Dan Buettner is a National Geographic Explorer and the author of “The Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons from the World’s Happiest People.” Here, he shares his insights on how to design your own home, so you can feel more overall happiness.
Dan Buettner: My name is Dan Buettner. I’m a National Geographic Explorer and the author of “Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons From the World’s Happiest People.”
If you move from an unhappy place to a happy place, that’s probably the most powerful thing you can do over time to favour your happiness. Not all of us can move, however. But there are a few things you can look for in your house.
Number one: contrary to what your realtor will say, you do not want to buy the cheapest house on the block. You want to buy the average house on the block because you don’t always want to be taunted by the neighbours whose got a nicer house and a better car.
Number two: you want a house with a footpath. The happiest Americans are socially interacting five to six hours a day. You’re much more likely to do that if you live in a connected neighbourhood than if you live in some soulless cul-de-sac. You want a front porch on your house as opposed to a back deck. Once again, a front porch invites social interaction. A back deck you’re off by yourself.
You want good light in your home. You want plants in your home. That actually favours happiness. Some studies have shown that if you have Mozart, and I don’t know why it’s Mozart, but it’s specifically Mozart playing all the time it seems to inspire positive emotions.
And then finally a little trick that I learned from Ed Diener, who wrote the foreword of my book, is this notion of a “pride shrine.” Take one area in your house, ideally a well-trafficked area, maybe between your bedroom and your bathroom.
And you create a pride shrine of pictures that trigger positive memories — pictures of your kids when they were young, a remembrance of a parent or a grandparent, pictures of your vacation spot, diplomas, articles that you’ve liked that make you feel good. Anything that makes you feel pride in something that you’ll see several times a day because when it comes to happiness, one important component is how you feel the sum of joyful moments day to day. And you can set up your house so you’ll feel more of those.
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