Where is Your Happy Place?
by Irwin Lengel
What is a happy place:
According to some individuals, a happy place would be described as a memory, a situation, or some activity that makes you feel happy! For instance, some individuals might say: Going to my line dance class is my happy place. Or, another might say: going to my painting class is my happy place.
A happy place is the place we all seek to go when we are feeling stressed out or for lack of a better way to put it “out of sorts with what is happening in that particular moment in time.”
My wife and I were recently sitting around the breakfast table and I happened to glance at a beach scene hung across her office area that depicts what we would consider to be our “Happy Place.” Or something similar. As you can see, we have a the beach, water, flip-flops, and a hammock. All of the things we, in our minds, consider to be a “Happy Place!”
Myself, coming from a family of eight children and growing up where I did, I try not to ever let my guard down and think of thoughts such as “woe is me,” life sucks.
Things could be a whole lot tougher than what we have it now. True, we do not have our dream home …….yet…..and at times we all wish things might be better, but when one gets right down to it, we are doing pretty darn good and have not had it half as hard as others our age.
We have our health, a place to lay our head at night, food in the pantry, and hot and cold running water. But to say that every day we wake, we feel this way would not be telling the truth. We all have our bad days.
Enter the happy place!
Why is such a place important to us? Well, by having a space we can go to, we are stepping away from things that are causing us unrest. Hopefully this place we go to is a place of calm allowing us to find joy or some might say peacefulness thus allowing us time to destress our minds.
By de-stressing, we think clearer and in having a clearer mind, hopefully will make what we would eventually consider to be a clear minded decision about whatever may have stressed us out in the first place. What have we done differently? We have allowed our mind to put everything else aside and concentrate on just one thing during that moment, that time, that space thus allowing ourselves to be more present in the moment.
What does “being present in the moment” do for us. Speaking for myself, whenever I take the time to step out of my environment and be present in the moment, I think of all that I have accomplished up to this point in my life. Sure, at times I compare what I have with what others have and what I think I could have had but then I ask myself, why am I stressing myself out? It is times like these that I do my best to find my happy place.
By seeking out my happy place, I get to step out of my “current life picture” and not only pay attention to all that I have accomplished up to this point, but also realize and appreciate what the alternative could have been. We all, at times, picture the grass greener on the other side. But, is it? The other side could be worse than what we have now. And if that isn’t an eye-opener, I do not know what is.
When you get right down to it - we do not even need a super-size real-life scenario to have a happy place. For instance, one real scenario we dream of as a happy place is owning a house that looks out over the water where we can sit back, relax and just kick back thinking about how good we have it.
Not being in that situation though, we have a substitute for the aforesaid happy place. And that substitute is a park bench. It’s true.
A short walk from our house sits a park bench that overlooks a small pond where ducks frequent every evening. When we want to get away from it all and de-stress, we take a short walk to this park bench and sit there relaxing just watching the ducks swim around doing their thing. These ducks put on a show for anyone willing to take the time to put aside their troubles and just watch. When we finally decide to leave, guess what, we leave our troubles in the pond (poor ducks) before returning to the house. That is just one of our happy places.
And if I need a happy place when my wife is sleeping or watching TV, I can just go to my smart phone, and conjure up a “happy place” scenario that isn’t real using an app called “Calm”. Within minutes my mind can be wandering to almost any place I want to be.
Wendy: Irwin! WOOT! You use Calm!
So, a happy place can merely be a place we imagine in our mind, one in which we can conjure up images of whatever we want to be doing that will take us out of our environment (an environment we need a brief respite from) and thus enhance our mood in a matter of seconds.
Let me share a quote attributed to “John Updike” that reads:
"To be a human being is to be in a state of tension between your appetites and your dreams, and the social realities around you and your obligations to your fellow man." - John Updike.
We all know that life is real and well dreams are dreams. We also know that, if we are being honest with each other, our dreams are often at odds with the reality of our situations.
Our realities are different from our dreams, in many cases because we either do not have the time nor the freedom and resources needed to make those dreams a reality. Now here is where “Happy Places” come into play.
Remember, our happy place is not objective but is subjective. Our happy place is the place that makes our minds smile, hopefully calm down, and feel positive about ourselves. It is that place we go to that we have made safe, secure, and problem free.
So the next time you are feeling all stressed out and bummed about whatever is happening in your life at that particular moment in time – chill out and go find your “happy place!"