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Mental health is a tricky thing. It’s certainly incredibly important—few things matter as much to both our long-term health and our immediate daily lives. But most of us don’t pay enough attention to our mental health. In many cases, we’re not considering the little things that surround us and impact our mental health for better or for worse, like our own homes.
Our homes are more important than we might think. It’s not just about having shelter and space, your home is the last thing that you see each night and the first thing that you see in the morning. It’s a place that plays host to your rest and relaxation, as well as to your daily tasks and chores.
This is your brain on interior decorating
It’s no surprise that homes matter a fair bit to our minds. We need shelter, after all. But we also need to appreciate the subtle things about the home. The nature of your home, including its cleanliness, the arrangement of your furniture, and even the decor on the shelves and walls, can affect your mood, your productivity, your happiness, your stress levels, and (over time) your long-term mental health.
Think about it: If your furniture is laid out poorly, then your rooms will feel smaller and your paths through your home will feel more frustrating. Tasks like cooking will be tougher or easier depending on how you’ve organized your space. And your ability to rest easy in your living room or sleep well at night depends, in part, on how soothing your decorating choices are (and how well your curtains block out the streetlights at night).
This is why professionals take interior design seriously in spaces designed for mental health treatment. Great interior design really can alleviate depression and anxiety, while bad interior design does the opposite.
Building a healthier home
Since you know that your home and interior design choices can improve or degrade your mental health, take some time to really make sure that your space is doing everything that it should for you.
Layout and organization is key in interior design. Consider your spaces: Do they encourage healthy activities? Are your chairs and couches arranged to encourage movement or conversation, or are they locked in front of the TV? Is your kitchen layout one that encourages you to cook, or are you ordering takeout all of the time because you hate cooking in your own space?
Decor matters, too. Use different textures in wall hangings and furniture to create comfortable spaces that appeal to your personal tastes. Don’t lose your personality to interior design trends. Make your space uniquely yours with things like custom canvas prints. Canvas prints are a great choice because they are affordable, look classy, and can be customized to feature a meaningful photo that reminds you of something that brings you joy.
Caring for your mind outside the home
Your home should be a place that encourages your best habits and eases your mind. But even the best home is not a guarantee against all forms of mental health issues. Unfortunately, there are a lot of common mental health problems that threaten people like us—including depression, anxiety, and addiction. If you’re at all concerned about your mental health, then you should turn to a professional.
When you’re tackling things as serious as depression and addiction, you need real help from mental health care providers. You should consider rehab and therapy options, medications, and whatever else your trusted mental health care provider recommends. Don’t go up against mental illness alone.
A lot goes into your mental health picture, and you should take these conditions seriously. In the meantime, remember to care for your home environment—if you do, it will take better care of you.