In a world filled with stress, it seems everyone is looking for that little something to make them more relaxed. Usually, we leave our homes in order to help with tension -- whether it be hitting the gym or taking a walk. And while those things are great, you actually don't necessarily have to leave your living room to feel happier. Considering your house is basically a sanctuary from the world, it makes sense to make your space a spot that's really positive and uplifting.
If you're looking for ways to be happier at home, scroll through our list of ideas that are sure to make a difference in your life.
Home Improvement Projects
You're bound to feel good once you accomplish something around the house. In addition to boosting your confidence, you'll also take care of a pesky problem that was either annoying you or disturbing your peace.
Cleaning & Organizing
There's no denying that a de-cluttered house is a de-cluttered mind. Keeping the space clean and tidy won't just save you time, it also creates a more serene setting. Author Gretchen Rubin says that you'll feel a significant mood change by doing something as small as making your bed.
Certain smells can be very beneficial whether you want to fall asleep faster or just reduce your anxiety. Holly of "Skinny Mom" suggests lavender, sandalwood, peppermint and lemon candles.
If there is a place, person, animal or product that evokes happiness for you, try to take a photo and display it in your home. If you're planning a trip that's months a way, put a reminder of it somewhere. Just looking at these things will make you feel better and allow you to take a break from the stresses of the world.
Eating At A Table
Seriously, it's super depressing when you have to eat lunch at your desk at work -- so don't do it at home. And, if you can, don't eat alone. So many amazing experiences and exchanges happen around a dinner table. Even if you're living alone, put a place setting and eat with real silverware -- you deserve it.
Do Something Nice For A Neighbor Or Roommate
Professor Adam Grant suggests the "Five-Minute Favor" ideas from Adam Rifkin. You don't have to spend all day watching someone's dog, but maybe take the pooch for a walk, bring over some soup when they're sick or just bring their UPS packages inside when it rains. They'll feel good, you'll feel good. Everyone wins.
Okay, you might have to leave your house for this one, but according to a poll by Gardeners' World Magazine, people who gardened for more than six hours a week rated their wellbeing at 87 percent. If you don't have a garden, try putting fresh cut flowers in a vase for almost the same impact.
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Start A Worry Journal
Before you get into bed, spend 10 minutes or so writing down what's really troubling you in a journal or on a piece of paper -- anything from work and family concerns to some issue or question that's really bugging you, Ojile says. "The reality is that writing it down in a worry journal isn't going to solve the problem," he says. But what it can do is give you a place to put down your thoughts and let them go until tomorrow.
Take A Bath
The benefits here are twofold. First, water tends to be soothing psychologically, Ojile says, which can help ease built-up stress from the day. But it can also benefit our sleep: The act of cooling the body, like that which happens when you get out of a warm tub, makes us feel tired. Don't want the fuss of taking a bath? Sipping a cup of warm, non-caffeinated green tea can trigger that same cooling response in the body, Ojile explains.
Say A Prayer (Or Meditate!)
If your mom told you to say your prayers before bed, she was on to something. No matter what you believe in, the act itself can help quiet your brain. "In order to pray or to meditate in a very effective way, you've got to let go of those things in life that are the same ones that keep you from sleeping," Ojile says. Both prayer and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/15/7-fascinating-facts-about_n_899482.html#s309243&title=It_Makes_Your">meditation</a> can quiet the brain, which will ultimately keep you from tossing and turning in bed. And the act of repetition, like saying the rosary prayers in order, for instance, seems to be especially powerful, he adds.
Take A Walk
While some might find that strenuous exercise too close to bedtime only makes sleep more elusive, taking a leisurely walk a couple of hours before turning in can actually help. "An evening walk is a really helpful to help get rid of some of those stresses and strains from the day," Ojile says. "You always feel better after a walk."
Relax Your Muscles
One old-fashioned technique that can trigger sleep is called progressive muscle relaxation, which Ojile describes as almost a form of meditation and yoga. Here's how it works: Start down at your feet and work your way up the body, focusing on relaxing each part, one at a time. When you get to your core, take some deep breaths. "As you get to the deep breathing, you're by nature going to be ready for sleep," he says. "You're naturally feeling more calm and relaxed."
Spending some time cuddling with a partner before bed stimulates the kind of emotions that are, by nature, calming, Ojile explains. And that means better sleep. Having sex can also help (we bet you won't say no to that assignment). "It may prevent sleep immediately," he says, "but ultimately it promotes sleep and relaxation.