finding your happy place

I’ve just returned home from a month’s retreat at a lovely and serene wine resort in British Columbia. Somehow, I’d wished I never had to leave this peaceful place, as it was stress free and a place that enriched my soul and rejuvenated my spirit. I was in a truly happy place.

Spirit Ridge

Returning home was not as difficult as I’d feared. Our weather in Manitoba has not been as severe as it could have been for the dead of winter.  We have had a lot of sun this past week, and as I know how much sunshine fuels my spirit, that has been a blessing as well. My husband and cat also seem to have settled back into life in Matlock with ease, so all is well.

It got me thinking about happiness, and how some people search forever trying to find their happy place–whether that be a physical place that they think will make them happy, a certain level of prestige and wealth that they think will bring them happiness, or a certain someone that they they will be the answer to their prayers and the end of any dark cycle they may be going through.

I think we all agree that the song, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams hits the mark on making us feel happy. The beat. The images of people doing joyous things. The encouragement it provides. No wonder this video has had close to 400 million hits!

How do you find your happy place? What do you do to get or be happy?

Please share your thoughts on finding your happy place. We’ve had some amazing discussions on this blog and I’m confident we’re in for another one!



Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

39 Responses

  1. Selena says:

    I enjoy reading a post that makes individuals think. Additionally, thank you for permitting me to comment!

  2. Everyone wants to be happy and as discribed by the author each of us has his/her own “happy place”. It set me to thinking and asking myself where is my happy place. The song lifted my spirits and made me dance – this is one of my “happy places”!
    Sherill Torres recently posted…The Psychology of Coaching Optimists and PessimistsMy Profile

  3. I’m finding this winter tougher than usual, and my mood has been “down” for much of it. Seeing the bright sunshine helps, but not enough to get me outside unless I have a class to teach, or shopping to do. I’ve even had a hard time concentrating enough to write or read. Things are turning around though, and it’s the love of family and support from friends that really is getting me through.
    My “happy place” is home right now. I’m really enjoying just staying cozy and indoors and spending time with my family. So it’s true that home is where the heart is.
    I was so happy to read about your time at Spirit Lodge, and read about the good things happening for “Chocolatour.” You definitely seem to be in a happy place, where ever you are.

    • Thanks so much, Christine. Great to hear from you!

      Yes, the month at Spirit Ridge was absolutely amazing. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

      And yes, when the weather is cold & blustery, and we can’t be ‘away’ … there’s definitely no place better than being snuggled under a blanket at home! 🙂
      WizardOfWords recently posted…the need to rejuvenateMy Profile

  4. lynne says:

    Hi, I think my happy place is walking along the shore at 6 am, very peaceful and quiet, it gives me a feeling of inner most happiness. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Wendy Peck says:

    I found a happy place right here in Winnipeg, Doreen. I had a friend visit from Colorado, one who likes to be busy. I just spent the better part of a week as a tourist in my own town. We went to First Friday, Human Rights, Journey to Churchill, and sprinkled hiking Bunn’s trail and Assiniboine forest, as well as a few great food experiences (Shwarma Khan in the Exchange is shockingly good), some made at home. Plenty of great conversation and some wonderful laughs … everything you need for the best time. I feel like I was the one on holiday and came back to work this morning refreshed and ready to go.
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    • That is so awesome, Wendy! Sometimes we really do need someone with a fresh perspective to make us realize all the great things we may have or have access to. I really need to be a tourist in my own hometown of Winnipeg sometime soon! Thx for sharing your experience with us. 🙂
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      • Wendy Peck says:

        BTW: the paid stuff we did is expensive, but the annual membership for the Human Rights Museum is only $50, compared to $15 for single entry. I was looking at 2-3 visits with friends and family anyway, and wanted access to the Garden of Contemplation (gorgeous rock and water spot with windows everywhere, on the third floor) and the ramps for winter walking.

        The zoo is terribly expensive at nearly $20, but for all of February, if you buy one ticket, it gives you unlimited for the month. I intend to go back at least a few more times. Not only is the tunnel with bears swimming over you magnificent (worth full admission), but the pathways through the zoo are bare. You can have a really, good brisk walk with no ice.

  6. Jay Remer says:

    Great topic, Doreen, and one which we can all benefit from exploring. For me, happiness is found within. It is reflected in the outside world in infinite ways. This a simple, yet elusive concept, and will be discussed in greater detail in two books I am currently writing. One insight for me is to live in the moment and to truly know what I am committed to. Commitments are always to feelings within, not to outside situations. I would suggest to those of you who want to explore this further to have a look at “No Bad Feelings”, by June Graham-Spencer and Jim Spencer, two teachers of mine who helped illuminate my path. Sadly they both died too young, but their legacy lives forever.

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Jay, and for being the first man to join the discussion! I was beginning to think that men didn’t care about finding their happy place or the pursuit of happiness.

      Thx so much for the tips regarding the books from the Spencers. That’s what I love about the community we have developed here. There is a lot of incredible sharing going on! Thx again for stopping by.
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  7. Kathe says:

    Great topic, Doreen. Glad you had such a wonderful month in BC and that your re-entry hasn’t been too difficult.

    I’ve been thinking about happiness a lot lately, too. It is a choice, Pollyannaish as it may seem to say so. I do think that as we get older, we become more able to take the broad view and see just how lucky we are, even if every area of our lives isn’t “perfect.”

    Sometimes I have to remind myself that I carry my happiness with me wherever I go, like a snail. I’ll be moving soon, and that is never fun, but I’m trying to picture myself all settled and cozy in my new place, as I have been where I am now.

    Travel is a great source of happiness, and I will always be grateful to you for making me your first travel companion on the very first Chocolatour trip. We travelled with curiosity, which is another attribute I think makes people happy – open to discoveries and surprises.

    Anne Lamott, one of my favourite authors, has a book called “Help, Thanks, Wow” – which she thinks of as three short prayers. I’m not a person who prays, but I like that. Ask the Universe for what you want/need, say thanks, and never lose your sense of wonder.

    • Thx so much for your comment, Kath. Yes, that month away from the norm was AWESOME. It truly is the 1st time I’ve had a real “time-out” for 20 years! Although I did have to slip in a wee amount of work. But it was all good.

      Yes, I really enjoyed the Chocolatour with you to Europe and thank you for pointing me in the right direction when it came to my research and focus.

      Wishing you all the best in your new digs! I will try and visit this year, as I really should return to Montreal for more Chocolatouring!
      WizardOfWords recently posted…finding your happy placeMy Profile

  8. Ceci Snow says:

    I believe that happiness just ‘is’. I don’t believe we can seek it or force it. I believe it is taking joy in moments as they occur – whether it be just the sight of a deer grazing in a field or a firey sunset assaulting your eyes, or a cheery “love you Gramma” over the phone – those moments of joy are pure happiness as it happens.
    Ceci Snow recently posted…Have you noticed?My Profile

    • Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Ceci. Really nice to have you join the conversation.

      Yes, I think that little bits of happiness are like having the right ingredients for the recipe to overall happiness. It’s not just one thing that creates happiness. It’s a mosaic of all the integral parts of our being.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…finding your happy placeMy Profile

  9. I’m glad you had such a good month in B.C. Happiness is hard to define or pin down, but for me it has to do with the people in my life, gratitude for what I have, being true to myself, working on things I love and things that matter, following dreams, and helping others.
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    • You’re so right, Donna. Happiness is the compilation of a myriad of things that make up our lives. As you’ve mentioned, honesty, gratitude, and generosity are undoubtedly key components to happiness. Thx as always, for sharing your thoughts.
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  10. Jenn says:

    I’m so glad that you found a beautiful place to rejuvenate yourself Doreen and even happier that the transition back was smoother than anticipated.

    I had an amazing experience of a spiritual retreat in Phoenix last year where I practiced self love and gratitude to name a few. Overall, it was a wonderful experience and the time to do what truly made me happy was even more wonderful.
    The transition home was much more difficult than I expected. It was straight back to family life, shift work, and a run around kind of routine. I was attempting to do the practices that I had learnt and was trying so hard to keep my inner peace, that it quickly vanished.
    Life with small children has it’s challenges and sometimes it’s hard to find that happy place when I have a never ending to do list and little time to myself. So what I’ve learnt is that I have to adjust and go deeper within myself to clear space for happiness. To be grateful for little things and take a moment to enjoy them. To go outside everyday and breathe in the fresh air and the beauty that Mother Natire holds. To concentrate on feeling my breath and letting all expectations go. To know that I am good enough. Right here. Right now. And most importantly to love and be open to receive love from those around me. Then I get to my happy place.
    A trip to Bora Bora would also be on the top of my list for true happiness! Or a yoga retreat! Or anyway warm really !

    • Thx so much for your comment, Jenn. How wonderful it is to have you join the discussion. I hear you with respect to family obligations. Mine are at the other end of the age spectrum, but not that different from having a child.

      Maybe we can do a trip to Bora Bora someday together. It’s on my list, too!
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      • Jenn says:

        Yes, family obligations will always be there….what would we do without them really. Our family is part of what makes us who we are and adds leaps and bounds to our growth and happiness!

        Wouldn’t a trip to Bora Bora together be so wonderful ! I’ll keep you posted if the plans go through one day!

  11. Doreen — thanks for this post which really made me think. What makes me happy is to be with my friends and family. I am very blessed to have a large extended family and several very close friends. This is worth more than any amount of money or possessions.
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  12. Welcome back home, Doreen. I’m glad you feel at peace and happy after your time away. It’s always nice to come back home.

    I know you know that ‘happy’ is relative, depending on the person. We see lots of people with more money than they could possibly need in a lifetime, and they aren’t happy. People who have virtually nothing, by North American standards, can be happy.

    Other things, like mental health issues can impact how we feel as well.

    I believe small small acts of kindness can make people very happy. I’ve been doing random acts of kindness daily recently to lift the spirits of other people. It makes me happy too, and it costs me nothing but a little thought and a simple gesture.

    Thanks for sharing your insight and getting you readers thinking about another important topic.

    • Thx so much for your very insightful response, Suzanne.

      I love the idea of doing daily random acts of kindness for others. It always makes us feel good to do nice things for other people. That can’t help but increase your happiness factor!
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  13. Shelley says:

    So interesting Doreen! While I love travelling and don’t do it often enough, I love it even more that I live in my happy place. It was a very deliberately planned and executed move, after much reflection on figuring out where I wanted to be. Hanging out in my wee house in the woods near the lake regardless of season just makes me feel so good. It’s still a work in progress though. Getting here was a huge step. Now I have to shift my work commitments around a bit to make more room for exploring and having fun. That will come, I’m positive.
    A song that makes me happy – the Sound of Sunshine by Michael Franti!

  14. I just came across this excellent article on aging on the Zoomer website at I thought some of you participating in this discussion might find it interesting.
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  15. Hi Doreen, my happy place centers more around who than where. Happy is anywhere I am with my family, friends and my fur kid Samuel or out enjoying time in my yard and garden.
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    • Right on, Susan. Who we are with absolutely helps contribute (or detract from) our level of happiness. When I’m talking about “finding our happy place,” I’m speaking figuratively. And it can be what we’re doing or thinking about, who we’re with, where we are, and other factors that will help ‘take us’ there.
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  16. Jeri says:

    Hands down, my happy place surfaces when I can get out and take a long hike. It’s the best medicine I’ve found for clearing my head. Being tired at the end of a long trek always puts things in perspective.
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  17. Bev Doern says:

    Your retreat sounds amazing! I loved the pictures you shared. I also decided to delve into happiness this year by joining the Facebook group – Year of Happy. Each month has a theme and each week we get a combination of readings, video or ideas to ponder and apply in our lives. January was all about Gratitude and February is looking into Optimism. Being focused on gratitude the last month has been really interesting. I found that I can turn a mood around just by looking for things to be grateful for! I’m grateful for that experience in what is typically the coldest and darkest month of the year!

  18. A.K.Andrew says:

    So glad your return has been relatively painless Doreen. Happiness isbothhard to truly define & say where it’s found. I can find it in a sunny day or being with friends or in the satisfaction of finishing a project. I think the important thing is to really take it where we can bird all a state of mind & occasionally we actually have control over that. Good question!
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  19. Linda says:

    Doreen, glad to know all three of you made it back home safe and sound. I don’t think traveling with a cat would help my happiness factor. At least not with my cat. Despite my best intentions to make her as excited about the prospect of a car ride as most dogs are, I failed miserably.

    I guess my winter time happy place is on a steep mountain with lots of fluffy snow and friends to share the joy with. I know. 😉 If not that, then perhaps curling up with a view of the mountains, a good book and kitty in my lap.
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    • Hi Linda. From your description, I think you’d really like Osoyoos, where we were for our retreat. You have peace and serenity, lovely views of the mountains, orchards, and vineyards, and it’s a pet friendly place! We flew, so the cat didn’t have to endure a long ride. I will write a post about travelling with the cat next time. Thx for sharing your piece of happy. 🙂
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