While sightseeing with my family along the Avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris a few years ago, I noticed a “HAPPY IS THE NEW CHIC” sign displayed at a boutique. It really caught my attention and made me think about the message that was being conveyed and why the words had such a profound effect on me.
I was on vacation away from the demands, distractions, and challenges that come with everyday life. I felt healthy, energized and an incredible sense of peace that I had not experienced in recent memory. I didn’t feel this way just because it was a once in a lifetime destination, but because it was a place where I got to be renewed and refreshed and the things that were stress inducers were thousands of miles away. This was my happy place! I wanted to experience this feeling again when I returned home.
Everyone needs their very own happy place because today many of us live in a culture that is fast paced, where we often get pulled in many directions by people or things that require our attention. Finding your happy place doesn’t have to require a journey of miles, it can begin as a destination of the mind. It means giving yourself permission to mentally get away, to experience the joy of living in the moment with no worries about your list of things to do, or places to be. It is learning how to shut out the noise of the world, Facebook, Twitter, reality TV, or the news. It means escaping for only a moment if that’s all you have, doing something with friends, or nothing at all, or just give yourself “me” time. It is allowing yourself to decompress, relax and be rejuvenated; making life changes such as eating healthy, exercising, simplifying your lifestyle, eliminating negativity, all so that you can go back out and face what’s waiting for you with focus and energy.
Tips for Finding Your Happy Place
- What does your picture of happy look like? What are you doing? Who are you with?
- What does happy feel like to you?
- Discover what makes you happy, for some the easy way to answer that question is to identify and acknowledge what doesn’t make you happy.
- How do you get there?
- How do you stay there?
Mary Walker is a Young Wonders Early Learning Teacher at YWCA McLean County. Faith, family, and making a positive difference in the lives of others are most important to her.