Woman jumping on bed
Places have power—not only the physical power of sheer presence, but the emotional clout to alter our moods. Of course, the converse is also true: We have power over places. If we don't take advantage of that fact, we're squandering a major opportunity to bring positive energy into our lives. What luck, then, that you happen to know the world's leading authority on creating an environment that nurtures your most contented self: you. By tapping your instincts and noting your reactions, you can begin to create a home that will make you happier—right now.

Take a Virtual House-Tour
To begin, grab a pen and print out this worksheet. Then picture yourself heading home after a day of working, attending yoga class, or whatever. Your house is in its usual state of orderliness—or disarray—though at the moment no one else is home. As you imagine walking up to your front door, notice your mood. Are you feeling tense or relaxed? Are you happy—or anxious, angry, or depressed? As you walk in, do you feel relief, excitement, anxiety, dread, joy, or despair? Briefly describe your feelings below.

Continue to pay attention to your emotional reactions as you visualize entering the house. Envision yourself touching the wall to your right and walking through your entire home. This "hands-on" approach will help you to remember to visit spaces you might skip if you merely formed a mental picture of each room. We tend to forget about places that make us feel uncomfortable; the discipline of mental wall-touching ensures you'll include them.

As you imagine entering each room of your home, write its name on one of the lines below. As you proceed from one area to the next, note how your mood changes. Perhaps the soft light and scented soap in your bathroom make you feel relaxed, but you tense up when you near the disorganized pile of unpaid bills in your home office. Maybe you love the thought of snuggling into the soft cushions on your living-room couch, but you feel gloomy as you approach the darkness of your bedroom closet.

Give each area of your home a number representing how you feel in that space. If your breakfast nook fills you with bliss, give it a score of +10. If the basement feels scary and disgusting, it gets a -10. If you feel nothing at all about a room, it gets a score of 0. If a room is okay but not great, it may get a +4, and so on.

(+10 = great; -10 = awful)
1. _____________________   _____________________
2. _____________________   _____________________
3. _____________________   _____________________

If all the rooms in your home are +10, then you obviously don't need this article. Have some champagne. Enjoy. If you're like most people, however, you will feel better in some areas of your house than in others. It's time to figure out the reason.
Photo illustration: Aaron Goodman


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