The secret to long-lasting happiness might just be at home, right under your nose. Or on the tip of your tongue, rather. One study suggests that there's a correlation behind the words you use to talk about your home and your personal stress and mood levels.
A study from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that the way people describe their homes may reflect whether their time at home feels restorative or stressful. They asked families to conduct self-guided tours of their homes, and analyzed the language they used as they did. They lumped the families into "stressful home" and "restorative home" categories based on the frequency of the words they used. Those who described clutter or a sense of the home as unfinished went into the first group, and those who used restful and nature words went into the latter.
The study found that the women in the stressful home group had an increase in depressed mood over the course of 3 days following the home tours, and prolonged levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The women in the restorative home group, as you can guess, had the opposite results.
Try This: Focus on the Positives and Give a Guided, Glowing Home Tour
The study only confirms that there's a correlation between the way people describe their homes and their moods and stress levels, not that one causes the other. But if you're looking for ways to de-stress and find some happy at home, maybe doing a focused-on-the positives walkthrough of your home - a bright-minded tour of your space - is exactly what you need to flip your perspective on life.
Check out the difference between this positive tour from the study...
Here’s the little sitting area especially in the winter where I sit and light a fire and read. It’s really peaceful and nice when the kids are asleep. ... And this is the family room which we all love and relax and play in.
... and this one, full of negativity:
These are the windows, which won’t shut, and if I had more money, I would replace. Here are the holes in the wall, which don’t get repaired. ... And I get to come home and I always reflect on all the holes in the wall and all the things that aren’t done.
It's not hard to see that the person from the second family doesn't see their home as a relaxing, invigorating space. Do you think their perspective could shift if they forced themselves to talk positively about where they live? By giving a glowing house tour, maybe to a new friend or a visiting family member - or even just taking time to walk and talk through what you like about your home as if you are preparing for giving a tour - you'll encourage yourself to notice the good things and force yourself to push the stressful thoughts out of your head.
What do you think? Worth a try? Do you think the way you describe your home has an effect on your mood?