Do you have a happy place?
You know, the place you love to spend time in because it’s beautiful, or has a magical quality to it, or has special memories attached to it, or because it’s your bolt hole for peace and tranquillity, far from the maddening crowd.
Your happy place can be somewhere you visit frequently or not so often.
It can be a place you visit in person, keep in your mind’s eye, or even frequent your dreams.
The main thing about your happy place is, it makes you happy.
That warm inner glow of contentment puts a smile on your face and is deeply relaxing.
My happy place is in Wanaka, New Zealand. I love looking out over the lake watching the clouds and weather constantly changing. I love the majesty of the snow-capped mountains around me, the crystal-clear mountain air, and the feeling of total peace.
Other than getting whimsical about my happy place, the reason why having a happy place matters is because of the plethora of physical and psychological benefits it provides.
- It’s associated with a feeling of safety or security.
- It reduces stress. In my happy place, I can listen to birdsong, sit in silence, or listen to the sound of the wind in the trees.
- It keeps you in the present. Looking, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching are all powerful ways to take you away from other concerns and worries and keep you focused on the here and now, which becomes the only thing that matters.
- It helps you to keep things in perspective and facilitates contemplation and self-reflection. Expressing gratitude for what you have, or smiling at some happy thoughts and memories is relaxing.
- It provides an escape route (my bolthole) to divert our thinking away from stressful thoughts, events, or people.
- It helps to disseminate symptoms of anxiety or depression.
- It helps you to manage negative emotions such as anger or aggression.
- It provides happy memories that result in an increase in serotonin, our feel-good chemical.
- The physical attachment to your happy place means just visualising it can assist you.
- It makes you happy 😁
Having a happy place is helpful for your long-term contentment.
This is different from “just thinking happy or positive thoughts.” Cringe!!
And if you are currently experiencing a high level of stress, the mere thought of trying to find a happy place may make you feel even more stressed. So, in this situation stop trying. Your happy place will reveal itself to you another time.
It’s more about treasuring a particular moment or event, nurturing it, and revisiting it regularly to remind you of the good things that have happened in your life.
Do you have a happy place, and if so, how has it helped you?
Jenny is a Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Physician, author, coach, and workplace wellbeing specialist. Her latest book Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.
If you’re looking for someone to speak at your event or assist your business, department or team in developing a high level of mental wellbeing, let’s set up a time to talk.