Budding flowers and warming weather are signs of the world waking up after winter.Spring has arrived! So shed your winter wardrobe, and liven up your home with our tips on how you can spring clean your way to happy.
Most people’s first step to spring cleaning is to, well, clean, but it’s not that simple. Spring cleaning doesn’t just mean grabbing a bottle of Windex and a new Swiffer. In order to truly spring clean your way to happy, you have to revamp your entire house. In our recent post, Why Less Really Is More, we discussed the power of de-cluttering. Clutter, like old papers, piled-up knick-knacks, or basically any non-essential “things” you keep for keeping’s sake, is actually making you less happy. We’re serious! Psychology Today has shown that those who work and live in cluttered homes and offices can be significantly more stressed, anxious, and have a sense of helplessness. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work or in life, take some time to throw away or donate any unnecessary belongings. This means that gross smelling lotion you thought you’d use eventually, or the white elephant gift your coworker gave you. If you haven’t used the item in six months or longer, you will probably never use them. So either give it to someone who will (GoodWill, ARC Thrift Store, Denver Rescue Mission), throw it away, or have a garage sale!
On that last point, we should include the beneficial properties that giving has on our own psyches. Scientific studies have uncovered that giving does a lot of good both for the giver and recipient. In fact studies have shown that when we make a donation to charity we see brain activity in the portion of our brain responsible for cravings and pleasure rewards. Showing a clear link between giving and pleasure. You can maximize this sense of giving-pleasure by actively volunteering, or donating to a charity in someone’s name. Surveys have shown that of those who volunteer 100 hours annually, 68% report feeling physically healthier, 89% feel it has improved their sense of well-being, and 73% report a lower sense of stress. Although 100 hours may seem like a significant amount of time, we thought we’d put it in perspective for you by comparing it to some truly time-consuming activities. Calculations show we spend over 2,600 hours every year sleeping, over 370 hours eating, over 560 hours driving, and a whopping 382 hours mindlessly surfing the Internet. 100 hours to increase your happiness as well as the happiness of others doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice now, does it?
While you’re in the midst of some heavy-duty spring-cleaning, consider taking some extra time to paint or redecorate. When redecorating a space, consider WebMd’s list of stimulating colors. Warm tones in the kitchen and living room can help encourage conversation and closer bonds. Cool colors like blues and purples in your bedroom will encourage restfulness and relaxation. Colors like orange and red in your workout room, will encourage you to move. If you want to use color to help you feel happier but can’t paint or don’t want to paint, try purchasing pillows, flower pots, or any other small pieces of décor in the proper color, to add to your rooms. Here’s a chart of how different colors make us feel:
Add Some Life
If you’ve read our blog for any considerable amount of time, you know that our love of green goes way beyond paint colors. We’ve written several posts on the power of green like this, and this, and why it’s important to see something green and leafy everyday. In fact plants are so powerful, studies show that plants added to hospital rooms speed recovery rates of surgical patients, ease anxiety, lower heart rates and blood pressure, and encourage an earlier release date from the hospital than those without plants in their rooms. So go to your local grocery store or Home Depot, and buy a few small plants to place around your home. If you are able to see them from every room, you’re happiness will improve.
So onward with your spring cleaning! Make this a year of happiness, by following our simple guide for how to spring clean your way to happy. Do you have any tips or tricks to feeling happier? Let us know by commenting below or on our facebook page. As always stay up to date with all Wishlist news by following us here and on any of the social media platforms. Also, be sure to enter our photo contest before April 4th, for a chance to win an Urban Living Wishlist by sharing your photos using #wishlistadventures!