Life Coaching Tip: Although you may have memories of places where you’ve felt joy, there’s no such thing as a “happy place.” Happiness isn’t a place at all. It’s a state of mind. It begins with intentional thoughts that ignite feelings of gratitude, connection, and love—and it’s available to you anytime—anywhere!
I’m guilty of saying it.
“The lake is my happy place!”
And when I say this, I mean any beach shore—any body of water. But I’m especially referring to the park where I walk every morning and my special spot on top of the Lake Erie Bluffs—where I can breathe in the fresh air and hear the roar of the waves hitting the shore below.
I’ve had many joyous times at the Bluffs where my heart has been aligned with my spirit, and I’ve felt alive with gratitude and inspiration!
And I have memories of frolicking with my late-pup Penny by the shore, seeing her ears flop in the wind as she playfully tapped the back of my legs with her paws while we ran together down the path.
I also have fond memories of taking long walks on the beach, collecting sea glass with my husband, feeling a deep sense of contentment and peace on those lazy Sunday mornings.
But I must admit, there have been stressful times at the Bluffs, too.
There have been mornings when I’ve ruminated on thoughts that brought up feelings of anger or frustration—during my entire walk—forcing me to work harder to muster a smile as I passed by other park guests.
And there have been mornings when I’ve had my lengthy to-do list scrolling through my mind while I walked hunched over and stared at the ground, barely aware of my surroundings.
There have also been times of sorrow at the Bluffs.
I remember one morning when I headed out at 5 a.m. for a walk—after not sleeping a wink. My insomnia was due to the decision I had to make to put our Penny down because she was suffering from a rare health condition. I got to the lake shore before sunrise that day, and I walked and I walked and I walked, trying to shake off my grief—but I was unsuccessful.
So, after some reflection, it occurred to me that the lake isn’t my “happy place” after all.
Really, “happy” isn’t a place—it’s an emotion that is created by my thoughts of gratitude, connection, and love.
With this in mind, I can more accurately say: “The lake is my quiet, meditative place . . . sometimes.”
This is true when I seize the opportunity to be mindful and be at peace when I am there.
Over time, I’ve been getting much better at this.
I can now settle into thoughts and feelings of gratitude more easily, because I’ve learned to intentionally allow the beauty of nature into my awareness.
Yet, since I am human, it wouldn’t be natural for me to be in this state all the time.
Sometimes, the circumstances in my life are difficult and painful, but I’m learning to allow myself the space to feel my emotions. I’m learning to process through them, so I can move forward. And I’m getting better at doing this, too, with less self-judgement and shame.
But now and again, even though I am a life coach, I still forget. And I must remind myself that happiness isn’t a place or a situation.
Today, I want to remind you, too.
Happiness is a state of mind that begins with intentional thoughts that ignite feelings of gratitude, connection, and love—and it’s available to you anytime—anywhere!
I encourage you to make time for quiet reflection every day, so you can tap into these thoughts and feelings. Because, my friend, no matter what is happening in your life or where you are in the world, you always have power to seek out the light and let it warm your soul.
Isn’t that the best news ever?