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On p274 of The Happiness Project, Gretchen speaks of rumination and of how women seem to ruminate more than men. She then brings up the “area of refuge”, which is generally a positive experience (memory or trigger) that you can focus on to bring back positive feelings. And boy, does that sound like an AMAZING idea or what?


I think this is a key lesson for me at this point in my life. When my mindfulness slips; I visualise those conversations with people I feel negatively toward and obviously, focusing on negativity; for me, isn’t healing. At the beginning of this blog, the first entry I wrote (though I didn’t post it), was titled “healing” and I spoke of how I wasn’t sure what was best: remembering the negativity I’ve survived vs the focus-on-positives-only approach. I wrote that “as an individual human being, I’m not sure how to go about healing. Some days, like today: I meet up with friends, try something new and let my hair down to be Rose. Others, I feel that moping and moodling are the day’s prompt: that reflection and analysing the past may be beneficial.

Some believe its good to talk about it, let it out or relive it until it’s less painful. Others talk about the power of focus and bringing about what we think about, intention and being in the present moment.”


Earlier in the book, Gretchen also mentions that not expressing anger leads to dissipation while focusing on it makes it more common. This reminded me of something Havi said about dealing with shoes: (Shoes refer to people saying mean things about you)

“Not interacting with people throwing shoes at me means not having to build all that processing-and-recovery timeinto my schedule. Because even if you delete a shoe, it still hurts.”

I’ve discovered that, for me, not analysing and going with the flow, trusting life to take me where I’m needed – makes me happier. As I know about the law of attraction, the power of language and that our perceptions create our reality (all the stuff I’ve learnt and I feel I could teach), I went with it and made my own Areas of Refugethings I can think of and focus on without any negativity in them.

  1. Pigs   – my partner wants some in our garden once we live together.
  2. Djali (the goat) from the Disney movie “Hunchback of Notre Dame”
  3. Eating Pizza with Aiyana
  4. Making daisy chains with my partner and a friend in Summer 2007
  5. Winning [completing] National Novel Writing Month 2009 with Variations of Light: Time Heals  at 50,123 words in just 29 days
  6. Getting into Sussex University
  7. For doing my Reiki level 1
  8. Co-running SS and CMB societies at University
  9. The Hawk Conservancy
  10. Being at the library with my partner in 2007 [holding hands under the book stands]
  11. The ‘rehab’ section of the 2003 modern take on Pride and Prejudice film
  12. Having my birthday on Lundy Island
  13. Pied Wagtails [who came for breakfast on Lundy- I could have touched them, they were so close]
  14. The Sight/Fell by David-Clement Davies
  15. The Moon Riders/Voyage of the Snake Lady by Theresa Tomlinson
  16. Apple Jjuice
  17. The butterfly pendant my partner gave me after our first month together [I’m very picky with jewellery and he’s always got me PERFECT items ^_^]   ~ Make that any jewellery he’s give me in our three years – the butterfly pendant, a ring, a bracelet and a locket with a lock of his hair in it.
  18. The night in Wales where my partner and I sat talking for hour about everything from dentists to wedding rings to dining room table styles.
  19. Yawning Matches
  20. LOTR
  21. Queen of the Damned

Could you shift your mental focus to increase your happiness?Do you have any areas of refuge?