Other than diet and exercising regularly, where we live and our house itself has a surprising effect on our health and personal well-being. Aside from having a home that is clean and free of dangerous chemicals, we need one that gives off a good vibe, as well. One that makes us feel at peace when we are in it. Here are several ways to have a healthy home that feels great to be in.
- Indoor air quality
When we think of air pollution, our thoughts automatically turn toward images of smokestacks or smog settling down over a Los Angeles freeway. But did you know that studies have shown indoor air to be as much as 25 times more polluted than outdoor air? This is because the home is often completely closed up with no fresh air coming in, especially in winter months. And ironically, having super high-efficiency doors and windows can actually make this worse. Modern homes are sealed so tightly that the air is exchanged less than once every five hours.
Additionally, newer homes are being built with synthetic materials that are treated with chemicals that evaporate at room temperature, putting off fumes known as volatile organic compounds. Ever had the “new carpet smell” in your house? Now you know what causes it. Yuck. Check out what toxins could be lurking in your carpet and beware of the soft cozy feeling of carpet!
Fortunately, these do eventually evaporate off. You can avoid them in the future by only using manufacturers that avoid these poisonous chemicals. For instance, carpet is one of the worst offenders. A much healthier choice in flooring is wood or bamboo. Avoid synthetics like laminate flooring. Check out 3 Ideas to Decorate you home the green and healthy way!
- Water quality
Municipal water utilities add chlorine and other chemicals to the water supply, presumably to kill microbes and bacteria. However, these are not good for human consumption, even in trace amounts. They are poisons, and despite what you may hear, there are no “safe” levels of poison to have in your body.
Investing in a whole-house water filtration system is a great way to instantly improve the health of everyone in residence. A whole-house filter also means that pure filtered water is coming from every tap, including showers and appliances. It’s like having good quality bottled water for everything except at a fraction of the cost and no bottles to throw away.
- Natural light
Artificial light is horrible for us. The “blue” spectrum of many office and indoor environments creates a light wave that makes us feel lethargic and miserable. Switching out all fluorescent and LED lights in your home and replacing them with bulbs that emit a natural light spectrum is an easy fix that instantly improves mood.
Whenever possible, opt for the real thing though. Light from the sun is powerful medicine and you should strive to let as much into your house as possible. Installing glass doors is an improvement that immediately increases the amount of natural light in your house as well as its visual appeal. If you are worried about privacy you can find doors and windows with etched glass that will allow necessary light but continue to keep your privacy.
- Your home’s location
Get into a climate that suits you. Some prefer hot and dry while others like the cold. Being in the wrong climate can be disastrous for someone who is truly unhappy there. For people with Seasonal Affective Disorder, changes in season can dramatically change their hormone regulation and organ functions, wreaking havoc on their mood and state of well-being. Getting the climate right is vital, as more and more research is showing.
Humidity can also play a role in affecting your body’s functioning. A hot and dry climate is very different from a hot and humid one. Some people find their skin breathes better in a humid environment, and that they feel like their bodies are eliminating toxins more effectively. You can get a humidifier or a dehumidifier to place in your house to help with this.
Avoid having your home close to an area that’s going to have a lot of noise pollution. Noise pollution is a major cause of stress, especially if you live near a busy intersection where you are constantly hearing honking cars and accelerating traffic.
One study actually showed that pregnant women who lived within one-and-a-half miles from a congested freeway had a greater chance of delivering babies prematurely, due to the increased amount of vehicle emissions in the air.
- Your home’s interior
It is well-known that we feel better when we are outside in nature, where the only sounds are the wind in the trees and running water. What studies have recently proven is that areas such as forests, rivers, and beaches have a much higher amount of negatively-charged ions in the air. The air after a thunderstorm is similar. Negative ions raise the oxygen levels in the blood and strengthen our immune systems.
While not everyone is going to have a house in a forest or on a beach, there are products called negative ion generators that plug into any outlet and increase these beneficial ions in the rooms of your house.
- Avoid getting overwhelmed
With all the changes that it is possible to make, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Remember that the best way to take a large step is by taking a series of small ones. Begin by eliminating items that you know to be toxic, that will have a measurable impact on your health. Next you may try changing the arrangements of some rooms to allow for more light, and investing in small items to improve air and water quality. Take everything one step at a time, and you’ll be there before you know it.