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This year you thought everything was going to be different: not only have you written down your list of good intensions according to their priority, but you have also printed it.
And yet, a few days into 2019, you already feel distressed. Still, your job is not more stressful than usual, and you normally love it. You've just gone on a diet, but basically it's your usual regime, which had been pleasantly varied by the Christmas holidays. And the saddest day of the year is still far away.
So, have you ever thought that it might be your home that's making you unhappy?
Houzz.co.uk's editor-in-chief, Victoria Harrison, recently devoted an entire essay to the subject, Happy by design - How to create a home that boosts your health and happyness.
We like it because:
1. It's inspired by a personal experience
2. It calls on experts from various fields, including the Japanese scientist Kozaburo Takenaka
3. It's based on a simple truth: happiness is in the small things
We don't need to quote Tolstoy's Family Happiness to agree with Victoria when she lists the benefits of a tidy and bright house with a nice garden.
For her, a beautiful place to live in must smell good, be organized and full of plants: she created a tech-free bedroom and filled it up with oxygen-rich orchids. Just change some elements, then all the improvements add up to each other.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
When that couple of friends you invited over for dinner a few months ago brought you a coffee plant as a gift, you were a bit disoriented. But then you have changed your mind: it's growing, it's evergreen and its intense color makes you feel istantly better. Home gardening has become your daily source of happiness.
And you're in good company: there's a whole community on Instagram. The New York Times has defined those influencers, plantfluencers. After all, the benefits of gardening are confirmed by science. Species such as Aloe Vera, Gerbera and Spathiphyllum release oxygen during the day and at night, purifying the air. What's more, a Harvard Medical School study found that 30 minutes of intense gardening could burn as many calories as 30 minutes of weightlifting or jogging.
Are you messy and stressed? Space problems are not a valid excuse. Rationalize and set up a system: Virginia has scientific evidence that a chaotic environment raises cortisol levels in the blood.
According to a research by Darby E. Saxbe and Rena Repetti of the University of California conducted on a female champion, living in a house perceived as cluttered and incomplete makes you feel more tired and depressed. A study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, on the other hand, shows how 20 minutes of cleaning is enough once a week to feel less anxious.
Not sure where to start? You could get rid of clothes you have not worn for at least a year. There is a simple way to figure out which garments to say goodbye: put them all with their crutches facing the wall and, as you wear them, reverse the direction.
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