It’s a cliche that when you’re angry, you should try to find your “Happy Place.” But a tired joke this sentiment is not. Recognizing and defining your happy place is essential to resetting and realigning yourself when necessary.
Being able to stop yourself, to take a moment to close your eyes and breathe deep, and to visual yourself in a place where you find calm and peace is a powerful technique. But before you can do this, you first have to identify where and what makes you content.
This could be the ocean on your last beach vacation, the lapping waves, the breeze, the gulls calling, the smell of the salty air. Or maybe it’s sitting on top of a tall mountain, overlooking a vast range, the sounds of song birds in the air, a patch of summer sweet blackberries behind you where hummingbirds take a break from their long summer sojourns. Or maybe it’s lounging in a big comfy chair in front of a roaring fireplace, snuggling in your quilt with a steaming hot cup of mulled apple cider in you hands.
Personally, I have a couple of visualization that I consider my happy places. The main one that I visualize when I need to check my emotions or thoughts, however, is my home. Specifically, I close my eyes and think about the wooded view I have from my back porch and of Mount Yonah the lonely mountain, lording over the towns below, my husbands arms wrapped around me in a warm embrace, birds chattering in the forest that surrounds us, and the light scent of butterfly bushes in the air.
A good happy place visualization should include all the senses, or as many as possible. Focus on the visual part of the visualization, yes, but also the sounds, the smells, the tactile sensations, and yes, you should include taste if your happy place calls for it.
So why does this work? It’s thought to be a type of placebo effect. You brain reacts the same way to both experience and memory. So simply recalling the effects of a certain event can release the same hormones, endorphins, and cause all sorts of chemical reactions (this can also be a bad thing, like when you remember traumatic events, but that’s a different topic all together).
Practice make perfect. The more that you take you mind to your happy place, the more reflexive the technique becomes, so that the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or experiencing an anxiety spiral, can can call up your happy place to help pull you out of the darkness.
*Disclaimer: The happy place technique is a supplement and not a substitute for proper medical advice or medications. Chemical imbalances are real. Please treat yourself accordingly.