A Happy Place

Where’s your happy place? Obviously, this is an open-ended question, and the answer is probably different for everyone. One person may think their happy place is a physical or geographic space, while another may have a place that exists only in their mind. And yet for others, it could be certain actions or activities like rolling in piles of cash that make them happy. Perhaps it isn’t so much about what makes you happy or takes you to your happy place as it is to understand if your actions are producing a happy response.


For example, is it the job you’re doing that makes you happy or is it the completion of a task that exceeds expectations, doing a job well done, that provides you that personal satisfaction and gives you that glow of happy? It’s different for everyone!


Not everyone finds happiness in the same things. For some it can be participating in a sport and just their active participation makes them happy. But for others, let’s say it’s playing baseball and you hit a home run. Maybe it’s a good tee shot in a golf game that will bring a smile to your face, but a hole-in-one would make you really happy.


What about when you do something for someone else who doesn’t expect you to be doing anything for them at all? Does the act of being selfless make you happy? For many, a very big source of happiness is seeing the look on someone’s face when they’ve done something positive and unexpected. This can be a very rewarding experience. Some folks have a strong commitment to volunteer efforts. The actions they take in their volunteer efforts can produce positive results for others while at the same time be a very big source of happiness and personal satisfaction.


Volunteer opportunities are very diversified and very easy to locate. There is no shortage of places to volunteer where you can make a real difference in someone else’s life. Whether it’s serving meals at a community kitchen or shelter, volunteering as a driver for seniors who need to get to a doctor appointment, keeping someone company who is lonely or having emotional difficulties, etc. Knowing in your heart and in your head that you’ve made a difference for the better in someone’s day, maybe even someone’s life, can really add to your own personal happiness, and you may not even realize it at the time.


When we do things for others, we sometimes don’t even think about our own happiness because we’re too involved with what we’re doing for someone else. And then when it’s over you feel those washes of satisfaction that you’ve done right for another human being. Maybe it’s another’s expression of gratitude combined with the fulfillment from brightening someone’s day or made someone’s life a little easier can be a very big source of happy.


Finding that level of satisfaction in doing things for others has to come from within. Sometimes, it’s just the simple act in participating in someone else’s betterment that can have a very positive effect on your own happiness.


Over the last few years many corporations have provided time for their workers to participate in volunteer activities. Sometimes this is motivated by a public relations opportunity where everybody from the same office or department goes to the same Senior Center for the day, or participates in a beach or park cleanup. Others allow individuals to choose the activities that matter most to them, optimizing the volunteering experience for their employee.


Whether your employer encourages these activities or not, volunteerism can be fulfilling. When you make the decision to volunteer and do something good for someone else your fulfillment is stronger and your happy place fuller.


Opportunities for volunteerism abound and there are resources online for many organizations that need help. It’s easy to volunteer right in your own community whether it’s tutoring school kids and helping them with their homework, or reading to little kids at a hospital, keeping seniors company, talking to them about their history, escorting someone to the market to shop or run errands. Helping to put meals in front of those with food insecurities and the unhoused are among the myriad opportunities to make the lives of others better. In the process, you add to your own growth, while your positive actions release endorphins that make you feel good about yourself.


When you’re working full time life and work seem like an ordeal. Sometimes, it is difficult to get out of that work headspace and into an entirely different emotional space for the sake of helping others. But volunteerism can provide an entirely new perspective on your own daily actions and activities. And if you’re not employed and you volunteer it can sometimes lead to a real job. Paid positions evolving from volunteer work happen all the time because the decision makers can see first-hand your dedication and skills. A volunteer position might be well worth your investigating if you’re not working.


What takes you to your happy place? I certainly don’t know, but maybe it includes doing something good for others. Maybe it’s time you found out.


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