Home Mental Health & Well-Being It’s Official – Decorating Is Good for Your Well-Being. An Expert Explains Why

It’s Official – Decorating Is Good for Your Well-Being. An Expert Explains Why

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From restoring feelings of calm to bringing a sense of accomplishment, a well-decorated room can be great for your well-being. Here, Naomi Humber, head of mental well-being at Bupa UK, explains why summer is a great time for us to dig out our dust sheets.

Decorating as behavioural activation

Design planning, decorating, and enjoying the fruits of your labour can positively impact on your sense of self. Setting yourself productive activities, like decorating, can be classed as ‘behavioural activation’.

For those struggling with low mood or depression, behavioural activation means changing how a person interacts with their environment. Decorating can be a pleasant and purposeful task to incorporate behavioural activation, as it incorporates several focus points to achieve your goal.

During the pandemic, many of us struggled with our mental health. Spending much more time at home may have led to you working out ways to improve your environment. Whether it was making walls more colourful or buying new decorative items, there’s a biological basis to try and make our environments more aesthetically pleasing – and that’s to help enhance our well-being.

Getting the most out of your home décor project

A lot of planning goes into decorating, but if you use the SMART technique, you’ll help get the best of the well-being benefits of your project.

The SMART technique

  • Specific – Make sure you go into what you want to achieve from your project before starting it. For example, instead of striving to ‘refresh the living room’, make it more specific, like: “I want to paint my living room walls the following colours” or “I want to spend this much on reupholstering my living room furniture”.
  • Measurable – Set yourself a period of time to achieve your goal, so you have a solid time to complete it. How long do you want your project to take? How much would you like to spend on materials? Which hours of the day will you set aside to work on your project? The answers to these questions will help you determine when you will likely complete your goal.
  • Achievable – Be sure that your goal is achievable. Don’t set yourself up too much, too soon. While it’s good to aim high, aiming achievable is better for your well-being and may help you to budget more effectively.
  • Relevant – Setting a goal with a true purpose helps you to see more value in it, meaning you’re more likely to achieve it. Don’t decide to decorate just for the sake of it. Think about what these changes will bring to your home and your life.
  • Timely – It’s advisable to consider whether setting this project is achievable and in the time you’ve set yourself to do it. This helps you ascertain the right time to take on this task.

Brain benefits of an enriched environment

Research shows that an enriched environment can enhance brain function compared to less stimulating environments.  Other studies show that environmental enrichment can improve resilience (coping with stressful events) and increase our motivation to complete tasks.

It’s thought that a good environment enhances a part of the brain called the hippocampus. The hippocampus is important in strengthening memory and generating new neurons. This area of the brain also helps to regulate and process stress and anxiety.

Taking the time to improve your home’s appearance not only helps create a more enriching environment but it can also help improve your quality of life. Whether you want to decrease your home’s clutter or reconfigure a room, you don’t have to overhaul your environment to gain well-being benefits completely.

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