5 Tips to Help You Find Your Happy Place

We all need a sanctuary in this busy world. Here are some tips for finding yours.

Aug 5, 2015
Happy woman relaxes in hammock

Relax, your happy place is near (Shutterstock)

The poet William Wordsworth wrote, “The world is too much with us.”
We’ve all been there: overwhelmed by never-ending to-do lists, overflowing inboxes, the demands of work and home life, the friends we adore and the organizations we support. When we feel chaos is closing in, we need to retreat to our happy place.

“Everyone should have a place where you can go to feel safe and happy,” says Nancy Mramor, Ph.D., a Pittsburgh psychologist who leads workshops on achieving happiness. “It may be a place you can physically visit or, at times, even just imagine, but it must be a respite that recharges you.” Here are some tips for finding that special place in your world. 

1. Recall places where you've appreciated the sounds

Think birds chirping, a brook babbling, beautiful music, people’s voices.

2. Summon up the places where you've enjoyed visual images

An open view of the sky or sea, pleasing colors and shapes, inspiring art or architecture could be good starting points. 

3. Choose a place with the elements that contribute to happiness

Exercise, social contact with happy people, creative flow, laughter. Your happy place, says Nancy, may also be a “low-stimulation environment with little of the above. Quiet stillness can offer a feeling of being at peace that can last for a long time.”

4. Remember where you were when you experienced deep contentment

It could be the playground where you took your children when they were young; the animal shelter or food pantry where you volunteer, or the café where you met your future spouse.

5. Stay open-minded

Studies in the Journal of Environmental Psychology show that spending just 20 minutes in nature boosts vitality levels significantly. Others may prefer a favorite spa, an indoor Zen retreat with candles and soothing music or a kitchenware store filled with gleaming pots and exotic ingredients. “Some people, especially those who work alone,” Nancy says, “get a happiness lift just by going to their local coffee bar and plugging in their laptops.”

Happy family day outdoors

Just 20 minutes outdoors can boost health and wellbeing (Shutterstock)