Why even bother with a happy place? Because it’s happy! Life can get so serious. And busy. And sometimes not-so-happy. Having a happy place (or several) helps us stay in balance, and keep in mind the things and places that bring us joy. Happy places remind us of what it is we spend so much time and energy working for.
There are different kinds of happy places and they can be physical or mental. I have several of each. My favorite physical happy places are the beach or a quiet reading and/or writing spot. When I can’t get to the beach or pick up a book or work on a current manuscript, I tend to think about a quiet tropical island with comfy chairs or a hammock, clear blue waters, clean refreshing air, a gentle breeze, and nowhere I need to be.
However, those conditions are rarely the reality. Our lives are filled with all kinds of demands, stressors and tasks to accomplish. Many are good, positive and bring us happiness; but others are the day-to-day tasks we often think of as needing to “get through”. One of my favorite outcomes of happy places is that they help us to slow down. They remind me to take advantage of each moment and not simply “get through” any of them. I ask myself, “What’s the joy in this moment?” The answer is not always clear, but I like the redirection of my thoughts and energy when I ask the question.
It’s only been in the last five years or so that I’ve truly appreciated the benefit of slowing down. Going to a happy place, either in person or visualizing it, helps me to block out the stress for a while, breathe, and remind myself of the happy, peaceful, and fulfilling parts of life. Until that point, I had been so focused on creating and completing endless to-do lists that slowing down to enjoy life became more of a distraction and thought of as something I “didn’t have time “ for.
Oh, was I wrong! We need balance. Enjoying life is important. It’s the whole point!
We often find ourselves in meetings we may not find particularly engaging, demands from work, school or family, traffic jams, waiting rooms, or even long, slow moving lines at the grocery store. These are situations over which we may not have any control but need to somehow grab ourselves a time-out. Mental happy place to the rescue!
Simply visualizing a place that makes you feel relaxed and peaceful can provide the readjustment and energy to get back on track enough to make it through those less than awesome situations and ready to transition into ones we choose. Happy places are so important, and even better when you can get to a physical one. Sharing your happy place with others can be wonderful, but being there alone is important too.
The day I wrote the first chapter of Waves Crashing, I knew I needed to write, but I didn’t know exactly what I was going to write about. I got in the car by myself and drove to the beach, brought out the beach chair, paper and pen and just started writing. Happy places can be inspiring too!
Happy places help the stressful, annoying, irritating parts of life fizzle away (at least for a while) so that we can focus on the positives. If you can change a negative situation for the better, do it! When you can’t, get some place where you can regroup and get back to the parts of life you enjoy and love. We will always have to deal with not-so-happy things, but being able to alter our perspective will help us respond with more positivity and ultimate effectiveness when we keep in mind what it is we are living for, and then taking the time to enjoy them!
Right now, I’m on my patio. It’s pretty quiet, and very peaceful. All I can hear are breezes blowing in the trees and plants, birds chirping, occasional kids playing in the neighborhood and a car driving by here and there. I can see the trees, flowers in my yard, and birds at the birdfeeder. Overall, this happy place is full of nature and I love it!
Being in my happy place refuels me. Sometimes it reminds me of great memories. Other times it helps me find perspective on a problem, think about something differently, or just recharge my energy.
What is your happy place and why? When was the last time you visited? Thinking about the places you find peace, joy and relaxation will help you get to them more quickly the next time you need a time-out from one of life’s speed-bumps. Taking stock of the things we love and enjoy most about live makes it easier to recognize them and make more time for them.
Revisit your happy place. Recharge your spirit. Spread the joy!