Home improvement should be just that, making your home better. Many see it as a chore and too difficult to do themselves, but research has shown doing your own home improvement can have a highly beneficial psychological effect. Making your own changes to your home will teach you new skills, bring you closer to people, and even relieve anxiety. Home improvement can range from fixing broken furniture to repainting walls. After all, a house isn’t a home until you’ve put your spin on things and made it your own.
1. In a world where physical trades are being replaced by a rapidly growing information economy, the pleasure a person can get from seeing a project through and ending up with a tangible, observable change can bring a different variety of joys. Author Mathew Crawford argued in his 2009 book, Shop Class as Soulcraft, that using geometry to solve problems can bring a sense of self growth and happiness that other work cannot provide. Seeing a project through from start to finish and being presented with a physical object or change can bring a huge sense of achievement.
2. The act of doing home improvement can also reduce anxiety. Author and psychologist, Graham Jones, expands on this theory: ‘when you put off projects, it drains your spirit. There is always something nagging away at the back of your mind. When we have regular reminders of work not yet done, it lowers what psychologists call “affect.”’ Jones goes on to say that beginning the task quickly can make the task itself a lot less stressful. The quicker you get going on it, the better it is for you.
3. As a global society, we increasingly view physical objects as disposable. It is often cheaper to fully replace something if it gets to a state of disrepair, but learning to repair or improve can change how you see the world. Learning how to diagnose an issue and develop a strategy to correct it stimulates your brain and can instill in you a sense of value for the objects and projects you would have previously abandoned.
4. Doing your own home improvement can teach you useful and transferable skills. For instance, if you wanted to put up a curtain rail, you could end up using a drill, a screwdriver, wall plugs and many other tools whilst also getting used to procedures that are often repeated across different tasks. A lot of these tools and skills will prove be very handy with any future projects. Essentially, the more you do, the better you’ll get at a wider variety of situations, practice makes perfect.
5. Working with a partner can have a positive impact on your relationship. Working on and completing a project can bring two or more people together. This is due to the sense of achievement but also, if it is your own home, you can get pleasure from giving to someone else. You feel as if you have contributed to someone feeling happier and that, in turn, makes you happier. So, everyone wins.
So, as you can see, improving your home with your hands has benefits beyond the obvious. You could become a pro with a drill and end up fixing your friends broken table. Most importantly though, it can bring you an amazing sense of achievement, ease your anxiety and even bring you closer to someone. Home improvement exercises your body and mind, so what are you waiting for?