Check in with these tips for finding joy wherever you hang your hat.
“To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition,” said the 18th century English poet Samuel Johnson. To me, that means that anything we do, at work, in friendships or in the community, is ultimately an investment in the essential, fundamental happiness that is felt when we are comfortable and content at home.
Happiness at home means something different to each of us. But there are four important things that are always helpful to check in with to find out if you’re doing everything you can to open the door to a happy home.
Gratitude is a healthy habit, and at home, it can take many forms. You can be grateful for the simple comfort of having a home to return to each day, the pleasure you take in the morning sun through a particular window or your neighbor’s skill in the garden. Whether small or large, noticing things to be thankful for will guide you toward happiness at home.
2) Shared Social Values
Some people’s idea of a perfect evening at home is a cozy gathering of friends and family. Others are allergic to board games and chit-chat, craving peaceful solitude at home. Whether you are the only person living in your home or if you share your space, it’s crucial to your happiness to be clear about what satisfies and soothes you—and to listen to what others might want and need for themselves in a shared home.
3) Kindness and Compassion
A happy home is an emotional sanctuary as well as a physical one. Pay attention to how you talk to others—and yourself—in your home to ensure that your focus is on compassion, empathy and love. This is a skill worth cultivating, especially when you share your home with another person and don’t always get along. As our friend Samuel Johnson also said, “Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.”
4) Set Priorities
No individual can keep everything at home together all the time. There are bills to be paid, chores to be done, appliances to be maintained—way too much for a to-do list to ever be complete. You will maximize your happiness if you prioritize what’s most important, like processing your bills and taking out “aromatic” garbage—and let go of the rest. If need be, add to your to-do list a direct instruction to do something that makes you happy so you can be sure you accomplish the top-priority job of caring for yourself.