Here are 7 things which, I think, make a happy place exactly that....
A Happy Place
Growing up, I remember hearing the question "SO WHERE'S YOUR HAPPY PLACE?" being thrown around left, right and centre - and people seemed to take the term to mean one of three things:
1. Your favourite holiday destination
2. The prettiest place you've ever been to
3. Somewhere you haven't even visited but think you might like
Absolutely no dramas if that's how you too define the term, but in the last few years I've realised that this definition, for me personally, is completely wrong.
I think a happy place is defined by the feelings you can't control while we're there, the feelings that fill you with warmth and joy every time you think of that place and the excitement you feel when you're due to go back there. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a very happy and (generally) rather positive person, so I don't NEED my happy place in order to be happy - it is just so exceptionally special that everything feels, somehow, even better once there.
My happy place will forever be my Grandma and Grandad's home in Winchester - and Winchester full stop for that matter. Their house is tucked away at the top of a tunnel of trees (otherwise known as a lane...). It's the place where my Dad grew up, and where the two most special people in my life live - looking at you G&G (three if you count Henrietta the Maine Coone).
I'm currently writing this post from Copenhagen (on a surprise birthday trip for Aaron), which has got me thinking that I also completely believe that a happy place can be anywhere with that special someone, but in this post I'm talking about those physical places where you just know you need to be sometimes.
SAFE AND SOUND
I feel COMPLETELY safe and secure when I'm in my happy place.
Although I have a fantastic sleeping track record (one I should probably be ashamed of...), I have a tendency to overthink things while attempting to drift off at night - things like 'would I hear it if someone broke in downstairs' or 'am I absolutely certain that wasn't a burglars footsteps I just heard on the landing?'.
However, in my happy place, I don't have a single one of these fears or insecurities. I feel completely safe (I swear to god if I jinx this now...) and can drift off with ease.
I also feel completely safe in terms of just being. I feel calmer and far more care free than anywhere else in the world. I feel safe from all my 'problems' - whatever they may be in a given week - and I feel I can shut it all out and just relax. But it's not an active exercise - I must shut my worries away - they just happen to slip away and it's not until I step back into the real world that I actually realise how good my happy place is for my 100mph brain.
I should also add that I'm really not a stressed out person - although I do get anxious from time to time - but it's just SO lovely to step away from the ties of the Insta algorithm and the likes, and life generally to just be cosy (i.e. that warm feeling in your happy place with your favourite people).
This ties in rather nicely to feeling safe, but in my happy place I feel truly at peace. My grandparent's house is so quiet and surrounded by trees. The only real noise you get is from the wood pigeons in the garden - which is genuinely my FAVOURITE noise in the whole world. I don't feel a hint of anxiety. I don't overthink. I don't overanalyse. I can just be cosy and enjoy some quiet time (which I'm usually really not very good at as I'm a rather energetic person*!).
*Understatement of the year...
At the risk of sounding like I've lost the plot, I really do think that some places have a special energy about them and when you go to them and spend time there, you're immediately a little calmer, happier and restored. My happy place is exactly that - the sight of the house from the bottom of the lane is enough for me to breathe a sigh of relief and feel like I'm exactly where I need to be. And I always leave feeling like I've had all my batteries recharged ready for some time back in the real world!
Remember what I said about feeling safe and secure...well look how well this point ties in to that (it's as if I've planned this...)
This sounds like an odd one (pretty sure this whole list is starting to sound like a load of things you shouldn't admit out loud), but I think a happy place is defined by your quality of sleep when you're there.
I'm not gonna lie - I don't exactly struggle to catch Zs no matter where I am, and have been known to sleep quite easily for 12 hours straight - but I sleep so deeply and peacefully in my HP (lol not harry potter - happy place)
I feel safe, I'm so relaxed (not to mention the electric blankets in every bed!) and, as I quite literally feel like I've spent my entire time there winding down, it's a doddle for me to sign out for the night!*
*Do Not Disturb until early afternoon...and only then if it's snowing...
Whenever I'm feeling a bit low or grumpy, it feels like my happy place is pulling me back there with force, and I won't be able to settle again until I've been back there. It's a weird feeling, but I know that within hours of being in Winchester, I'll feel genuinely so so happy and lifted - and time with the people there makes all the difference too.
Their house is like a giant happiness magnet, and you know that within minutes of walking through the door you'll feel exactly that.
Now, if you thought 'Catching Z's' was a weird thing to admit, wait til you read this one...
My happy place is one of the only places where I want to spend family Christmases, family birthdays and - I know this is rather wishful thinking - but I so so hope that one day, I can watch my own little ones running around the same house and garden that I spent so much of my childhood in and that brings me so much happiness. That thought alone gives me so many cosy comfy feelings.
I hope you enjoyed reading my ramblings about what makes a happy place a happy place to me. It's obviously such a personal thing to define, but I feel there must be some universal cosy features about happy places which may be recognisable to lots of you.
Where is your happy place? And what makes it that for you?