Featured Image Caption: Effect of Environment on Happiness
Have you been to an office where there’s a large window overlooking a beautiful sunlit garden? The workstations are uncluttered, the place is tidy, and the walls are painted with relaxing colors? You’ll feel relaxed, blissful, and in high spirits.
Happiness and Your Environment
Our surroundings have a powerful effect on our brains. According to Science Direct, there is evidence that natural environments are beneficial to our physical, mental, and psychological health.
The source of such an effect is both subtle and obvious. The environment we are in can either encourage or discourage interactions among people. For instance, a receiving area that has comfortable chairs arranged across each other can encourage visitors to interact.
The environment also has an effect on people’s behavior and impetus to act. If you work in a company that minimizes waste and encourages reusing items, then recycling becomes a norm. Recent recycling statistics also show that implementing policies such as reducing waste and recycling items gives a company a positive reputation. Such a business can be seen as a responsible, eco-friendly entity, and this exudes happiness for both employees and the public alike.
The environment influences mood. Spacious, bright, and clean spaces seem to radiate a lot of positive energy. People tend to be more productive and inspired in environments that have a touch of nature such as a window overlooking beautiful scenery or a workplace with lots of indoor plants. Such rooms can reduce depression and anxiety.
A clean and green environment can also reduce stress. This is important because stress affects our bodies in a lot of ways. According to neuroscientists, what and how we think at any given time can affect our body’s biochemistry.
Thus, a noisy and confusing workplace, for example, can cause a person to become worried, confused, or helpless. As thus, his blood pressure goes up, his heart rate increases, and his muscles tense up.
Juan Carlos Baumgartner, a Mexican architect, aims to design user-friendly workspaces that create happiness. According to Baumgartner, 98% of society is looking for ways to be happy. He said that a balanced blend between two factors, pleasure and purpose, that generates happiness.
However, Baumgartner’s further collaboration with psychologists in Harvard University’s science department allowed him to identify the environment a person is exposed to as the third key component in generating good vibrations.
For example, if your job involves crunching numbers all day long, you may find the job boring, stressful, and tedious if you’re locked up in a small, stuffed, and cluttered office without a window that lets natural light in. But if your office has organized shelves, its walls painted with pastels, and has a window overlooking the city skyline, you become more productive, inspired, and willing to perform your job.
Changing your purpose or pleasure is often extremely complicated or requires a great degree of willpower. However, you can change the environment. And the good thing is that the environment around you is designable.
How to Make Your Environment a Happy One
Whether at home, in your room, a private abode, or in your office, you need to create a place that is conducive to happiness. Such a place does not only give you peace of mind but also promotes good health. Here are some tips on how to have a positive environment.
* Choose or design a workspace so that there’s a lot of sunlight that goes through the room. Sunlight causes the brain to release serotonin, a hormone that causes happy feelings.
Sunlight also decreases the production of melatonin, a hormone that causes you to feel sleepy at night. Decreased melatonin during the day helps keep you active and energetic.
* Choose or design a workspace so that it’s near something natural. A minimalist office with a garden in front is a perfect example. However, even having a flower box by the window or putting some indoor plants also makes a place more relaxing and positive.
According to an article in Psychology Today, being more connected to nature generates a distinct feeling of peace and joy beyond the more familiar benefit of feeling connected to loved ones, colleagues, and friends.
* Open your windows to let fresh air in. Breathing fresh air makes you feel calm, composed, and at peace.
* Don’t acquire things that you don’t need in your room, house, or office. Minimize such purchases. Recycling or repurposing old stuff helps you resist the temptation to buy extra things.
* Declutter your living space or workplace regularly. We recommend doing a decluttering session once a month.
* Ensure that your place is free from hazards. Remove all items and fixtures that can cause injury. Sanitize and disinfect to get rid of pathogens. Repair faulty structures that may cause hazards. Knowing that you’re in a safe and secure environment gives you peace of mind.
The environment where you’re working, living, and playing has a huge part in your happiness and well being. The good news is that in most cases, you only need to modify a space in order to create an environment that placates your mind.
By Lillian Connors
who is a Senior Content Developer at ACT-ENVIRO, with years of experience in developing content. Throughout her career, she always looked for ways to contribute to the environment in recycling efforts, while providing valuable information with her written articles. She’s deeply into green practices, cherishing the notion that sustainability not only makes us far less dependent on others regarding how we live and do business but also contributes to our planet being a better place to live on. When she is not trying to improve the things around her (and herself, for that matter), she likes to lose herself in a good book and sip on an occasional appletini.