Home Sweet Home: Key To Individual And Social Well-Being

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After the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of caring for the closest relationships and working for the quality of life in the domestic environment became more evident. Several factors influence well-being within the home. We tell you about them.

Family under a cardboard

Photo: Freepik

LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Ramírez Ramos

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Leer en español: Hogar dulce hogar: clave para el bienestar individual y social

"Home sweet home" is one of the most popular phrases with which we express that feeling of comfort and intimacy that we have in our homes. However, with the current pace of life, it seems that there is less and less privacy. At the same time, with the excess of academic and work activities, personal and domestic spaces are increasingly reduced. In such a competitive world, many of our efforts and aspirations are focused on professional success. However, the relationships, spaces, and interactions that we have in the privacy of our homes are fundamental factors in determining happiness or well-being.

An investigation carried out by the Routledge Advances in Sociology, analyzed the relationship between the quality of the domestic environment, in its material and relational dimensions, and the perceived levels of individual and social happiness. The findings were published in a book entitled " Happiness and domestic life: the influence of the home on subjective and social well-being ", which is divided into 13 chapters, to which 9 researchers contributed.

"The authors highlight the relational nature of happiness and the centrality of the family environment in its promotion. Three dimensions of psychosocial well-being at home are analyzed: the personal - consisting of a sense of stability, intimacy, and sharing; the social - which considers the domestic realm as a source of civic education (and lately of professional activity), and the physical, in terms of space, style and function," notes the Social Trends Institute. In this last point, for example, it is determined that the architecture and design of spaces also influence happiness, to the extent that they influence well-being, comfort, safety, and the tools to carry out personal, academic, or work activities. . For example, due to the increasing work at home or with virtual education.

"Two significant changes, themselves affected by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, frame the consideration of happiness and well-being: the relationship between quality of life and engagement within the community, and the role of new technologies in life every day," the Social Trends Institute said in a statement.

On the other hand, a study from Harvard University entitled "Harvard Study of Adult Development" dedicated more than 7 decades to studying different factors that can impact people's well-being and happiness. Robert Waldinger, director of this research, points out in a TED talk that: "The clearest message we got from this 75-year study is that good relationships keep us happier and healthier."

They found that people who were more connected to others, starting with their family relationships, lived longer, happier, and healthier lives. In addition, they point out that what is important is the quality of those relationships, and not the quantity or type. "Living in a highly conflictive marriage, without affection, is very bad for our health, almost worse than a divorce," says the researcher. On the other hand, having good, loving, and warm relationships protects us.

What does it take for a home to truly be home sweet home?

Several factors affect people's perception of happiness. Although the first step should be to have basic needs met, other situations are key. The spaces we inhabit must be comfortable and provide us with security, as well as the necessary tools to perform our duties.

On the other hand, as the quality of private and family life is essential for people to find fulfillment, there is still a large debt of companies and states. They must implement public regulations and policies that favor a balance between personal and family life, and work. For this reason, the issue of family-responsible companies is becoming more and more relevant. There is an international certification, recognized as a good practice by the United Nations, called EFR. It is part of the social responsibility of companies and establishes the need to implement measures and tools that allow workers to reconcile their personal and work lives.

On the other hand, public policies that advance the recognition of care work are also key to achieving greater well-being in homes, which translates into well-being in communities. Thus, it is crucial that there is recognition of domestic labor and that there are care networks that allow families a better quality of life. At the same time, do not overload these functions on women.

We recommend you read: Recognition of care work, what is its status in Latin America?

Finally, if it is understood that the quality of personal relationships determines happiness and well-being in such an important way, educational plans must accelerate the implementation of education for emotional intelligence. Educational curricula usually have a strong training component in technical skills. You learn math, history, social sciences, or languages very well. However, the education of affectivity, skills for conflict resolution, or interculturality is not usually the forte of educational institutions.