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A timber frame pergola is a natural setting for a quiet environment, a place to get closer to nature and to enjoy time and activities with family and friends. It provides a place to be more active in the outdoors. Studies say that activity and nature helps our endorphins and gives us pleasure and helps us to be happier.

There has been an increased interest from Psychology and Health studies in links between our wellbeing and the effects upon us from our environment. Many of the published conclusions say that happiness is greater in natural surroundings and nature.

Happiness is what everyone is in search of the most. To some, it seems it is unattainable or unreachable but they never stop searching for it. Happiness is defined as the wellbeing of our mind powered by positive emotions that span from being content to all-encompassing joy.

There are many things that can influence the happiness a person feels to a small or large extent. For some that happiness is being in a more peaceful setting to relax and recharge their batteries. For others, recharging their batteries happens when they are with lots of friends and family around.

Environment however extends beyond a place or setting; it is also the people who are around you and the situations that affect you. You can for the most part adjust your contact with people, things and places.

Interacting with autistic children and a handicapped brother I see the effects the environment has upon their wellbeing and happiness. My mentally handicapped brother was born deaf. When he was three and a half he had surgery on his ears and could hear for the first time.

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I was ten years older than my brother and was fully cognizant of the fact that some people did not like my brother because of his physical impairments. Although, he was not always able to communicate his thoughts well, when people who did not approve of him were around he would say to us afterwards, “They are loud.” We knew, he knew they did not care for him.

Many factors can influence our happiness and wellbeing; our health, financial situation, the love and support of people we consider as significant. Genetics and a person’s habitual nature also can influence how they perceive happiness. It is obvious we should avoid people and situations that are problematic but that is not always possible. For those who cannot control their own environment it is especially important for a caretaker to provide as safe an environment as possible for their happiness.

I don’t believe that we always can just decide to be happy and therefore we are happy. In this life we experience pain and things that bring us tears. But there are times when we experience more unhappiness than is necessary for our wellbeing. Sometimes we have to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and go through the motions until happiness finds it way to us again.

I have found that the environment I am in can powerfully play a role in the shaping of my behavior. It can be used as a positive advantage. It is no secret to happiness, but I have found it effective to invite joy by becoming more fully aware in a sense of enlivened wonder and awe in my environment. My environment may not be perfect in the moment but around me may be an inspiring blade of grass, the feel of running water, the awe of invisible wind. Maybe it is the wonder of seeing my own hand in all its power and flexibility, as though I were seeing it for the very first time. When I am in this state I am more in tune with the beauty of life all around me in a deeper, slower pace.

When people invade your bubble, focusing more on the inside of where they cannot touch, that quiet undisturbed place where only you can physically be, can be a safe place. For an introvert like me, this is a relaxing place of solitude, a happy place.

Whatever it is for you in your search for happiness, take some reflective time to look inside yourself and at your surroundings to see what could make life more conducive to that kind of environment that you can invite a happier atmosphere for you and those you love.

If you haven’t done so lately, I’d recommend rekindling a little kid-like awe and wonder in your environment everyday. Prove it and see if you don’t feel you have a little more spring in your step by not trampling underfoot the little pleasures unnoticed.

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