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Searching for that happy place

We all need a happy place, or at the very least can benefit from one — or a dozen. Take your pick.

You don't have to limit yourself to just one happy place. Go ahead; grab a few. They're free!

A happy place doesn't have to be a place, per se, but it can be. It is a state of mind sometimes brought on by a physical location, but it can be achieved by any number of conditions: country music, classical music, hard rock, a lullaby, complete silence.

The scent of lavender or freshly cut grass. A hot bath. A cool rain. Cream in your coffee or atop a bowl of blueberries. A big juicy steak. Chocolate. A glass of champagne.

Standing in the middle of a field of wheat. Standing in the middle of Times Square. Closing your eyes and remembering your wedding day, the birth of your child or whatever memory brings you the most joy. Organizing the junk drawer or cleaning the fridge.

Going on vacation. A place that feels like home. The comfort of your own bed.

Your happy place can be found in total solitude or when you are in a room full of people. Or both.

Floating in the boat in the middle of the lake. Dipping your toes off the dock. The sunrise. The starry sky at night. A full moon. A hug from your honey. An "I love you" from your teenager. A slobbery kiss from your pooch. A baby's smile.

There are as many happy places as there are people. Because no two of us are exactly alike, neither are our happy places. That's part of the beauty of a happy place; it is yours and yours alone.

A happy place allows you to shut out the noise and chaos and unrest of the world and replaces them with warm fuzzies in your gut and a sense of quietude in your brain. It silences the sirens and discards the discord to help you find your own personal stamp of serenity.

It can help you escape from whatever it is that troubles you. Or, it can enhance an already serene and peaceful situation. It can boost joy. It can make the bad better and the good greater, depending on the day and your needs.

It is a place where the world stops — even just for a moment — and you continue breathing and the air feels right, in your lungs and all around you.

Sometimes your happy place simply descends upon you like a warm blanket on a cool night. Sometimes a happy place just happens. That's usually how it starts.

But your happy place does not have to be a passive state of being. With practice, you can summon yours from anywhere, at any time, because a happy place is a state of mind.

A happy place is a choice that comes from within us. We may think it is a place, or a scent or an experience, or a memory, but in its most basic essence, a happy place isn't really a place — or a thing — at all. It isn't tangible. It just is — hanging out somewhere inside us waiting for us to allow it to bloom like a flower opening its blossom.

How awesome is that?

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

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