What makes a house a home? Whatever builds your happiness, gratitude and inner peace. Your home should serve as a safe space for you to dream, recharge and feel 100% free to be your authentic self. Transforming your space into a sanctuary of gratitude is not that hard of a job, although it does require an open mind and a bit of time and dedication.
All You Need Is Love
It's doubtful we'd have to convince anyone that love improves our mental health. If you've ever been in love, you know the power of this emotion can not only move mountains, but also heal traumas. Yet, to say that love is a broad concept would be an understatement. As A. A. Milne wrote in our beloved story about Winnie-the-Pooh: “How do you spell love?”, asked Piglet. “You don't spell it, you feel it”, answered Pooh. The same can be said about gratitude and love is the key to a home filled with it to the brim.
It doesn't matter whether you live with a spouse, alone or a cat purrs at your feet as soon as you come home from work. Love is love. What differs is how you love. Did you know that we all communicate in different love languages? Knowing which one is closest to your heart can be highly beneficial for creating and maintaining the atmosphere of gratitude in your household.
Acts of Kindness And Words Of Affirmation
What we say and do in our house matters greatly. Remember when parents taught you using the words thank you, please and sorry was the golden rule of kindness? Express your appreciation for anything and everything. Write thank you notes, love notes or uplifting messages to put a smile on your loved one's face and leave them around the house.
Make time and effort to do things that fill your home with joy, love and gratitude. Cook a special dinner (particularly if it isn't usually your role in the family) for your loved ones; buy some fresh flowers to lighten up your space; schedule a spontaneous date night with your partner or a play date with your child; make some delicious chai for your roommate; smile at yourself in the mirror, and so on. Sometimes small things matter the most.
Hygge: The Door To Coziness and Harmony
According to Meik Wiking, the author of The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well, hygge is a feeling of tranquility, the coziness and safety of a blanket and a cup of tea on a winter afternoon. Like love, hygge is felt rather than verbalized and it's many things in one. Your friend can be hyggeligt. A coffee shop can most definitely be hyggeligt. Music and wine, a fireplace and a good book can all be hyggeligt, too. Hygge goes hand in hand with gratitude as both of them carry the warmest and most positive outlook on life. They are both messengers of happiness.
Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world, which makes it a reliable source of wisdom when it comes to creating a positive atmosphere. According to the Danish philosophy, these are the pillars of hygge and happiness:
- Soft Light: the transformative power of illumination. Lamps, in all shapes and sizes (and with the most interesting and sophisticated designs), play the central Sun-like role in the Danish house. However, candles are the true hygge light — the coziest, warmest, most homey kind, your magic hour at home.
- Mindfulness: hic et nunc, here and now. Being present is one of the fundamentals of the hygge manifesto. Living in the moment, a meditation in itself, will support all your gratitude practices alike.
- Harmony: cultivating inner peace. Breathe in, gratitude, breathe out, peace. Simple pleasures — a cup of coffee, a piece of your favorite chocolate, warm-and-fuzzy socks, soft jazz music, the comfort of your favorite armchair in the evening. Harmony is balance and contentment.
- Togetherness: inviting people into your home (and life) and treating them equally. Forming a family by choice. Surrounding yourself with those who make you better, those who contribute to your harmony, those who are willing to give before they take. And then reflecting light and kindness back at that lovely bunch.
Minimalism: Declutter Your Space To Make Room For Gratitude
In other words, Marie Kondo your home. Be mindful of what takes up too much space in your house and isn't essential for you to hold on to (oh, look what I found! That uncomfortable sweater I knew I was never going to wear the moment I got it last Christmas). Whatever doesn't spark joy, bid it farewell. Tidying up will give you room to breathe and invite positive energy into your space.
By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order.
— Marie Kondo
Detoxing your house detoxes your soul. Organize your meaningful possessions, list all the things, people and memories you feel grateful for and then put reminders around the house. Remember that goofy photo you took on the trip with your friends last spring? Print it, frame it, put it in sight to smile at the happy times with your tribe. And that pretty jewelry box from your mom? Place it next to where you normally keep your phone to remember to still call her when your life gets extra busy. These gratitude reminders create meaning in your home.
You Are What You Eat
Food is fuel. What we eat determines how we feel. Understanding the value ingested with a healthy meal is one of the keys to your wellbeing. Even if you are not so good of a cook, or don't have the patience to count calories or find the latest recipes from remote corners of the world to try out for dinner, listen to your body. When your body is happy, so is your mind. The kitchen in your home is a very important place. This is where magic happens, this is where you decide whether your gut will be healthy and your mind clear. Happiness is a colorful vegetable salad.
You Feel The Way You Dress
Dress to impress... yourself! Gratitude comes from within. It's far easier to create it if you feel great in your second skin — your clothes. Be mindful of what you wear. Listen to what your mind and body need on a given day. Lazy Saturday at home? Put on comfy slippers and your favorite sweater. Feeling extra confident? Do your makeup or opt for a tie for no other reason than feeling your best. Your look influences how you perceive yourself and the world around you and can make or break the atmosphere of gratitude in your home.
Mi Casa Es Su Casa. As Long Us You Bring In Happiness
Your home is your temple and your safe haven. For this reason, having people over is an intimate occurrence. Yet, if your home is your sanctuary, it's not unreasonable to only host guests who respect it and improve its atmosphere with their presence. This way we can be grateful for both our home and the lovely people who bless it with their positive attitude and energy.
Let's Do It Together!
Love and gratitude work well when shared. If you live with a partner or with your family, try instilling gratitude practices in your housemates and you can double the positive results in no time. This kind of teamwork will bring all the members of your home tribe closer together and set a very good example for children. Most of what we learn during our formative years, we learn at home.
What If I Live On My Own?
We say cheers to that! If you live alone, you have more freedom to experience gratitude on your own terms and fill your space with joy. May we suggest a gratitude dance? Or a special dedicated mindfulness corner where you can journal, read, meditate, get creative? Or maybe filling your bedroom with peaceful aromas of essential oils? Or singing your favorite song out loud? Fill your house with what is meaningful to you, with small things and rituals that make you feel at home.
Gratitude starts within. Yet, since your surroundings greatly influence this feeling, your home is the most important place on Earth to put in order. What you do, who and what you have under your roof matters. Once the lasting atmosphere of gratitude settles in place around your campfire, share it, spread it into other homes. It will come back to you sevenfold.