Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Healing Spaces - Which home changes bring the most happiness?





 
I always said that is not how expensive your house is but how happy it makes you feel when you step in. According to a recent study our surrounding environment  has a significant impact on our immunological system and our ability to heal. Therefore, the way we decorate our home starting with wall color,  furniture arrangement, and use of space can enhance or damage our health. Dr. Esther Sternberg, expert on neural-immune science and author of The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotions, is a leading researcher exploring the connections between the areas of the brain that control immunity with those that generate feelings and thought. She makes a convincing case about how a comforting environment can aid physical healing.

Sternberg immerses us in the discoveries that have revealed a complicated working relationship between the senses, the emotions, and the immune system. First among these is the story of the researcher who, in the 1980s, found that hospital patients with a view of nature healed faster than those without. How could a pleasant view speed healing? The author pursues this question through a series of places and situations that explore the neurobiology of the senses. The book shows how a Disney theme park or a Frank Gehry concert hall, a labyrinth or a garden, can trigger or reduce stress, induce anxiety or instill peace.

If our senses can lead us to a “place of healing,” it is no surprise that our place in nature is of critical importance in Sternberg's account. The health of the environment is closely linked to personal health. The discoveries this book describes point to possibilities for designing hospitals, communities, and neighborhoods that promote healing and health for all.


THE SCIENCE OF HEALING WITH DR. ESTHER  STENBERG| Preview | PBS 








 



Readers, I ask you now that you are aware of how our environment affects our health and our emotions are you ready to re-arrange, redecorate, declutter, simplify , and re-color your home if you know it will make you feel better? Don't know here to start? Here's a list of some happiness-inducing home changes that you can be applied to your home or work environment:

Living room:
  • Build window seats. People often like to be away from a main gathering place yet still part of it.
  • Add shelves. Messy rooms cause anxiety, but an orderly display of family photos and books you're reading makes a place feel like home.
  • Let the sun in.  Hang draperies far enough outside the window opening so it doesn't obstruct the glass.
  • Lose the dropped ceiling. People think more creatively in rooms with 10-foot ceilings than in those with eight-foot ones.
Kitchen:
  • Install a center island with a built-in cooktop  that lets you face the room when you're prepping meals. Put stools on the other side so your family can sit with you as you cook.
  • Position the sink under a window. If there's no window, put in a mirrored backsplash.
  • Use different light sources: undercabinet task lighting, more diffuse ceiling lighting and a hanging fixture over the island.
Bedroom:
  • Get double-paned windows to muffle sound. (This will also save energy.)
  • Install a dropped ceiling if your current one is higher than 10 feet. Lower ceiling provide a sense of safety, which is key for sleeping.
  • Ditch a tall bureau for a long one that's waist high.  A spouse is less likely to drop stuff all over the bed, chair or floor if he/she has a shorter bureau to place things on.
  • Hang light-blocking window shades plus heavy draperies to ensure slumber.
Bathroom:
  • Choose rounded sinks and mirrors. People prefer objects with rounded edges to those with sharp ones.
  • Install his and her sinks. This can prevent spousal arguments.
Home office:
  • Buy a bigger monitor. Researchers find people work faster on a 24-inch computer screen than on an 18-inch one.
  • Get a glass-paned door.  To avoid eyestrain, you need to look up from your computer and into the distance. Glass helps you do this. Add fabric panels to block distractions.
  • Use the right bulbs. Look for warm fluorescent, designed to imitate natural light.
  • Place desk chair to see the door and a window.  If you have no view, hang a photo or artwork that depicts nature.
 

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