“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence,” said Aristotle. Happiness is every human being’s birthright. We could even say that it is a state of mind, a choice and a way of life. Undeniably, our need to be happy is what drives us to make our various choices in life. Finding that inner peace is the final destination and one of the paths we need to take seeking happiness is creating a harmonious and healthy living space.
Whether one believes in the traditional Feng Shui or Vaastu, ultimately the main focus is to create a sense of balance, increase the positive energy and reduce negative energy in any living space. The key is to create a space, which kindles all 5 senses. Most of the principles discussed are fairly logical and adapting these would make an immediate difference.
- Before entering your home, remove your footwear and make a habit of arranging it on a rack neatly. Footwear represents the external stress like bad day at work or traffic jam, and the ritual of placing it inside a proper rack represents a conscious decision to compartmentalize and cast off the worries and troubles as well as the dirt of the outside world.
- Ensure your living space is clean, clutter free and organized. Clutter represents mayhem and in such an environment, it is likely that you would be stressed about even the smallest of things. Being organized makes a big difference on a daily basis. Bedroom closets, bathrooms, drawers, kitchen cabinets are some of the typical areas to focus on. One of the best remedies to stress is creating an organized living environment.
- Discard anything that you have not used personally last 6 months. This whole concept of saving for the rainy day has been rather misunderstood. A sense of insecurity is what has made us keep collecting and accumulating more than we require. You would be surprised about how many of our homes are breeding grounds for insecurity! One needs to be logical about what goes into storage because many a time we tend to store more than we need and this attitude actually tends to increase the stress level. The thought of having to clear is a stress inducer! Basic rule of thumb here is, if you find reasons to hold onto something beyond 6 months, it means you do not need it. Get rid of it!
- Clear the home of anything broken, chipped or damaged. Chipped glasses, broken items are all negative energy. If you have items that need to be mended, do not put that on the backburner. Either get them repaired or get rid of them. Mentally, knowing that you have so many unfinished projects and errands by themselves can cause stress. They also occupy space, need to be maintained and it’s all just a vicious circle. Review them impersonally, and if you choose to recycle them, act on it immediately.
- Natural light, fresh air, cross ventilation and greenery! The more of these in a home, the better it is for the dwellers. It is important to open the windows and keep them open for natural air to circulate. In the times of air conditioners, we are forgetting the importance of fresh air and natural light. It is important to use technology to enhance quality of life but not at the cost of forgetting what is good for us.
- Towards night, avoid bright lights for an hour before bed as this would help your body’s natural cycle to slowly move towards night. Plants represent harmony and these are one of the best accessories which also improve the quality of air inside your living space. Ensure to keep your plants clean and healthy as they increase the happiness quotient by absorbing all the negativity. Place them all over your home; size and presentation is again left to your discretion. Demarcate the public, semi private and private spaces of your home.
- This is a very important aspect that needs to be addressed in most homes. Bedrooms are very private spaces, dining area and kitchen semi private and the foyer and living room are public spaces. Clearly defining the levels of privacy will assist in how you can design and accessorize to personalize your space. Keep that home office and library away from your bedroom and your exercise equipment from your living room or bedrooms. While we have to make do with the space available, there is sanctity to the spaces and levels of privacy; kindly define it and stick to it for the sake of yourself and your loved ones.
- Choose colours that help you unwind and recharge your batteries. Earthy tones have a calming effect on one’s nerves. Whether it’s the wall colour, bedding, artwork, fabrics or decorative objects, soft, neutral colours provide a sense of clam. One’s intuition is the best guide to whether they like the cool or the warm palette! If you would like to have bright colours in your home, use them sparingly in your living room and dining room at the most. Bedrooms and the study need to have a calming effect and the colours adorning these rooms do have a bearing on the mind and body.
- Banish that television from your living room and bedroom. Watching television actually drains your energy. It is very important for families to bond over lunches and dinners, talk to each other and spend quality time together. Gone are the days when families would sit and discuss what happened during their day at work and enjoy a meal together as television and social calendars have started dictating our mind space. It is important to unwind with loved ones. Keep a space and time aside for television and make a conscious decision to balance the time you spend in front of the idiot box. Trust me, the number of divorces and broken families would reduce if this practice starts in every troubled home!
- Focus on the bedrooms. We are supposed to spend a third of our lives sleeping. Ergonomics and safety are of paramount importance. It is very vital that the beds are very comfortable; pillows are easy on your neck, the linen clean and the space very clutter free and organized. The ambience needs to be calming. May it be the kid’s bedroom or of a couple, TV in these rooms is an absolute no-no. The violence and negative news can be absorbed into your subconscious and may cause nightmares. Try introducing aromatic candles and air diffusers to enhance the atmosphere.