Creating a happy home would have to weigh in as among the most rewarding of all endeavors—and, you’d have to believe, one that requires a goodly dose of what lifestyle gurus call “the art of good living.” That’s why one general interest article in Realtor® Magazine deserved at least a double-take with its headline, “The Scientific Secrets of What Makes a Home Happy.”

Really? Happiness is not generally thought to be something that lends itself to scientific scrutiny: graphs and charts and mathematical precision. If there truly are scientific ways you can make St. Cloud homes happy ones, it promised to be worth looking into.

In fact, the piece did have a scientific basis—research findings that identified conditions that produce high levels of self-reported “contentment.” The “secrets” may not be shrouded in mystery, but four of the leading ones seem sensible:

  • Long commutes are mood killers. Researchers found a strong correlation between easy access to workplaces and contentment.

  • Clutter costs happiness. UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families found that “high densities of objects in the home” raised female subjects’ stress levels (measured by presence of the hormone cortisol). Men apparently didn’t notice.

  • Know your neighbors. Relationships with neighbors leads to a sense of well-being—as anyone in St. Cloud can probably tell you!

  • Pay down the mortgage. Even the researchers admit that this one is easier said than done, but when the “debt dwindles” the “mood rises.”

There was one tip to a happy home that I might question: “paint your walls green or yellow.” The source was a university in Holland—but since it might be true that color preferences vary by continent, there’s cause to hesitate. For the record, the study suggests yellow walls for playrooms (to spark “creativity and playfulness)” with green for bedrooms (engendering “comfort and serenity”).

One tip that’s no secret at all is that happy St. Cloud homes start with the choice of the right property—which is where I help. Do call!

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