Creating an inspired home environment for someone who has never had a home isn’t simply the right thing to do, it creates human progress. For progress to occur for both the individual and for society as a whole, according to positive psychology expert Martin Seligman, it requires three key elements: efficacy, optimism, and imagination. All three must be at play and in motion for the individual and for society to do and be better. A functioning and inspired home environment is the birthplace of efficacy, optimism, and imagination, which enables an individual to gain a deeper understanding of oneself and seek self-actualization (the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs).
According to the Neuroscience Institute, students and employees are more productive and better able to process information when living in an organized and functional home. Recent research by APS Fellow Eldar Shafir, of Princeton University, indicates that removing the financial burden of creating a home decreases the likelihood of an individual falling into the “scarcity trap” and increases the likelihood of escaping poverty and improving overall well-being. Environmental psychology has proven that we see ourselves the way that we see our environment and living in an uplifting and functional home increases success in work, education, relationships and elevates personal goals.
A home environment that feels safe and reflects the personality of the individual helps to create agency, and with agency and a positive outlook comes an extra eight years of life (on average). Individuals who have a sense of agency and a positive outlook have stronger immune systems, fewer infections, their bodies heal faster, and they have less inflammation. They are also more productive in their pursuit of education and career goals, they have better social relationships, are more creative, resilient, and are less often depressed, thus creating less of a drain on our healthcare system.
An uplifting and functional home requires minimal space. In fact, too much space in a home from a psychological perspective can make us feel empty, alone and sad. Too many items in a home creates anxiety, depression and negatively impacts one’s well-being. A ten-year study at UCLA led to the book “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century” which captures the results in scientific data and photographs of real homes. The science of home clearly reveals that it does not take much space or many things to create a functional and uplifting home.
Understanding the science of home enables us as individuals and as families to build healthier and happier lives. For society, if we support our neighbors in having functional and uplifting homes, we can create a more productive, healthier and happier citizenry. As we have witnessed, the beneficiaries of ASOH are able to reimagine their future, establish more exalted goals, become more productive employees and students, build healthier relationships, and gain agency and empowerment to become the architect of their own destiny.