Updated: May 12
Covid-19. Never in history have we been collectively “chained” to our homes like this.. Never in history have we spent so much time at home.
Home has always been an important part of our lives but now more so than ever. And if you’re not happy at home, you’re going to be even more miserable now.
Your home is not exactly a house of torture.
It’s the little things that slowly get to you. Piles of clutter, unfinished chores, children interrupting your work, a demanding spouse, too little space… it’s a long list.
What do you do? How can your home become your sanctuary, a reservoir of peace that you can tap into every time and feel better no matter what’s happening in the world outside?
This post will show you how to make your home a happier place. A paradise on earth.
Table of Contents
1. Be Happy with Yourself
2. Make Your Family Happy
3. Be Happy with the Home You Have
4. Make Your Home Cheerful
5. Make Your House a Home
6. Cook with Love
7. Enjoy Your House
8. Get Enough Rest
9. Use Natural Scents
Let’s start with the first and most important step…
#1 Be Happy with Yourself
Were you expecting a home makeover as the first step? Sorry to disappoint but you need the truth.
Buying things to make your house look better is not the answer. Science shows that consumerism is the biggest suppressant of happiness.
The truth is, most of what’s wrong with your external environment is a result of what’s happening inside of you. It depends on the story you’re telling yourself everyday.
You’re the master craftsman who is building your reality. Every thought, emotion, and perception is a building block of this reality. You have complete control over the production of these building blocks.
So what’s the story you’re telling yourself? Are you a helpless individual in a world that’s full of mean people out to ruin everything you do? Or are you a powerful individual with the means to forge strong relationships in a beautiful world?
Whatever you tell yourself, you’re right. As Henry Ford once said:
“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right”
So how do you change the story you tell yourself? How do you become happy with yourself?
The simplest and fastest way is to have a gratitude journal. Everyday, first thing in the morning, write down all the things that you’re grateful for. Do this consistently, and you’ll find yourself becoming happier.
In a study that asked participants to briefly write on different topics every week, one group was asked to write about things they were grateful for. Another group was asked to write about anything that made them unhappy. The last group was asked to write anything that came to mind with no particular emphasis.
Unsurprisingly, the group that wrote about gratitude became the most optimistic and felt better about their lives in as little as 10 weeks. They were also healthier.
Need I say more? Start a gratitude journal today.
When you’re happy, you have the capacity to spread joy and you should start with the next most important group of people.
#2 Make Your Family Happy
I’m going to let you in on a big productivity secret: you work best when your family is happy.
If your relationship with your spouse, or children, or parents is an unhappy one, you are likely to be emotionally drained. When you’re emotional, you cannot perform at work.
You will also not look forward to coming home or being at home.
One of the first things my mentor focused on in my life was my relationships at home. I couldn’t understand his particular attention to this area in my life. I wanted him to help me perform better at my work but instead we spent a lot of time talking about my family relationships. Frustrated, I asked him why.
“If you’re not happy at home, you’ll never be productive at work,” he said.
As I began tracking my performance, I saw the correlation between productivity and happiness at home. Most of us are ignorant of this relationship.
But how are some people able to have beautiful, happy relationships at home while others struggle with it? Why, you wonder, is it so difficult to maintain happy relationships at home?
That’s just the nature of relationships. Beautiful, happy families don’t just happen by chance. Love is not something that simply happens to people. At least not in the long run.
It is a deliberate, disciplined, and conscious effort. It requires time and attention.
Start by putting away your smartphones and tablets. Plan time for your family. Be deliberate and disciplined. Track how much time you spend with them and make sure you’re striking a balance.
Write down your issues with family members. Work on those issues. It will be hard. But the reward will be well worth it. You’ll have a happier home and look forward to coming back to it everyday.
#3 Be Happy with the Home You Have
The grass is always greener on the other side.
Your home could be bigger. It could be in a better neighborhood. It could be on a higher floor. It could be landed. It could be many things..
Upgrade your home, and after a while you’ll find a new list of things it could be. It never ends. The idea that a newer, better house will make you happier is an illusion. The initial euphoria of having a better house will wear off.
So, stop comparing your home to other houses. Stop looking for what could be and enjoy what is. You’ll instantly feel happier.
Is being content the same as being complacent? No. You don’t have to stifle your ambition or your desire to uplift yourself. Ambitions and dreams are good. Plan out your ambitions. Work hard towards achieving them.
But live in the present.
And stop comparing.
#4 Make Your Home Cheerful
Ever noticed how gloomy houses look like in the movies? Or ever noticed how gloomy houses are described in books?
They’re always dark and dull.
The fastest way to bring cheer into your house is to let in the sunlight. Throw back your curtains, open your windows, remove anything that’s blocking the light from coming in.
Ensure all your window areas are clean and uncluttered.
Gloomy houses are also full of things. So, declutter. You don’t need all those things you’re hoarding. When was the last time you used them anyway?
Where do you start or how do you go about doing this? One lady has a fantastically effective method that became a Netflix hit. It’s called the KonMari method.
The main premise of Marie Kondo’s KonMari method is that you tidy your house by category, not by location. So instead of trying to tidy room by room, do it by categories like clothes, food, papers etc.
Discard all items that no longer spark joy. Believe me, plenty of items will fit this category.
The KonMari method or a minimalist approach, is liberating. You’ll bring joy into your home. Instantly.
Consider adding color to your house too. Aesthetically. A flurry of bright colors can be jarringly painful. Avoid gaudy. What you want are a few highlights. Fresh flowers can do this wonderfully. They never fail to bring joy.
#5 Make Your House a Home
Ever heard the saying, “Home is where the heart is?”
A house is defined by its physical attributes. A home is whatever you make out of it. This means that a home is distinguished from a house through deliberate, conscious effort. Sound familiar?
You’ll find that deliberate and conscious effort is a prerequisite for meaning in anything you do.
Therefore, pay attention to your home.
I have an “everything must work policy” in my home. Plumbing, electrical switches, appliances and furniture are all kept in usable condition. Anything damaged is fixed or replaced. For example, light bulbs are replaced immediately if they burn out.
Keep your home clean. Sparkling. Ensure without exception that every part of your home is clean from the floors all the way to the air conditioner filters.
You’ll feel an immediate upliftment when your house is sparkling clean.
The attention you give your home shows how much you care for it. Set an example. Your whole family will inevitably develop this level of care too.
#6 Cook with Love
Food has the capacity to bring people together in the most pleasant way.
You’ll find that happy homes usually have a culture of eating together and bonding over lunch and dinner. The best family conversations happen over dinner.
So, cook with love.
What does it mean to cook with love? Let’s go back to the attributes of love discussed above. It is a deliberate, disciplined, and conscious effort.
Therefore, cooking with love requires that you know what your family members like to eat. It means finding ways to make your dishes better. It means setting aside time to source ingredients. It means putting thought into what you make. It means serving meals on time everyday. It means showing up for meals.
Make it a point that everyone in your home gets together for meals. Make it a grand affair at least once a week. Talk, have fun and be merry.
#7 Enjoy Your House
Jack up the mood in your house with activities that you can enjoy in it. Tap into your imagination for hundreds of ideas.
Ideally, you should think of activities that fall into 2 categories:
those that you can do on your own, and
those that involve your family members
If you like to read, set aside time for it at home. Find a cosy spot in your garden or in your room where you can read without being disturbed.
Perhaps you love movies. Set aside time for a movie at home.
You could cultivate home-based hobbies like gardening, or DIY projects. Many adults love building out of Lego and involve their children in it too.
Fun activities that you can do with family members include board games, and any other game you can play inside or outside your house.
Continuously be on the lookout for anything you can do to make your time at home enjoyable.
#8 Get Enough Rest
Do you notice a stark contrast in your mood when you don’t get enough sleep? I find myself more irritable and emotional. My judgement is also impaired when I’m sleep deprived.
If you’re habitually deprived of rest, you may have become used to these symptoms and therefore ignorant of them.
Your body requires rest. How much is a matter of debate. Some people feel well rested with 4 hours of sleep. Others need 8 hours. Studies say that adults need between 6 to 8 hours of sleep on average. Find your sweet spot and stick to a routine where you get enough rest. Everyday. Without exception.
You’ll find your zest for life return when you’re well rested. Your mood in the day will be better. You’ll be primed for a great day.
If the rest of your family members also get enough rest, a collective state of positivity will permeate through your house from the crack of dawn (or any other time everyone wakes up).
#9 Use Natural Scents
A good scent is attractive. We’re drawn to it. That’s why perfume sells so well.
5-star hotels spend a lot of money to develop their own signature scents and propagate them inside their premises. This is one of the reasons you “feel good” when you step into such hotels.
You can do the same for your home.
Get a diffuser and some essential oils. Infuse your home with delightful fragrances.
Different essential oils can set different mood tones. Experiment with them.
There are certain flowers that produce beautiful fragrances. Jasmine does a good job. My personal favorite is a type of tuberose called Sundal Malam. It doesn't have a great name (Sundal Malam literally translates as “night slut”), but it has a fabulous scent that is noticeable only in the evening.
If your house is clean, decluttered, and aesthetically pleasing to the eye, fragrance will heighten your feeling of pleasure. What you’ll have is an enticing home.
That's How to Make Your Home a Happier Place
Most of the time you don’t need to move to a bigger, newer or fancier home. The price tag on a house doesn’t influence how happy that house will be.
The world is full of million-ringgit mansions that are dark places of despair.
You make your home a happier place. All it takes is deliberate, disciplined, and persistent effort.
Make a note of how to make your home a happier place and implement the suggestions here little-by-little. You don’t have to do it all at one go. Focus on one every week. Then improve and maintain a momentum.
You’ll be amazed at how much you begin to enjoy home. Instead of draining your lifeforce, your home will become a place that revitalizes and rejuvenates you. It will become your oasis. A place you cannot wait to get back to after work. A paradise of your own.
Imagine having such a place.
You can have it. It’s yours. You know what you have to do to claim it. Get started now.