If you ever had to take an introduction to psychology in high school or college, you’ll be familiar with a theory known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Basically, a psychologist named Abraham Maslow observed people and determined that they are motivated to achieve certain needs and some of those needs need to be satisfied before others. This theory is illustrated in the following diagram.
Maslow explained that people begin their personal journey at the base level of this pyramid, and in order to move up to the next level, the needs of the previous level need to be met. This process repeats until the individual reaches the level of self-actualization or enlightenment.
The base of this model is called the physiological level of needs. This includes food, shelter, air, water and humanities most basic needs. This is the survival level.
The next level is safety and security which includes personal security, money, employment, health and property. This is the first step to thriving as an individual. An individual at this level is not only surviving but living. They have a bit of freedom to do what they want to do in order to move up the the next level.
These are the two levels that I am going to focus on.
As human beings our environment has a lot to do with how we feel mentally and emotionally. Anyone who has been in an unsafe environment or a survival situation will tell you this, but we don’t have to place ourselves in those positions to feel the effects of our environment. They say that your home is a reflection of your mind and your self, and we can use Maslow’s theory to back that statement up.
When your space or home is cluttered, unorganized or doesn’t reflect who you are, you are likely to be unmotivated and more stressed. This takes unnecessary energy out of you that you could be spending building quality relationships, which is the third step to Maslow’s pyramid. It also, as silly as it sounds, creates a negative relationship between you and your space which is an instant mood killer every time you go home.
You want your home to feel safe and calming. By taking the time to make it a place you enjoy is so important for your mental health. When your house is somewhere that you like to be and that you feel comfortable in, you give yourself a place where you can decompress, relax, and rejuvenate so that you can go out again with a fresh face and accomplish what you want to more easily.
This doesn’t have to be an extensive process. The following tips will help you create a comfortable place to retreat to whether you live on your own, with others, rent or own.
- Organize & Declutter
I think it’s safe to say that we all have too much shit, and most of it we don’t use. This is usually because we either don’t actually like it or we can never find it. Every 6 months or so, I like to go through all of my stuff and do a little purging. I donate what I can, keep only what I love or absolutely need, and dispose of the rest. Sometimes you can make a little money doing this as well by selling some of your quality items online or at a yard sale. Once I’m done with this process, I take the things I am keeping, I clean them if I need to and I make a permanent place for them so that I can find them when I need them. It is so satisfying to have an organized space, and it takes so much stress out of my daily life to know exactly where everything is when I need it.
- Let the light in
If your home is a reflection of your mind, you don’t want it to be dark. Sunshine and light, bright things make us happy. There’s science to that, look it up! So brighten up your space. Paint the walls a lighter color if you can, open the blinds, add some mirrors to reflect light into dark corners. If you keep your space bright and light, you will notice that your mood mimics that environment.
- Express yourself
Humans are creative creatures, whether you believe you are personally or not. We are programmed to collect things that we love and those things bring us joy. Use your home as a creative outlet for yourself. Decorate your space to reflect who you are and to remind you of the things that you love. This will make coming home that much better, and by having the things you love spread throughout your space you will be happier just for being around them.
- Change whenever you need a refresh
Move the furniture around, get a new tapestry or bedspread. We’re all scared of change but it is important to refresh our space to keep ourselves inspired an motivated. New is good and exciting.
By creating a space for yourself that reflects who you are and what you love, you will develop a greater sense of self and create a retreat for yourself. This process will help you recover from the stress of the outside world, and make you a happier person.