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On our bookshelf: Happy Inside by Michelle Ogundehin

On our bookshelf: Happy Inside by Michelle Ogundehin

Internationally renowned as an authority on interiors, trends and style, Michelle Ogundehin is a writer, consultant and TV presenter and the award-winning former editor-in-chief of ELLE Decoration UK. She’s also a regular contributor to our interiors anthology, Stories. Here, we’re sharing a snippet from her new book, Happy Inside: How to Harness the Power of Home for Health and Happiness – a lifestyle manual meets handbook for those looking to create a considered home. Over its pages, Michelle mixes the knowledge and insight she’s gained from studying Buddhist philosophy, meditation and mindfulness with her love of Japanese culture and expertise in colour psychology, and everything she’s learned from 20 years of editing interiors magazines and her early training as an architect. It’s your one-stop guide to becoming happier, healthier and more empowered by creating a space in which to feel truly at home.

The establishment of a happy home – one that makes you feel fantastic, not one that just looks good – can be the path to a more empowered you, the ultimate foundation for the life you dare to dream of having, and the nurturing relationships that you need to believe you deserve. From such a space you can achieve a sense of emotional balance that will assist you in finding your true purpose and fulfilling your potential. It can be the launch pad from which to achieve a sense of flow in your work, but most importantly, it will be your place of retreat and recovery when the winds of change and the inevitable curveballs of life attempt to knock you, or your loved ones, off course.

After all, home should be a place that restores, rejuvenates and replenishes, but so often it does not. Instead, it can sabotage heartfelt desires by dampening your emotions and causing undue stress and strife. Your home also acts as a mirror to the current state of your emotions, thus amplifying both nurturing or unwelcome states of being. Whether you’re happy or stressed, tired or relaxed, your home will reflect, and magnify, it all. So, if you want positive personal change of any sort, you must first address your environment. In short, we all need homes that support, rather than undermine, our wellbeing.

But how do we define wellbeing? I understand it to be a state of self whereby you feel ready to seize each day as it comes, whatever it may throw at you. In other words, that you operate from a solid foundation of balanced contentment – of happiness. And this is no wishy-washy conceit. After all, according to decades of research, happy people live longer, exhibit fewer mental health issues, have more friends and do better at work, so it behoves us all to do everything possible to get with the #happyinside programme.

Plus, even before the current pandemic, many in the West were struggling to cope with rising levels of poor mental health, obesity and chronic illness. And yet, while many supposed ‘cures’ treated the symptoms, they appeared to do little to address what might lie behind such a growth in recorded disease. And this should be cause for great concern.

It is therefore increasingly essential for our homes to be nurturing, sensory, tactile retreats, not so much as insulation from contemporary life, but strengthening us, body and soul, to deal with it. Thankfully, whatever the size of your current home, whether it’s rented or owned, and regardless of your present financial status, you have at your fingertips the most extraordinary potential. It simply needs to be awakened, and then harnessed in your favour.

Four key things to remember for starters then are:

1. Have nothing in your home that does not contribute positively to the whole

2. Mess causes stress so clear the clutter. Also get rid of anything that annoys or embarrasses you

3. Put the time into determining your personal palette of colours, finishes, materials and textures that resonate for you.

4. Have the courage of your convictions! It’s your home, no-one else’s, so decorate for yourself, not Instagram.

After all, as the saying goes, “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

Happy Inside will be published on 30th April, and you can pre-order your copy online now. To find out more about what to expect, just head to Michelle’s website