Go to your “Happy Place”

Hi everyone!

In my last post I mentioned about how meditation helps to destress you and also how it helps to center yourself. In this post i want to take meditation up a notch. No, I do not want you to stand on your head or anything random, I just want you to use your imagination as you meditate.

You have probably heard people tell someone they need to go to their “Happy Place” when a person is stressed and losing the plot. That is where I want you to end up going to, but you do not have to wait until you are about to explode in a fit of stress and rage. You can go there everyday and you will find that you will feel more relaxed and less stressed.

So what is a “Happy Place”? It is just as it sounds: a place you would like to retreat to where you feel safe, serene, relaxed and happy! A place where you can be by yourself and just enjoy being there. The good news is that you don’t have to travel far to reach your happy place. In fact you do not have to travel anywhere. Just find a place in your home where you can be by yourself, undisturbed, for 20-30 minutes.

What does a “Happy Place” look like? It can look like whatever you want it to look like. That’s the awesome thing about “Happy Places”, everybody has their own and it does not have to be the same place as anyone else’s. A “Happy Place” is a highly subjective place and you can make it as special as you want. My “Happy Place” is a clearing, deep in a forest, where the grass is soft and the air is warm. I can hear a river trickling by and the sound of the birds in the tree and the forest animals coming and visiting me. I can smell the sweet fragrance of the pine trees surrounding my clearing and also the aroma of the flowers on the edge of the clearing.

Your “Happy Place” could be similar to mine. It could also be a beach, or  a river bank, or a garden, or somewhere on another planet! Just create a place that you would love to go to when you feel the world is beating you down. It is a place you can escape to and just “be”.

How do you visit your “Happy Place”? By following these steps.

1. Find somewhere where you can be undisturbed for 20-30 minutes. Take the phone off the hook if you can.

2. Close your eyes and then take in several deep breathes and exhale. Feel your body relax.

3. Now go to your “Happy Place”. What does it look like? Explore it. What can you see? What can you hear? Listen carefully are there any sounds that are subtle? What can you feel? How warm is the air? Can you feel the sun on your face? If your “Happy Place” is the beach, can you feel the sand underneath you? Is it soft or grainy? If your “Happy Place” is by the river, what does the grass feel like? Explore the feelings and sensations. Enjoy them because this is your personal place where you can escape to and just relax and be. There is no stress, no pressure and no demands on you. What can you smell? The scent of the salt on the sea breeze as it blows softly across your face. The earthy smell of the grass as you are in the forest. The perfume from the flowers that you see scattered here and there around you. Can you smell anything subtle? Reach out and touch things around you. How do the feel? Soft and smooth or hard? What does the sand feel like as you pick up a handful and let the grains slip through your fingers? When you dip your feet in the river, does it feel cold or warm? Is it flowing swiftly or is it gentle?

4. When you are ready, slowly open your eyes. Have a stretch if you want to.

5. Examine how you feel now compared to before your started this exercise.

The whole idea of this exercise is to get you to employ your senses in the meditation. That is why I said we were taking it up a notch. In my last post you were more passively just sitting and thinking on one thought. In the “Happy Place” exercise you are being more active: seeing feeling, hearing, touching and smelling.  The brain is a powerful machine and it can not distinguish between the real and the imagined. Once you do this exercise you will be amazed at how real your “Happy Place” seems to be.

Do this exercise daily for at least two weeks and you will be amazed at the affect it has on your overall well-being. No one will have to tell you to go to your “Happy Place” any more because you have already been there.

Sit and meditate!

Welcome to another installment in my reducing stress and anxiety series!

Over the past few weeks I have shown you how to identify tension in your body and techniques on how to eliminate the tension. Now we will turn our attention to the inner storms that may be occurring in our minds and souls.

Too often we are focused on the external world around us. It’s not our fault, it is just the way our society has taught us to be. We are busy living our lives. We don’t really stop to take time out and relax. The result is that we get stressed. What we need to do is set aside 15-30 minutes each day whereby we can be by ourselves in a quite environment and focus on what is happening within.

When people think of meditation the usually visualise a bearded guy in a white outfit sitting in the lotus position repeating the “Om” mantra. I have good news for you: you do not have to grow a beard nor find some isolated mountain top to climb upon to find inner peace! All you need is a quite place where you can go and not be disturbed while you focus within yourself and discover where the storms are raging within your mind and soul. Then quite those storms.

So how do you meditate? Here is one way:

  1. Find a quite environment where you can go and not be disturbed for 15-30 minutes. Wear lose clothing.
  2. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
  3. Take several slow, deep, cleansing breathes and then slowly exhale.
  4. Pick a word to focus on during the length of the meditation. The idea is to focus your mind on this rather than allowing your thoughts to run amok like they usually do.
  5. Just repeat the word over and over again in your mind. If you find that your thoughts are getting away on you, do not be hard on yourself as your mind will start to wander. Just realise that your mind has wandered and then gently bring your mind back to refocus on the word.
  6. As you focus on the word you may begin to discover storms raging within your soul. This is because your mind has been allowed to have free reign with thoughts of worry and anxiety. Stay focused solely on the object/word of your meditation.
  7. At the end of the 15-30 minutes, slowly open your eyes. How do you feel now? Do you feel more peaceful within yourself? Have the storms abated within your mind and soul? They should have!

After a few weeks of daily meditation you will be amazed at how much happier and calmer you are. The things that used to bother you seem to have disappeared! Which means less stress in your life!

Here is one meditation that I just love doing. It is a centering exercise which enables you to push the external world to the periphery of your life and just be by yourself (I am not associated in any way to the group that has provided this video):

20 minutes Centering Meditation with Esther Teule

So…go…sit and meditate!