Boost Your Mood by Redecorating
The hearth should always be the center of the home, according to Zeisel and British kitchen designer Johnny Grey, who have collaborated since Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, introduced them three years ago. "Being in the kitchen links you to hardwired feelings of comfort—beyond getting food, there's a sense of protection, warmth, sociability, sharing stories," says Zeisel, which is why, ideally, it's both a functional and a social space where friends and family can gather, do homework, and relax. Grey says the "sweet spot" is a location where you can cook with your back facing a wall while looking others in the eyes. Zeisel explains why: "After a busy day, if your kitchen design makes you face away from family or company, wondering what the noises and bustle going on behind you mean, your brain is more likely to continue to produce adrenaline and cortisol, the hormones associated with anxiety, fear, and stress. But when you face into the room and can see what's going on, you feel safer and more in control; then oxytocin, the bonding hormone, and serotonin, associated with relaxation and enjoyment, have a greater chance of being released." Better yet is a kitchen in which you have a view of the door where people enter, a window onto a landscape, and a fireplace.