The Importance of a "Happy Place"

Stress is something that plagues almost every college student. How can it not? When you’re cruising by without any major assignments and then get hit with everything at once, stress is bound to overcome you. And if there’s anything I understand, it’s stress.

As I’ve gotten older, I have come to realize that having a space of my own to think and destress is incredibly important to my mental health. I call this my “Happy Place,” and I go there any time I’m feeling stressed, depressed, happy, or I simply just need to focus on my writing. In fact, I’ve written a couple of my other articles at my happy place and I wish I could be writing this one there too.

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A happy place can be anywhere of one’s choosing. My personal happy place is at a beach off of Pacific Coast Highway. As a child, my mom used to take my sister and me here to enjoy our summer vacations. In my teen years, I went to this beach with my friends. It was here that my friend began one of her relationships and where I ended one of mine. We’ve had countless of memories all together at this one beach. After a while, I realized that going to this beach brought me a sense of joy and contentment that I couldn’t get just sitting around my house. So, I started to make the twenty-minute drive there so that I could have some time away from the daily stresses of my life and just breathe.

Something a lot of people know about me is that I struggle with anxiety. Its not exactly something that I hide. I get overwhelmed quickly and the more people I’m around, the harder it is for me to calm down. Finding a space that was my own to mediate and control myself was difficult and for a long time, I wasn’t able to stop my attacks. Once I started to go to my “Happy Place,” I was able to ground myself. I love being around people and I used to hate being alone. But once my problems with anxiety got worse, I realized that surrounding myself with people constantly was detrimental to my mental health.

Spending time at my beach, alone, was hard at first. I almost felt guilty for taking time to myself and for shutting the world out and just being me. Once I appreciated the time I had with myself, I understood that it's normal to need that time to think. And for me, the ocean breeze and sound of the waves crashing along the shore is what allows me to clear my mind and just be in that moment- no distractions, no stress.

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And after I have my “me time,” I’m always able to throw myself back into my life with renewed energy and a better outlook on the newest opportunity life has handed me.

Obviously, my methods won’t work for everyone. But I highly recommend finding a happy place of your own, whether it's to destress, or to have a new place for you and your friends, or anything. Just have a place that is yours and you can enjoy every time you go there.