My therapist likes to talk about constellations. She says we all have constellations around our feelings—things that trigger those emotions. She draws a circle in the middle of a piece of paper and writes happiness or love or anxiety or fear in the middle. And then she draws other orbs, smaller and larger, orbiting the center orb. And they each get their own labels: smells and sounds and tastes and sights and feelings that trigger and orbit the larger emotion.
For example, for me, peace is orbited by the smell of eucalyptus and spearmint. It relaxes me utterly. Peace is also orbited by hot baths, children’s books, the sound of old Loveline episodes (from the Adam Carolla days).
And then there’s love. In my love constellation, you’ll find human touch (even hugs from strangers make me feel cared for), the faintly earthy scent of Luna, the taste of chives.
And in my anxiety constellation, you’ll find coffee, horror films, and anything to do Peter Pan or Tinkerbell. Sad, but true.
I’ve been defining my constellations lately, mapping them out. Being intentional about surrounding myself with sleepy puppy noises and loveline episodes, hot baths and clean smells. And when I started to define my happiness constellation, I thought that even better than making a cloud map or a list would be to collect photos. Photos of happy places, happy memories, happy things. Anything and everything that makes me smile.
I thought I’d share a few of them with you. Because maybe they’ll make you smile too.
Without further ado, then:
What’s in your happiness constellation?