Happiness is everything. Where there is happiness, everything else is possible and so we asked the community to tell us what makes them happy.

Donna Nazir | Mom, Lover of God, Lover of Life, Small Business Owner

Happiness is like an elusive butterfly. The more you chase it the further it seems to get. If you create a list and wait for things to be perfect before you’re our ego will never allow happiness to enter. The ego always wants more. It’s a game we can never win. Instead I try to seek peace instead. Anything that disrupts my peace I vibrate away from. Living in the now is the where I have found peace. It’s been said that when we live in the past we suffer from depression, when we live in the future we suffer from anxiety. Living in the now is a gift that’s why they call it the present. Making space to just be and not listen to the voices we have been preconditioned as a society to hear, or as a culture, nurturing being still. . In a high stress world that honors titles, realizing you are the being behind the labels, behind the roles, the one behind the voice in your head..Finding that peace in the now is where my soul feels the most complete. Read more>>

Saori Yamashita | Ballerina

Honestly, I make myself happy and I think that’s really important. I love doing what I do and that makes me happy. Dancing makes me happy. Self love makes me happy. It is important to know ways to make yourself happy. To be happy with yourself is an awesome feeling. Read more>>

Michelle Terris | Fashion Photographer & Director

I feel very fortunate because so many things make me happy. 2020 was a tough year, and though I wished at the stroke of midnight in 2021 that Covid would have disappeared, I know 2021 is also going to be tough. These are a few things that have been making me happy lately: being with my husband, taking 7 am work out classes taught by my cousin with some really fun people, mentoring with Las Fotos, my new mattress and air fryer, writing Harry Potter fan fiction (I’m such a dork), dreaming about big production shoots that I’ll someday direct, oh and also daydreaming about going out dancing and being in a room full of people jumping and having a grand old time. Read more>>

Sara Dunne | Vintage Moroccan Rug Shop Owner & Fashion Designer

Beautiful handmade textiles and connecting with people are two things that bring me a lot of joy. I love seeing the human hand in the rugs, noticing all their variants in color, texture, fiber, and thinking about the women who make them. They are handmade and they look like it in the best way. These rugs are works of art, they are full of beauty and creativity and interest. I love when all of a sudden there’s an unexpected shape or color that makes me think that the weaver was exploring, having fun, trying something new. It makes me happy that I get to work with these textiles and share them with others. I love talking to people about them, seeing their reactions and connecting through a shared love and appreciation for the work. Seeing how they transform a space and bring warmth to it and is very exciting for me. The rug dealer I work with in Morocco is a kind, funny, creative person and so I am very happy to work with him. Read more>>

Mary Milde | Content Creator & Business Owner

For me, personally, true happiness is more of a state of mind. I believe, that being truly happy doesn’t mean waiting around or hinging your hopes on something to come along and bring joy to your life, and “to make you happy.” It means taking the time to realize that you’re able of tapping into that state anytime. And if you think about it from that perspective, you start to realize that it is a core to everything, and all of the other things that come to the mind like family, career, financial freedom, health are the greatest bonuses that we get to enjoy along the way. This way if one of them is missing, your happiness wouldn’t be taken away from you. I used to think that happiness is a balance, essentially when you have all your boxes checked, but in fact, it is not. Our lives will never be balanced in the way we envision for them to be. So striving for a complete balance, to me seems to be an attempt to strive for a perfectionism. The word “happiness” for me is also tied very closely to the word “success”. You’re successful to me if you’re truly happy in your life. Read more>>

Siri Kaur | Artist + Photographer

Looking deeply at the everyday beauty of the world! It is endlessly rewarding. Read more>>

Willorna Mendiola-Lara | Intuitive Visual Healing Artist

What makes me happy is creating my art. What makes me happy is witnessing someones own healing. What makes me happy is seeing a loved experience joy. What makes me happy when my little art students are free with their artwork. What makes me happy is the kindness from a stranger. What makes me happy is a friendly smile that says hello. Read more>>

Jarid Blue | Photographer & Artist

Friendship, kind humans, love, accomplishing goals, tidy/organized spaces, animals, live music, going to museums, and playing in the water. Because, why not? I feel like I don’t get to decide what I like. I am just actively seeking out things that bring enjoyment. Read more>>

Payson Lewis | Recording and Performance Artist

These days? Man, I’m just happy to get through the day. But the best ones always include a friend. The past 12 months have made it hard to maintain community, so I’m just thankful for text threads with my guys from elementary school, the times I’m able to work on music with my roommate or remotely with my producer, or a social and masked hike with a friend here in LA. Honestly, these days, any day that I don’t feel lonely is a happy day. Read more>>

Dr, Chevvy Cheung | Psychological Health and Relationship Coach

On a personal level, my sons (3 & 5) bring me the most experiences of joy. Being able to hear and see them laugh, watch them sleep peacefully, read books, ride bikes, play “tag” in addition to supporting their development of and observing the implementation of new skills, discover novel things (while off their screens) and for them to feel secure with their mother and I allows me to the opportunity to feel youthful, energized and at peace. Their curiosity encourages me to continue being curious about the world, my capacity as a father and what it truly means to feel fulfilled. Although being a parent to two little dudes isn’t always easy, they are a constant reminder for me to be present in the moment, truly value the small things (that are actually the big things) and recognize what love and happiness are-on a daily basis. I can’t think of anything more fun than to witness the happiness they give to their grandparents! Being outdoors with my wife and sons is a necessary distraction and break from on-line teaching/coaching and for my older boy-virtual schooling. Read more>>

Eleanor Mahin Thorp | Painter

One of the best things in life is sitting around a table eating with people you love or admire. My systems of support have always brought me great joy. When we can sit in space and share flavors, thoughts, and textures I feel present, blessed, and truly happy. There is always great satisfaction after eating with people where one is full of words and drunkenness, even if no alcohol is present. A table is a place where everyone can distribute stories and knowledge while nourishing the body. My happiest moments have been around a table of food with others. Read more>>

Mindy Lee | Artist

The truth is, I think about what makes me happy and put that into my creations because there are so many times that I am not. Being human can be beautiful but also painful. There are SO many things that make me happy, but there are SOOO many things that make me sad, angry, and even hopeless. BUT my hope is that I can be “happy” and also accept the sad, the angry, and the ugly too. Being happy doesn’t mean you ignore the darkness. So, what makes me happy today? I am most happy today when I can be happy for others. After going through many “WHY ME” moments and feeling even more unseen when others seem to be doing better than me, finding things to keep myself happy to distract myself from those feelings did not last very long. I can keep myself happy in my happy little cave, but I will have to come out one day, and then what? Letting go of your dreams (while witnessing other people living your dream) to reimagine new ones can be painful but also freeing. Read more>>

Linda Wang | Photographer & Someone Who is Still Figuring Out the Rest.

This is a pretty loaded question, that is why I was drawn to it, I suppose. What makes me happy and why. Happiness is a complicated thing because in truth it is only temporary. We as humans reach a temporary state of happiness, however, no one says how long temporary is. There are many things that make me happy, such as; my friends and family, my career, my hobbies, food, and places. All these things can make me happy. The complicated part is probably the why, why shouldn’t these things I enjoy in life make me happy? Does there have to be a specific reason to why each of these things make me happy? I guess I could say this for all of them, I do very much enjoy them. Each one effects my happiness differently. Food makes me happy because not only is it usually delicious but it is also a way to learn something new for me, both as someone who loves to cook and as someone who loves different cultures. Read more>>

Susan Ateh | Breathwork Facilitator

Happiness to me is a choice, something I have to decide and commit to it daily. I derive a lot of joy from being of service, availing of my strengths, my ability to hold space for others so they can process, move through emotional blocks, stress and most of all return home to themselves. It’s such a beautiful experience to witness someone falling in love with themselves and feeling empowered. Read more>>

Kibrom Birhane | Musician

Playing and creating music. Because i see my self all the time never get tired of playing and creating music. Read more>>

Jocelyn & Justine Wong | Food Blogger

Able to eat a lot of great food! Since creating @hangrydiary 5 years ago, Justine and I (Jocelyn) have had the opportunity to feature numerous restaurants we love and share great food with others. Through our journey, we have met many like-minded and talented people in the F&B industry with the same passion for food! Every time we explore a new dish or restaurant we are happy that we get to surprise our palates and share new trends with others. We hope those who have been with us on our food journey feel the same kind of happiness along the way. Read more>>

Ryan Malena Davis | Artist & Director

Forgetting you’re anywhere else but right here, right now. While it’s the elusively magical ingredient that governs an artwork’s interactivity, it’s more importantly what plunges us into the presence of our current reality as it unfolds around us. It’s getting truly lost in the brushstrokes of a piece of art or the sunny simplicity of a walk in the park. It’s the novel that inspires you to change your life, and they are fictional characters that live as meaningfully and tangibly as you and me. Immersion is the same ingredient that makes nightmares terrifying and meditation transcendent. It’s formula and potency are mysteries I will continue to chase and study for the rest of my life, and when I’m immersed in anything, I can’t help but marvel at the masterfully crafted orchestra of sights, sounds, and emotions (whether by coincidence or design) it takes to achieve such a powerfully transportive state. Immersion is from somewhere else, and it perplexes me beyond belief straight into euphoria. Read more>>

Nancy Sevilla | Travel & Lifestyle Blogger

I am generally a happy and positive person — I try to focus on the positive side of things rather than the negative. Happiness comes within, and throughout the years, I have found a few lifestyle changes that have helped me to be happier, and they are: -Writing 3-5 things I am grateful for first thing in the morning. This has helped me appreciate even the littlest things like waking up to a new day or having a roof over my head. -Giving back to my friends, family, and those in need. I am a giver and find joy in giving to others. Surrounding myself with good people. I am so grateful for this! To have very supportive and loving people who always have my back and vice versa. -Having ME TIME! This is so important and much needed! It’s okay to say no, and put yourself first. During my self-care days, I like to meditate, go on solo spa dates, or watch a movie. I try to have “me” days at least twice a week – obviously more now during times like this. Read more>>

Lauren McMahon | Founder of Lunch Unpacked

I love all kinds of puzzles—jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, and business puzzles. I love reading long-form New Yorker articles to get a deep understanding on a narrow topic. I love listening to self-improvement books and podcasts on Audible. And I love taking digital classes to discover new things, like how to harness the power of Google Analytics to drive my business more effectively. Taking in new information and learning new skills bring me tremendous joy. It is no wonder that I found the process of starting a new business to be deeply fulfilling. Everything was new to me. Brand building, website design, digital marketing, and product design were not part of my core skill set. I had to learn all these new skills and, like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle, I had to figure out how to fit the pieces together and make it work. It did not always go smoothly. Sometimes the first solution was not the best solution. But that is what running a business is—a lot of trial and error, a lot of pivoting, and a lot of learning. This journey of personal growth is what makes me happy. Read more>>

Elizabeth Zurita | Photographer, Designer & Marketing Expert

Spending time with family and making memories. I love taking photos so I have memories forever…and who doesn’t love spending time with their family. Read more>>

Alexander Justin Gonzales | Writer Director & Producer

HAPPY- Happiness : ) What makes me happy? Hmmm… sooo many things how to choose just one Film Friends Paint People Stories CAMP Queerness Gayness Extraness Quirks Exaggerations Obsession As a legend once said Feeling down can make you feel up if you’re the creative type. The emotional damage may have already been done to you, but stop whining. Use your insanity to get ahead. Thank you Mr. Waters <3. Read more>>

Carrie Dietz Brown | Painter and Guitar Teacher

Happiness is a pretty exciting thing to try and figure out . surrounding myself with interesting people and art and music has always been my go to. I think facing the darkness and suffering head on and cultivating fortitude also really illuminate the happiness in the normalcy of everyday life. That’s what a lot of my work is about. Read more>>

Paul Heltzel | Hotel General Manager

Being balanced. Whenever I get too caught up in anything–relationships, work, mistakes–I lose my center. My life becomes unbalanced and everything suffers because I’m off. It’s happened more than I like to admit so it’s a familiar feeling. I try to be more mindful these days, so when I feel myself getting caught up & losing that balance, I remind myself to not take everything so seriously. This helps me keep it together and view things more objectively. In turn, it gives me a more measured approach so I don’t get overwhelmed. Read more>>

Jude Allen | Artist, Photographer

Doing photography makes me happy. It pushes me to be more outgoing and social putting me outside and helping me to connect with others in a positive way. It also allows me to be in the moment or zone where I feel more connected and alive. Read more>>

Alice Pero | Flutist, Poet, Poetry Teacher

Helping others create makes me happy. Making art of any kind, dance, music is what I live for. I feel that people become more centered, more in contact with their real selves when they are making their own art. When children learn at an early age to value their own creations, they become better people, even if they do not end up being professional artists. Having confidence in creating gives them self-respect. And when I perform a poem or music, I always hope I can give them some understanding that they have a spiritual life which lifts them out of the ordinary into another realm. There is so much in this material world that is dragging people down, especially now. So anything I can do to bring light to people’s lives, brings light to mine. I think of art as very closely connected to the spiritual life. A photograph I have from my country cottage in New York State illustrates how I feel about art. It is the light shining in the window. The woman paring the apples is me, holding the fruit that will become something far more as it becomes art.(Note: I will attach photo.). Read more>>

Brian Sonia-Wallace | 4th Poet Laureate of the City of West Hollywood

Long walks with a podcast or a friend in my ear. Setting aside time at the beginning of each day for coffee and a book (minimizing social media interruptions!). Preparing meals at the start of the week and keeping a workout regimine. Allowing myself to dream wild about projects. Imagining a better world. Setting detailed budgets and goals for projects (step 2!). The way the light slants through my window at 4pm in LA winter. The sound of trains. Taking care of the problems we bring up in the Zoom meeting during that same Zoom call. Collaborating with other poets and artists and musicians and across disciplines with public health and mental health and urban planning and corporate events folks. Remembering to water houseplants. Remembering to leave the house at least once before it gets dark in quarantine. Diet Pepsi. Jars of oysters. Ben & Jerry’s. Bagels. Discounted rotisserie chickens. Read more>>

Toti O’Brien | Artist, Writer, Performer

Many things make me happy, with different types of happiness… some quieter, some louder. Among the “loud happy,” here are two things that give me an immediate, sharp thrill of exhilaration, which then lasts for hours. One is the sight of wild animals. Not in a wild animal park 🙂 In nature or rather in town, perhaps at its edges, where built and un-built intertwine. Recently, a pair of does playing tag under the oak trees, then a hawk taking a bath and leisurely preening its feathers, made my day. The other cause of instantaneous happiness is to get up and dance. Any social dance, with anyone, possibly someone I don’t know, possibly a lot of different people. Similar result is achieved just by listening to peppy music in my car or in my kitchen, the silliest the best, and dance on my seat or else at the sink . Why. For dancing… well, it’s the closest to flying I have experienced as a human. I know there are other things… like skydiving or surfing… but for me the nearest status to weightless levity is dancing. Read more>>

Jessica Stamm | Registered Dietitian & Mom of 2

In a world where so many things are left out of your control – for example, the entirety of year 2020 – I do believe that it is still a personal, daily choice for you to be happy. I have had many days where happiness was hard to find, but I have quite a few things which always seem to bring me joy when I feel down. What makes me happiest is seeing my family together doing something where everyone is engaged and having a good time. Over the holidays we had fun together cooking new meals, baking cookies and our new favorite at home activity is making mud in the yard and then just going to town playing with it – maybe making a bug home or two 🙂 Sometimes the most happiness is found in the simplest ways! My happiness cup fills up from good conversations with people as well. This one has been much tougher over the last year, but having phone conversations with clients and friends or seeing then via Zoom has actually not been too bad when you can stay in sweats and cozy up by the fire during a chat. Read more>>

The Late Great Charlie Borski | Theatrical Folk Pop Band

The fact that this group of people was able to find each other and create this musical project. Some of our favorite things to do are play live shows to a crowd of smiling people or just jamming together as a band. So, in short, music. Music is what makes us happy. Read more>>