How your living space affects your mental health, and how to use that to your advantage

Great lighting and softer paint colors make for happy spaces (and happy residents).


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As the seasons change, so can your mood. Your mental health, in fact, is dependent on many factors: environment, predisposition, relationships. But what about your living space? Can your apartment affect your emotions? Well, "particularly in New York, where you live is really really important [for your mental health]," says New York City psychologist Lynn Saladino, who works with real estate agents at Mirador Real Estate. Read on for Saladino's tips on how our homes can affect us emotionally, and how to use that to your advantage.

Lynn Saladino

Clean equals calm: "A lot of times, if we have too much clutter, it just feels overcrowded," says Saladino, who explains that our minds may sometimes mimic the chaos of our environment. "[Have] a place that feels good to you. And a lot of times, if we can de-clutter, that really, really helps."

Embrace small and cramped: While a tiny apartment might not necessarily be an asset while having a get-together or practicing your sweet new cardio kickboxing moves, Saladino believes a small living space has its benefits. "I think, that to a certain degree, because we all live so close together, you can get a sense of community here, which in some other cities you don’t get."

Light it up: "Most people are pretty sensitive to light, and sometimes we think we can live without it, and some people are happy with that and some aren’t. But light makes a huge difference to a lot of people." Lighting can be make or break when it comes to your mental health, particularly if you've noticed sunlight affects your mood. 

Set up for sleep: "A lot of times New York can be very loud," says Saladino, so it pays to get a white noise machine "to drown out some of the noise outside." And if you need a very dark environment to fall asleep, "make sure you have blackout shades, because sleep here is key."

Room wisely: "Roommates really can be either a real positive or a real negative, so I always tell people to choose very wisely who they’re living with, because that makes a giant difference in their mental health, for sure."

Paint your way to a smile: "For a more soothing environment, I would go for softer [paint] colors."

Break-ups may require a break from your apartment: According to Saladino, "real estate has a lot to do with relationships around here." If you just can't seem to forget all the memories you shared with your ex in your apartment, it may be time to move on (especially if you're still sharing the apartment with them). It's a last ditch effort, but Saladino says that "if you have relationship ties to a place, sometimes that doesn’t do great things for you emotionally, either."



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