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Anyone who has watched HGTV or read a home magazine aspires to live in a gorgeous home of that caliber. But even if you make your home gorgeous, without photos of friends and family, does it even feel like a home?

Decorating with personal pictures can make your home a warm, inviting haven for guestsAnd it has some pretty cool benefits that you may not have considered.

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Stress Takes a Backseat

Images can elicit strong emotions, especially when they capture your own experiences. Think about how you feel looking back at images of the milestone moments of your child’s life. It feels pretty good, right?

This effect is due to the release of a neuro-chemical in our brain called oxytocin. Swedish neuroendocrinologist Kerstin Uvnäs-Moberg discovered that this hormone is produced when we bring to mind positive images of our loved ones. This reduces the levels of stress hormones in our body.

Interestingly enough, it’s the same hormone that’s released when eating chocolates.

You come home from a grueling day at the office and then see portraits of your most cherished memories with your loved ones. The stress just melts away, right? And you don’t need to worry about adding on extra pounds by eating lots of chocolate.

Even the act of decorating with photos helps you unwind. To pick your favorite photos worthy of your home decor, you have to sort through all your images. This allows you to relive all those special moments.

To put all this science stuff simply: pictures make you happy.

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Count Your Blessings

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.” – Oprah

With our busy lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and lose sight of what’s important. Having photos of families and friends displayed at home will constantly remind you. Personal relationships are more important than how much money we make.

If all that science mentioned earlier wasn’t enough to convince you, gratitude also creates a ripple effect on your health. Experts found that people who are generally grateful take better care of themselves. They tend to exercise more often and eat more heart-friendly foods.

They also tend to be more optimistic, which, believe it or not, strengthens the immune system. One study revealed a higher blood cell count in optimistic students compared to their pessimistic counterparts. The lesson here is to be a glass-half-full kind of person. Your immune system will thank you.

It’s also no surprise that embracing gratitude as a trait helps us control stress better. We become resilient, even in the face of tragedy. Remember oxytocin (think “the love hormone”)? Apparently it does more than de-stress. Researchers at the Claremont University in California believe it also plays a crucial role in boosting “life satisfaction levels,” especially in women. Don’t you want to be satisfied with life?

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The Gift that Keeps on Giving

The ripple effect doesn’t stop there! When we emit positive energy, it spills over to our families and is mirrored back. Home becomes a safe and nurturing place where our kids grow to become better individuals. By the same token, pictures of themselves around the house remind them just how much they are loved. What could be better than that?

Photo credit: Pixabay, TookAPicMosaic by Cathy P, Panorama by Ohana, Pinterest, Travis Isaacs

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