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You know how you’re trying to cut down on sugar but suddenly find yourself reaching for the cookie jar on the coffee table? That’s because your living environment plays a bigger role in the choices you make every day than you probably realize.
If you live in a neighborhood with side walks, bike lanes and greenery, for example, you’re more likely to be physically active than people who don’t have easy access to these recreational facilities. And it’s no coincidence that supermarkets place big brands at grab-level and impulse buys at the counter – that’s all to seduce you to buy more.
It’s not just your ZIP code that affects your behaviour, mood, stress levels and overall health, but your home environment too. When you have a bowl of candy on your desk, chances are you’ll mindlessly eat much more than you’d planned. Thankfully the reverse is also true: putting a fruit bowl in the kitchen encourages you to get your vitamins in. That’s exactly why James Clear, best-selling author of Atomic Habits, advocates to design your environment to work for you, not against you.
By making a few changes at home, you can make it easier to create and stick to healthy habits, and break bad ones. Think of environment design like a subtle nudge in the right direction. Especially if chronic illness forces you to spend a lot of time at home, you might want to make some easy changes to your interior so you can effortlessly make better choices.
Here are 27 subtle ways you can optimize your surroundings to best support your health and happiness.