Saturday, 17 March 2012

What is your happy place?

Mine is the beach at Aberdyfi, on the west coast of Wales. If I close my eyes I can see the endless golden sand, the sun glittering on the tops of the waves, smell the seaweed and hear the excited barking of our two dogs as Kev throws balls and they all bounce around in the surf together.

I have taken a hundred photos of beach walks I can use as reference: Kev with his trousers rolled up to his knees tiptoeing through the freezing winter sea to retrieve (yet again) the collie’s floating toy that he has lost track of; the spaniel with his ball buried in the stinkiest clump of seaweed he could find; me wrapped up in fourteen layers and doing an excellent womble impression. Happy days.

I go to my happy place when I am under stress. Sitting in the dentists chair will send me to the beach every single time. Internal examinations get me counting grains of sand or straining to spot dolphins in the waves. My happy place featured extensively in my birth preparations last year, even if the speed of the birth itself left me with little need for such enjoyable distraction.

it is simply one of the most effective tools I have learnt for coping with stressful moments. The best happy places are ones you know best, because you can’t then get caught out halfway through a trip thinking ‘now was the polished granite fountain by the rose bed last time, or was it next to the golden Buddha?’. You can just sink into the place in as much detail as you need to take your mind off whatever is troubling you. Using all five senses will also serve you well. It would be very hard indeed to worry about where the midwfie is sticking her hand when you are trying to decide whether or not the cupcake in front of you has the teensiest whiff of cardamom in amongst its choccolatey loveliness.

So where is your happy place?

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