Several times each week, normally around sunset, we are visited at our home by our mischievous primate cousins - the macaques of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
This week, one particularly cheeky girl sat on the wall above our pond and gleefully started eating the orchids I had recently planted.
My husband’s reaction was swift, and understandable. “Grab the hose! Get her away from there!” However, my automatic reaction was more benign and more resigned. I was happy to welcome this beautiful creature to my garden and – as far as I was concerned – if I was going to plant delicious orchids in the natural roaming space of the macaques, I had to be prepared for them to become someone’s evening snack.
Science shows - unequivocally - that we enjoy greater wellbeing when we are connected with nature, and a simple way to do that is to invite and accept nature into your home space. By planting flowering native plants, rejecting the use of chemical pesticides, and resisting the urge to entrap or repel the wildlife that would naturally occupy the land we live on, we allow nature to flourish in our space. In doing so, we nourish our deep and inescapable psychological need for natural connection.
However, welcoming wildlife onto our balconies and into our backyards is just one way we can ensure our homes are primed for greater wellbeing. (Yes ... even when it means begrudgingly accepting that animals may come and eat your cultivated plants, fruits and flowers!) In fact, there are several other ways we can enhance our living space and create a more nurturing, more comforting ‘wellbeing home’.
Colour: As an expat, it is probable that you are renting the home you live in. And it is almost just as inevitable that the home was delivered to you with stark white walls. Adding a splash of colour to your home environment is not only great for a sense of homeliness – studies show that colour can also enhance our mood and positively affect our wellbeing. Therefore, peppering your home with colours such as pink and green (calming) and yellow (mood lifting) can help ensure you have a home that truly comforts and nurtures you.
Music: There are few locations in Singapore that are truly quiet, and the constant hum of traffic, aircraft and construction (even at low levels) can increase your stress levels in imperceptible ways. A simple yet effective way to counteract the tension-inducing sounds of the city, is to play soothing music within your home. Listening to any favourite song can lift your mood and increase your sense of happiness, but for a truly nourishing environment fill your home with tunes played at 60 beats per minute – the rate of a healthy resting heartbeat.
Aromas: Essential oils have been used for over 6000 years to help stimulate a sense of healing, peace and well-being in the home and other spaces. Now, research is beginning to reveal the empirical benefits of aromatherapy, revealing the powerful positive ways certain aromas can relieve the symptoms of stress, mental illness, muscle tension, sleep disturbance, nausea, and even physical pain. It’s easy to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy and enhance a sense of well-being in your home, simply by burning a scented candle, or by placing a few drops of essential oil in a dispenser or diffuser.
Friends: Social connection is one of the most vital factors in a healthy human life – scientifically proven to enhance happiness, resilience, longevity and emotional wellbeing. Therefore, don’t be afraid to fill your house with good friends, and share your ‘wellbeing home’ with the people you adore.
About The Author
Kim Forrester is a mother, nature lover, holistic wellbeing advocate and kindness enthusiast. As an award-winning author, educator and consultant, she combines cutting edge science with spiritual philosophy to inspire holistic wellbeing and fullness of living. Born in New Zealand, Kim has lived in several countries - now in Singapore.
Looking for some drops of goodness in your day? Visit www.kimforrester.net for a range of courses, content and consultations that will help you thrive in life. Plus, check out the Eudaemonia podcast on your favourite podcast app for thought-provoking conversations about the traits and practices that can inspire you to flourish.