Ever walk into a room and forget why you went there in the first place? That’s because a change in environment changes our thought process and our mood. A lot can change in our mood and behaviors based on our environment and how we choose to utilize it. That’s why it is so important that we have a certain happy place in our minds and in our hearts.

When we don’t have the opportunity to change our physical environment, we can still change the environment in our minds by finding our happy place. This helps to alter our attitudes and the way we respond to what happens to us.

Where is the place you love to be? The place you love to go to because it feels peaceful, tranquil, and relaxing. The place that helps get your mind off all the stressors in life, and gives you a break from it all. Think about that place.

Once you confirm that special place that allows you to feel all warm and fuzzy inside, think about the word that you would best associate with that place. For me, the place that gives me peace and comfort is our family lake home. The word I associate with my happy place is birch – I’ll get back to this later.

There is a type of therapy used for people with post traumatic stress disorder called EMDR (eye movement desensitization and  reprocessing). One of the focuses of this therapy is to find your happy place during tough times.

In times when stressful experiences occur, our ability to cope with that experience is challenging. For someone who has been through trauma, their ability to cope is even more difficult, impossible at times. There is a portion of EMDR therapy where people with trauma focus on visualizing their happy place and the word they associate with it. Then when these unfortunate experiences occur, they think of their word and their happy place immediately comes to their mind. This helps people to relax and redirect their focus, not allowing their triggers to affect their mood and behaviors.

Back to your word- have you picked one? When you do, start practicing! Do this once a day, whether or not you are experiencing a stressful situation, so this starts to become a habit for  you. When you practice, close your eyes and really think about the place; the smells, sounds, how you feel when you are there, the noises…everything.

I use this during stressful days at work, when my feelings are hurt, when I feel like my “to do” list is 20 feet long, etc. Just take a second to think about your happy place and those feelings will take over, helping you to relax. This allows me not to focus on the things that really don’t matter, and to instead allow my own happiness to take precedence. It helps me to find peace in myself and my mind.

You don’t need permission to be happy. It’s a choice that you have to make for yourself. And trust me, it’s worth it.

May you find serenity and tranquility in a world you may not always understand.

-keep shining