A happy place is somewhere we can escape the humdrum of our life. A place to find a sense of peace, calm, and connection. As children, our happy places were multiple and obvious. But somehow, the adult experience doesn’t always encourage us to invest time in our happy place. Losing ourselves in adulting means our happy places can become lost and forgotten.
Our happy places are essential for our physical and mental well-being. Spending time in our happy place helps build up our immune system and lower our heart rate. When we spend time in our happy place, not only does our well-being benefit, but those around us also benefit.
This article will outline what a happy place is, why you need one, and 5 ways to help you find your happy place.
What is a happy place?
Your happy place doesn't have to be a physical place. It can be a memory you escape to in your mind, or it can be an activity you enjoy at the moment.
This definition of a happy place highlights the options available “a memory, situation, or activity that makes you feel happy.”
We don’t have to limit our happy place to just one place. We may identify several happy places when we explore how we feel in certain situations.
Our happy place is primarily somewhere we feel:
- Like ourselves.
We often retreat to our happy place when we need to recharge or reconnect with ourselves.
Our happy places help us engage with our parasympathetic nervous system. Our parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for bringing our heart rate back to its base resting rate, thus lowering our stress levels and boosting our sense of well-being.
Your happy place is unique
As we are all different, it won’t surprise you to learn that our happy places are also all different.
Here are some examples of happy places:
- Walking on the beach with a friend or partner.
- A trip to the cinema to get lost in a movie.
- Curled up on the sofa reading a book.
- Snorkeling with fish.
- Working on a scientific breakthrough.
- Solving a Rubik's cube.
- Playing board games.
Our happy places may change over time, and this is perfectly healthy.
This change is a sign of personal growth. But, it can sometimes leave us confused when we realize what was once our happy place no longer affects us. This happy place confusion is a sign we need to do a bit of soul-searching.
My happy place usually consists of mountains, running, and dogs.
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What are the benefits of having a happy place?
According to this article, the most optimistic people are the happiest overall.
We can break our quest for happiness into 3 different categories.
- Doing good for others.
- Doing things you are good at.
- Doing things that are good for you.
These suggestions make me think of the various voluntary roles I’ve had. For several years, I chaired a canicross group. This group brought people and their dogs together to keep fit and have fun. My work within this group ticked all the boxes outlined above. It was most certainly one of my happy places and brought me a sense of purpose and heightened well-being.
We benefit both mentally and physically from happiness.
The studied benefits of happiness are too plenty to mention all, but here are some big benefits:
- Stronger immune system.
- Greater resilience in the face of stress.
- Stronger heart.
- Greater resistance to cardiovascular illness.
This study from 2005 set to establish if there was a link between happiness and blood pressure and heart rate. The study required participants to rate their happiness levels throughout the day and was repeated with the same participants 3 years later.
The study found a correlation between happiness and physical well-being. Specifically, those who rated themselves as happiest were also the participants with lower blood pressure and better heart rates.
Our happiness levels feed directly into our physical and mental health. That's why it's so important to know what your happy place is, and how to get there.
5 ways to find your happy place
We know the benefits of having a happy place, but what happens if you haven’t yet identified your own happy place? This lack of clarity is normal; we are here to help you establish your happy place and encourage you to spend time there.
Here are our top 5 tips to help you find your happy place.
1. Listen to your energy
Our happy place is somewhere we feel a warm glow within. We come away feeling energized and rejuvenated.
Pay attention to your energy levels. How do they rise and fall? How do you feel during and after an activity or escaping into a memory?
Our energy levels are often our first clue of how we feel.
Anything that saps your energy and generally leaves you feeling depleted is definitely not a happy place. On the other hand, if you feel enriched and nourished, this may signify that you have found a happy place.
2. Be curious
How do we know what our happy place is if we keep doing the same things? It’s time to explore and indulge in curiosity.
Engage with different activities and shake up your routine. For all you know, your happy place may be on stage in an amateur dramatics club. You must embrace your curiosity and join a local drama group to find this out.
What captures your curiosity when you are browsing the papers? What images give you a sense of awe? Follow these feelings and lean into your instincts. A whole world of opportunity and happiness is just waiting to be tapped into.
Curiosity led me to find a new happy place - live comedy shows! I only found this happy place the other week. A comedian caught my eye, and fate led me to book tickets for his show.
I am still buzzing from the electric energy of this gig from a week ago. If I didn't try something new, I would have never known about this happy place.
3. Revisit your youth
As children, we lose ourselves in activities and hobbies. Our imaginations know no bounds. Many children have the incredible skill of living in the moment.
And then adulthood hits us.
We become consumed by work, earning a living, politics, current affairs, social pressures, and general adulting.
Can you remember your childhood happy places?
I suspect some of these happy places may still serve as happy places today.
For me, horses were my happy place. I couldn’t get enough of my equine adventures. I helped out at the local stables and could happily spend many hours just brushing these majestic animals.
To recapture this happy place, I have initiated the process of helping out at a local stable. Yes, 3 decades have passed, and I still crave that sense of joy horses brought me in my childhood. I can’t wait to recapture my old feelings and sense of belonging.
4. Step away from the crowd
Society is quick to tell you where to find happiness. A pervasive message suggests that all humans find happiness in marriage and children.
This suggestion is limiting and damaging to a large section of society. Yes, some people find happiness in these places, but others do not.
It is definitely not a one size fits all.
For some reason, the pushed agenda for happiness follows a standard linear pattern:
- Further education.
- Find a steady job.
- Meet a partner.
- Buy a house.
- Get married.
- Have 2.4 children (the amount needed to sustain population levels).
It’s vital to recognize that the path to happiness is different for everyone. So take a deep breath and follow your path. Learn to shut out the bombardment of messages all around you and listen to your yearnings.
Only when we step away from the crowd and listen to ourselves do we find what brings us happiness.
Remember, the path to happiness is not universal.
5. Give yourself permission
You can do all the work necessary to find your happy place. But your efforts are futile unless you let yourself indulge in your happy place.
No matter how busy your life is, always schedule time for your happy place. Do not be shamed or guilted by anyone for sacrificing this time. This time is essential to your well-being and ability to cope and thrive in everyday life.
When you give yourself time in your happy place, as a consequence, you show up in all areas of your life as a happier and more positive person. And let’s be honest, we all want to be around happy and positive people.
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Happiness is a vital ingredient to the recipe for well-being. In the world of reverencing productivity and side hustles, we must remember to serve our happiness needs. It’s time to re-engage with yourself and find your happy place.
Do you know what your happy place is? How have you found yours? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!