Happy Place, Safe Space, and Healing Hut. These are just a few of the terms I’ve heard given to the places where my friends and family go to refresh themselves after a tough day. These mysterious and often private locations offer themselves as refuges when times get tough and your head gets cloudy.
As I have grown older I learned to appreciate the importance of Happy Places. These spaces, places, nooks and crannies, help to relieve emotional distress holistically, but with a busy life and noisy city, how can you find one?
While living on the beach in Suffolk County, Long Island, the place where I found myself most at peace was at the beach. Whether it was winter or summer, I was walking the beach clearing my mind and soul of any stress I felt. I took my peaceful location and easy access to nature for granted, which I realized when I went away to college where happy places were scarce.
College has brought on a series of intense academic, emotional, and personal stress that I have never experienced before. By my sophomore year I was aching for a place away from my roommates where I could decompress and regroup. Little did I know that sometimes these places are found when you least expect it.
In noisy midtown Manhattan I found my happy place by accident. In an always overwhelming city, the quiet places fade in the background and are saturated by the noises of sirens and bustling people. My safe place as it turns out was in my ballet class-front row towards the left every Tuesday and Thursday, the back table in the small coffee house downtown, and my yoga class uptown. Between coupé, coffee, and vinyasa flow, I embraced ‘me time’ as a way to self heal, clear my thoughts for an hour or so, and then refresh myself so that I could tackle the issues at hand.
Personal places for self healing are just as important in my book as seeing your primary physician yearly. On a daily basis, we endure various amounts of stress and little time is given to ourselves for renewal. The continuous stress of the day piles up, causing anxiety and exhaustion. By finding your safe place(s) to decompress and revisit yourself, you are providing your mind and soul with an opportunity to heal so that you can be more productive in the world around you.
I am not suggesting you disengage from the world, on the contrary I am encouraging you to engage more with the part of the world that makes you feel at peace so that when you are faced with stress, you can do so in a healthy and productive manner.
Life is too short to put your personal happiness aside. We have one shot to make this life the most productive and fulfilling time of our lives.