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Real Estate

Open space is living space: 7 surprising reasons breathing space can do you wonders

The Philippine Star

Everybody wants the room with a view.

Windows, fresh air, greenery and an unhampered skyline: such are the perks of staying in a living space that’s, well, spacious. Living (and working) where space is not an issue gives you the freedom to be at your best.

But is your craving for more space just a matter of aesthetic sensibilities?

Studies say that’s not necessarily the case. Here are seven surprising reasons why you should heed your craving for more breathing space the next time you're in the market for a piece of real estate in the Philippines.

1. You exercise longer if you like the view

If you’re having trouble reaching your exercise goals, your environment might be partly to blame. You’re less likely to notice that you’re getting tired (and more likely to finish your 15-minute workout) if you can’t help but pay attention to the awesome view, according to a study by James Pennebaker and colleagues published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

2. Even if you didn’t exercise more, an open, green space still makes you healthier

Oddly enough, people still lived healthier lives if they stayed in a spacious environment with trees and plants to boot, even if they didn’t exercise much.

This health boost might be linked to the fact that living in an area with open space with adequate greenery leads to a feeling that you’re among friends, as reported by Jolanda Maas and her colleagues in a 2009 study published in Health and Place.

People who did not enjoy enough green space felt more alone than those who did. The relationship between mood problems and illness helps explain the link between good health and an environment that gives you ample space to breathe.

3. Adequate space leads to greater productivity

When you have adequate space, you make room for creativity – literally.

A crowded room promotes noise while depriving you of privacy. When you’re too anxious trying to drown out random sounds and distractions, your capacity to focus on the task at hand and achieve the day’s goals is impaired, revealed a 2007 study by Michael Eysenck and colleagues published in Emotion, a journal by the American Psychological Association.

Increased anxiety sometimes leads to increased productivity. It may foster compensatory mechanisms, such as improving focus to accomplish tasks. However, it is just a matter of time before fatigue sets in.

You’re better off using your mental energy to complete the task at hand than to ignore whatever it is that’s annoying you.

4. Exercising in green, open spaces fends off depression

Working in a little cubicle is depressing in itself. As if that’s not enough, it also predisposes you to clinical depression.

The reverse is also true: heading out to exercise in an open space surrounded by foliage keeps you sane. This was what Dr. Jules Pretty and his team found out in a 2007 study published in the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.

If you’re thinking that it’s the actual exercise that fends off the blues, you’re wrong. Compared to those who exercised indoors, people who engaged in outdoor “green” exercise ended up feeling better, regardless of what kind of exercise they chose or how long it lasted. Their mood had no significant correlation to workout duration or intensity!

5. You earn more money in a spacious workplace

Tempted to demand a bigger office? You now have a good reason to do so.

If you love your workplace, you are less likely to take the day off, according to a 2007 study of Graham Lowe for the Canadian Healthy Workplace Council. With every missed day of work leading to salary cuts, office makes sense financially.

6. You spend more time gossiping in a cramped workplace

If your colleague in the next cubicle is within earshot, you are tempted to chat or, worse, eavesdrop.

Although maintaining good personal relations on the job is important, spending way too much time on small talk keeps you from more important things. Like, well, your job.

7. Crowding leaves you deprived of shuteye

In a crowded living space, you are more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation.

Aside from finding it hard to sleep in a crowded room, you might get roused in the middle of the night if you’re in close quarters with someone who snores. Crowding affect both the quality and quantity of sleep.

Add to the fact that spatial challenges result in chaotic living conditions, even during waking hours. When you’re finally ready to catch some Zs, you might find yourself wide awake, worrying about what went on earlier that day.

Remember: space begets sleep.

Although it pays to enjoy adequate space both at home and at work, you get what you pay for. Besides, when you get the breathing space you need, you might live a healthier and more productive life. Read: you spend less on health issues and earn your money back for a job well done.

AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION

CANADIAN HEALTHY WORKPLACE COUNCIL

DR. JULES PRETTY

EXERCISE

GRAHAM LOWE

HEALTH AND PLACE

JAMES PENNEBAKER

SPACE

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