Having a Happier Place of your own gives you an escape from everyday demands, stress and pressures. You’ll return feeling more centered, refreshed and energized. Isn’t it time you declared YOUR Happier Place?
Experiencing happiness should not be a luxury, but is something we all deserve. Yet so many people don’t take the time or focus on feeling happier. People go to work to make money, to the grocery store to buy food, to the gym to be physically fit, to the kitchen to cook etc. It’s kind of a no brainer: go to your Happier Place to feel happier.
When you have defined an easily accessible location (or easily achievable activity) where you feel joy and comfort, it will help you make the time and truly focus on doing something for just yourself that will spread happiness throughout your days.
Think of visiting your Happier Place as a mini vacation for your mind, body, and soul. Call it your natural anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication. Consider it your more-fun anger management therapy. Whatever you call it: take responsibility for your well-being and make time for self-care by going to your Happier Place.
Having a Happier Place vs. a Happy Place
Let’s get one thing out of the way: why Happier Place, and not the more common term Happy Place? There are two different ways of looking at it. Just choose the one that works better for you.
- “Happier” is even better than just “happy” – and definitely much better than meh.
- You can’t always be “happy”, but you can definitely always be a little bit “happier”.
Read more about the distinction in this article: Do More of What Makes You Happier! (Seriously Do!)
Happier Place Definitions
There are several definitions and then the magic of combining them.
- Mental image of a place which a person associates with happiness or peace-of-mind – visualized in order to reduce stress, calm down, and reach a happier state of mind.
- Physical location where a person feels happier and safe. This can be a specific location (e.g., my backyard) or a general category (e.g., at the beach).
- An activity that allows a person to feel joy and forget worries (e.g., bike riding).
A great combination is to have a physical place that you can visit in person when convenient and then retrieve as a mental image in times of stress or anxiety. Another combination would be: a certain activity in a specific location (e.g., boating on Horsetooth Reservoir).
Find Your Own Happier Place
To keep it simple and efficient, we’ll focus on “physical locations” in this section. The same aspects apply to activities.
An important point when choosing a Happier Place location: It should be easily accessible and realistic. Otherwise, it’s just a dream vacation, a bucket list item or fantasy world that might cause sadness if it remains out of reach.
No, the location doesn’t have to be in the outdoors!
Yes, of course, you can have more than one Happier Place!
Take the time to recall locations you’ve been to that match any (not necessarily all) of these points:
- Somewhere you feel comfortable. For most people this would also mean “to feel safe” – but let’s not discount “adrenalin junkies.”
- Being there brought you joy, smiles, a lightness of being, a sense of freedom, lack of worries… or any other feelings you associate with happiness.
- Even just thinking about the place brings a smile to your face or floods you with a sense of contentment or joy.
- Something positive and meaningful happened there in the past.
- Where you enjoyed the smells, sounds or visuals of the environment.
- A location that keeps coming to your mind – and you wish you could return to.
- You can get reach the location on your own.
- It’s possible for you to be alone there.
Ask people who know you well where they have seen you be happier or what makes your face light up when you talk about it.
Find out where other people like to escape to. But don’t “steal” someone’s place by taking over. Just let someone else’s Happier Place inspire you to find your own.
How to Get the Most out of Your Happier Place
Just thinking about where you might be or have been happier, probably made you feel pretty good, right? Brought back some good memories? Made you feel like you took some time to just think about what makes you feel good? That’s step one.
Next, declare your Happier Place. More details about the importance of acknowledging your place in the next section.
Obviously, just having a Happier Place isn’t enough. You should also actually visit this location or do your happier activity whenever you have the time or really need an escape.
Celebrate “Me-Time” by marking your calendar after you’ve spent time in your Happier Place. Just like the idea of the Fun-Was-Had Calendar (vs. a To-Do List), it’ll help you check if you’re allowing yourself focused happiness time.
Notice that you’re “always too busy” to make time for a little happiness escape? Then go ahead and schedule “Happier Place Time” in your calendar or on your to-do list. Oh, and then actually go there!
Bring whatever you might need or want with you, e.g., food, drinks, book, sketchpad, sarong, etc. That idea is what our “make your happy place better” products are based on and one of the reasons we launched in the first place. But it also follows the simple concept of having what you need so you can stay content longer.
Allow yourself some true downtime and turn off your phone. Too much? Then at least turn off the ringer and notifications.
Tell your people (spouse, kids, demanding dog etc.) that you’re taking this time for yourself and that’ll you be back later to engage – but to please leave you alone for this time. Thank them now; they’ll thank you later when you return feeling great.
Get creative and take your Happier Place with you when you leave. Take a picture or make a drawing or painting of the actual place and keep your image easily accessible (on your phone, computer, wallet, etc.) to give yourself a quick happier fix. Maybe there’s a rock or seashell you can take from the place?
Contemplate what aspects of the location or activity make you happier and use that information. Is there any way you can translate those aspects to other places or actions? Can you integrate any of them into your everyday life?
Turn the actual location or activity into the classic “happy place mental image” that you can conjure up anytime you feel stressed, worried or sad.
While first and foremost the Happier Place should be just for you (where you take a break from all and everything), there’s something to be said for sharing it with someone who is special to you. Shared positive experiences strengthen relationships. You’re doing something kind for someone else by taking them somewhere beautiful and personally meaningful to you. You’ll probably inspire that person to seek out their own place of joy and comfort. So on occasion: bring a friend.
Declare Your Happier Place
Already simply choosing and claiming a “place of your own” that makes you happier is a very important step.
It’s an opportunity for you to consciously focus in on what YOU want and need. This is an important aspect of self-care, which Maria Baratta Ph.D., defines in Psychology Today as “the mindful taking time to pay attention to you, not in a narcissistic way, but in a way that ensures that you are being cared for by you.”
You do so much for other beings (partners, family, pets) and things (make money, keep a clean house, obey laws etc.). You deserve a place and time for just you where you can get away from all the demands and pressures. Claiming such a place affirms first and foremost to yourself that you deserve having a Happier Place of your very own. Celebrate your self-worth! Treat yo self!
If you want, you can also tell others about your Happier Place. It’s a fun way to express yourself and be proud of who you are, what you do and what makes you happier.
Acknowledging a beautiful place of your own is a rewarding act of mindfulness. First, it can bring awareness to your own needs, desires, and self-worth. Then, it can lead to you celebrating what makes this place or activity so special. For a deeper and longer-lasting experience, you might enjoy writing about it and what it means to you.
You can also combine this mindfulness with focusing on gratitude for this time and place. Being in the moment and experiencing gratitude are probably the core principles of finding happiness. Read more in our article Secret to Happiness: the Gratitude Moment.
To help you declare your Happier Place, we currently sell a weather-resistant “I’m in my happier place.” sticker. Of course, we advise you against sticking it anywhere you don’t have permission to. But it works great on items that you take to your Happier Place, like water bottles, coolers, notebooks, kayaks, beach chair, etc. We plan on offering more products with that slogan soon…
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Please leave a comment below: Tell us about your Happier Place – no matter if it’s an actual location, an activity or a mental image of either. Let’s inspire each other…