Where’s Your Happy Place?


This is Cullen, North East Scotland, my happy place for almost 40 years.

I’ve been visiting this beautiful beach and fishing town on holidays since I was 3. It represents family time, memories of happy days spent on the beach, watching seagulls, dolphins, seals and building sand castles. Memories of my own childhood and now my two boys.

It is somewhere to rest, find peace and quiet and enjoy the splendour of the coast and all its natural wonders.

Cullen beach is somewhere I have sat to contemplate, make life choices and changes and put things into perspective.

Above all, whether I am ‘in’ Cullen or there in my minds eye, it brings me a deep happiness and sense of well-being.

We all have a happy place, maybe more than one. Not just holiday destinations. Maybe its snuggling under the duvet, sitting in the garden, places where we connect with friends or family, places we call our own.

But there’s also another happy place that we all have the ability to connect to. It’s with us everywhere we go. It’s the space within us, underneath our minds and bodies, underneath our thoughts emotions and dreams.

It’s not a space you can touch or even name. It’s the place of our inner wisdom and intuition and peace, and we all tap into it whether we know it or not.

When we are in our happy places, or moments of spontaneous happiness that we don’t expect, the feeling we have comes from this innate place – we are more present – time seems to just flow and we’re filled with well-being.

But we don’t have to wait to physically go to our happy place or for the next moment of spontaneous joy, we can go there at anytime if we know how.

So how?

By learning to become more present. By learning to gently focus our awareness on the present moment.

By becoming more present and more aware of how we actually are in the moment, we are able to discern more easily, through connecting to our intuition and inner wisdom, what it is that is causing us difficulty, ‘unhappiness’ or challenge. When we are more present we are able to discern the ‘stories’ of past and future that our mind (or voice in our head) often creates and see more clearly the true realities of our lives. When we are able to discern the fictions from the facts we see that it’s often the stories not the realities that cause us to feel unbalanced.

When we learn to be more present we are better able to respond to the challenges, difficulties and unhappiness that resonate. We learn to react less, to have less judgement and more acceptance, and to let go. We learn to re-balance.

This is what happens in our happy place, we let go of the focus on our struggles and are in the moment.

Yoga and in particular meditation are practices that can help you to learn the skills of awareness, focus and becoming more present. Physical yoga practice does this through the movement of the body, formal meditation through seated stillness. Better yet these practices give you skills to take off your yoga mat or meditation seat and into everyday life. Life itself becomes more present centred, more balanced and happier.

So today take a moment in your happy place - physically or in your mind’s eye - breathe deeply and smile.

If you haven’t tried yoga or meditation consider finding a class, in person is best as you have the benefit of a teacher supporting you personally but online or a DVD works too. With a bit of time and practice you will reap the rewards.