Hack Your Space To Influence Your Mood

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Did you know that you (and I) are constantly reacting to the world based on tiny cues that we might not even be aware of?

Studies have shown that people exposed to environmental cues such as briefcases or filing cabinets are tougher negotiators than those exposed to neutral stimuli like flowers or a bowl of fruit. Your subconscious interacts with the world on a very basic level, taking cues from what you see, hear, and smell, to inform your reactions. You may not even realize it, but if you’re exposed to words like “tired”, “old”, and “slow”, it will even affect your walking speed and reaction time!

Usually, when behavioral scientists do studies about environmental influence on human behaivor, they don’t tell the subjects what they’re up to. They’ll give the research subjects and unrelated task, because it’s been found that subtle cues work best when people aren’t aware they’re being manipulated. That being said, you can prime your living space for optimum happiness by adjusting the subtle signals you send yourself every day.


Think of your living space as an external manifestation of the inside of your brain; you can adjust your living space to reflect the way you want your brain to feel.

Are you feeling overwhelmed and stressed? Take a careful look at your space. What does it communicate to you?

Imagine being a stranger walking into your home. What’s the first message you receive? Cleaning or rearranging your living space can go a long way to bringing peace into your mind. As we fold laundry, we are also putting our thoughts in order. Purging the pantry can be a handy way to physicalize clearing out mental clutter. A tidy room is inherently more relaxing, and intentionally creating a calm environment to influence your inner storm is the ultimate form of “fake it till you make it”.

If you’re looking for more energy or creative spark, try deliberately populating your space with images that speak to your inventive self.

If you are finding yourself a little blue, seeking out images of joyful people, or (my favorite) watching bloopers, outtakes, or other footage of people cracking up can lift a dark cloud surprisingly quickly. Prime your senses with a citrus essential oil, play some excellent music.

Imagine yourself as a customer of your own home, and arrange your space accordingly. What do you want your home environment to be?

Taking the time to play a little make-believe can have far-reaching effects on how you move through the world.