Can Living Small Be Good for Mental Health?

The tiny house movement, or other ways of living small, comes with positive and negative results depending on who you speak to. Overall, is living small beneficial for mental health?

For some people, the prospect of living in a small space is exciting. These individuals may be drawn to the psychological benefits that can result from having the chance to create a cozy atmosphere and maintain a minimalist lifestyle. Even if not “tiny,” living in the smallest environment that is feasibility possible requires creativity and thoughtful planning. Personal preference looks to be a large determinant of happiness when living in a small space. If a person has always dreamed of living in a simple, uncrowded space, and loves spending time outdoors, this might be the perfect housing solution. This Psychology Today article shows how tiny can be terrific. On the other hand, if a person finds spaces like these to be cramped, is living with several people, or doesn’t have an opportunity to spend more time outdoors, living small might not be ideal for mental health. There are situations for which living in a small apartments can actually pose health risks, as described in this article from The Atlantic. When overcrowding and lack of privacy become concerns, mental health can be negatively affected.

Personal preference aside, sometimes small dwellings offer a safe haven for someone who is struggling and wouldn’t otherwise have a permanent home. Whether tiny houses provide homeless people with their own roof over their head or disaster victims with a temporary home—giving each inhabitant a sense of security in a time of uncertainty—they offer additional housing at an affordable cost to build. Projects like these two also present an opportunity for volunteers or students to help other members of their community.

Given the various reasons for living in a small space, the sources above demonstrate that determining whether or not living small is beneficial for mental health depends on the particular situation. Not all individuals or families will thrive under the same tiny roof, but others will find that this lifestyle brings them happiness.