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Happy Places

Where is your happy place? Do you have one? Do you know know how to find it, or how to get there? Your happy place can be a physical destination (your favorite hotel overlooking the ocean) or it can be your favorite food, your favorite smell, or the feel of your favorite blanket. It can happen when your cat jumps up onto your lap and immediately starts purring, or your dog rests her head on your leg. It can be the sound of your children's laughter, or the smile of your spouse. It can be anyplace, anytime. It can even happen in your mind in the form of a beautiful memory.

Do you know how important it is to have a happy place? It is vitally important. Why do you think we seek to find happiness so much? Don't we work all week so we can "enjoy" our weekends? Isn't the focus of our vacations to "have fun"? We spend thousands of dollars on things that we hope will give us a level of excitement that exceeds the measure of "happy" and propels us into a state of elation beyond compare. The problem is we seek the feeling and not the benefits of the feeling. What do I mean? Well, thrill seekers do faster, higher, more dangerous activities for the feeling it gives them. Unfortunately, in order to get the adrenalin rush they seek, each activity needs to be bigger, faster, or hirer than the previous activity. They are "addicted" to their own adrenalin and like a junkie, they push the limits until something terrible happens. This is NOT a happy place and ultimately does not bring you joy.

Contrast the fast and furious with the calm and quite. Take a long walk down a forested pathway and breath deep. Sit on the sands near the Pacific Ocean and close your eyes; listen to the sound of the waves rhythmic melody. Lay in a field of green grass and feel the soft carpet beneath you. Nuzzle the neck of a newborn baby against your cheek. Or sit on a mountain peak and look down at the Earth below and contemplate your place in the world.

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

Philippians 4:8

When you learn how to be present in the moment, you will find many opportunities for finding a happy place. There are no limits to the amount of daily joy you can find if you are looking for it. The problem is we forget to look for it. We get lost in the bustle and hustle of our day and distraction steals our happy places away from us. Recently, I heard that college students have the level of stress equal to WWII soldiers. Technology, we think, has become the happy place, but it is really stealing our joy. Turn off the computers, cell phones, and music. Give Alexa the day off. Learn to just be present in your moments--catch them while you're in them, and embrace the joy of the day. When you can "think about such things" you will find many happy places exist in your life to be thankful for. Today, go find your happy place.

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