences, can be a key turning point in achieving a space that allows us to be wholly ourselves. Recreating a trend induces a much shorter-lived joy than creating a really personal home vibe.
4) Make a plan
Put a plan in place to honour personal preferences and step into the exciting realm of energy and inspiration. Here we can start making lists of things we want to re-home, recycle, or replace and start searching on Marketplace, local auctions and favourite suppliers websites.
Even if we only action one thing per day, per week or per month, once our motivation has been un-canned, we will find that our happiness at home begins to flow and grow with every positive change we make.
Keep an eye on the Homing Instinct blogging feature where I unravel all our favourite design styles so that we can start feeling the way to our most unique and honest home interiors yet.
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