As a property development company focusing on creating beautiful houses, we realize how easy it can be to become preoccupied with the material aspects of the home. Though we never doubt the joy that can come from buying or building your dream
house, we know that this isn’t the key to lasting happiness. All of the women at Maison practice mindfulness and gratitude to help bring peace of mind to an often chaotic environment. John Izzo’s book ‘The Five Thieves of Happiness’ helps to illustrate the importance of creating a happy spiritual home in order to appreciate all that life gives us (including the gorgeous spaces we get to create!).
To sum it up, Izzo identifies the five thieves of happiness that we all must work to banish from our ‘homes’. Though they may come knocking, control, conceit, coveting, consumption, and comfort need to have limited influence in our lives. The key point here is not to throw away all of our worldly possessions, but instead to realize that our happiness does not hinge on any specific event or material goods. True contentment comes from a sense of peace and gratitude in the current moment, whether we are riding a high or struggling to get through the week.
Easier said than done, right? Actually, Izzo lays out some simple strategies to help overcome our hard-wired beliefs and behaviours. The most important is making time to practice gratitude every day. This can be as simple as quietly reminding yourself of three things you are grateful for in this moment. Getting out in nature is also a powerful way to feel present, and is wonderfully easy in our city. Studies show that people who regularly practice gratitude are best at handling stress, have more sociable lives, and are generally happier. Even if happiness isn’t possible in the moment because of the many curve-balls life throws at us, Izzo suggests that accepting rather than fighting the situation can be a helpful strategy to remain content. If you feel one of the thieves creeping in and sabotaging your outlook, we are advised to “notice, stop and replace.” The power of being mindful of our thoughts is incredible at shifting our state of mind. One final, but very important, point is the importance of giving back. Even small acts of kindness can significantly boost our happiness. That being said, we will get back to work, feeling perfectly content in this moment. And don’t forget, when designing your home, what you keep out is even more important than what you put in!