I realized after I spent some time gardening and planting new spring flowers this past weekend, how relaxed it made me feel. I also feel that way about getting lost in a great book. Do you know where your happy place is? Do you go there regularly to re-energize yourself?
When I'm doing life coaching with adults, I always want to find out what they do to relax, play, and recharge. In working with children and teens, I want to make sure they have an area of mastery outside of academics. Play is not just for kids. We all need to play and find the way to relax that feels healthy and right to us. I would like all parents to help their children identify what their natural happy spots are so that when they are stressed they can go there.
Engaging in some activity in which you are focused deeply on what you are doing, and lose awareness of yourself, can be healthy and a needed break for your mind, emotions, and spirit. All hypnosis is essentially self-hypnosis and takes you to a very deep level of relaxation where you aren't worried about anything at all. We take ourselves to that deeply relaxed hypnotic state when we are engaged in something solitary that we enjoy.
Your happy place or activity needs to be something that's easy to access, not unhealthy, expensive or addictive. They are as individual as our fingerprints. Here are some activities that might get you thinking about your own happy place:
Do you enjoy some kind of movement or exercise?
Does listening to music shift your moods? Sometimes I have patients create a playlist specifically to help them downshift and chill.
Do you like to draw, paint, or do some kind of crafts? Do you knit, crochet or needlepoint? Perhaps you could set up a little art area for you to retreat and be creative. This is not about creating great art, it's about the experience of creating and expressing.
Do you like going outside, riding your bike, going for a walk, observing nature or gardening? These activities help us connect with nature and put problems and stresses in perspective. Even Sigmund Freud had a daily ritual of walking around the Ringstrasse after dinner each night when he lived in Vienna (just skip the nightly cigar he smoked while he walked). We can create our own daily rituals that take us outside, like watering plants or a neighborhood stroll with your dog after dinner.
Think creatively about how you liked to play or relax as a child. Finding non-electronic ways to de-stress, shifting away from problems and stressors, even for a short break, helps recharge our human batteries. It helps us to relax deeply, lower our heart rate and blood pressure, and focus our attention outside ourselves and our problems du jour.
Challenge yourself to identify one or two of your happy places and go there this week. You deserve it. If you have children or teens, help them identify their own happy place and it can become a lifelong coping strategy when they are under stress.