There's an abundance of quotes about happiness on my Instagram feed and while some are cliché, others totally hit home. Happiness is something I aspire to on a daily basis, and thought I would ask some of the people in my life for their perspective on how they maintain happiness in theirs. Here are the different mantras that we live by, starting with mine.
"I'm happiest when I have things to look forward to. I've been like that since I was young and always find comfort in knowing there are little moments to be excited about each day: trying out a new pancake recipe on a Sunday morning, a rainy weather forecast (that's the Northern-California-girl-living-in-LA part of me), an afternoon with a girlfriend and zero plans. But I've also found that those smaller things actually add up to the bigger moments in my life that make it whole: the smell of Sloan's hair when she first wakes up, when G makes a joke I find uncontrollably hilarious, the sound of the doorbell chiming when my parents arrive from out of town. It's those little moments where I find the most happiness and knowing that the next one is just around the corner."
Cristina Thompson, Sales Exec
"You can’t will happiness. Like anything else worthy, it takes effort. I am not necessarily claiming it’s a choice you make every day but I do believe it’s something you work toward every day. For me, happiness is not a fleeting sentiment. It’s a deep-rooted state of mind that can’t be shaken or destroyed by a single circumstance. The happiness I seek won’t overwhelm me like a wave and won’t abandon me on a bad day. Happiness isn’t like water in a well, getting lower as you use it up or conversely tapping cheerful moments to replenish the bucket to its brim.
I actually find it difficult for people to accurately report their own levels of happiness. I have sometimes craved some sort of litmus test: a single indicator to let you know if you are happy or not. My daily "happiness practice" usually involves an active pursuit of cementing positive memories, expressing gratitude and showing kindness or affection demonstratively, and with all of my senses. Happiness requires sacrifice, struggle and strength but ultimately, happiness is directly correlated to meaning. My inexpert advice would be to let happiness in, recognize it when it’s there but don’t hold on to it with a death grip. It’s an ebb and flow – you can only identify happiness when you have felt moments of unhappiness. Maturity has taught me that there is no one cure for unhappiness… no panacea. It's a methodical process to return to a happy state. I also would say to smile. Apparently even science says it helps your happiness quotient."
Joanna Goddard, Writer at Cup of Jo
"It's easy to look at Instagram photos and assume everyone has a perfect life — all sunny afternoons and brownies with a bit of sea salt. So when you're stuck at work, or feeling like a hot mess, or dealing with crying kids, or struggling with big life questions, or grief, or doubt, you can feel like something is wrong with you. But! Nothing is! Everyone goes through big ups and downs, and it's actually a good thing. Says author Hugh MacKay: "Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for... I'd like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word 'happiness' and to replace it with the word 'wholeness.' Ask yourself, 'Is this contributing to my wholeness?' and if you're having a bad day, it is." Here's the full quote, which I find enormously inspiring, and, honestly, a bit of a relief."
Alli Webb, Founder of Drybar
"My mantra is: "Be the best version of you." This is something I tell myself often, especially when I'm feeling envious of something someone else has. As a young girl growing up, it took me a long time to find my voice and my own personal confidence. In the last 5 years or so I have really come to accept (and like!) all sides of myself. I've also learned the very tough lesson that we each have the power to be great in our own way. I'm so proud of my children, the business my family and I have built together, and the life I live. Yet, I still find myself always wanting to be better, to work harder, strive for greatness and ultimately be the best version of me, just me."
Naomi Davis, Writer at Love Taza
"A lot of things can make me happy in the moment, but I'm truly happiest is when I'm spending time with my family. It's often not doing anything too elaborate, either. The little things eventually are the big things, or are at least the things that matter most. Every moment with loved ones isn't always bliss, but investing in these important relationships before anything else, can pay off in the most meaningful ways."
Meaghan Curcio, Publicist
"As simple as it is, I truly believe the key to happiness is laughter. I keep thinking that I should have a mantra or something to tell myself that helps me have some perspective, but I honestly think the most grounding thing for me is to never forget to laugh. The craziest thing is, is that there are definitely days when it can be hard! My son recently starting watching Peppa Pig (a show on Nick Jr.) and I've also become obsessed with it for a few reasons, but the most important one being that at the end of every single episode, Peppa and her family fall down laughing together. It's such a simple idea, but it's such a nice reminder to me (and my son!) that even on the days when it's hardest to see a silver lining, if you can end it laughing with the ones you love most, it will carry your heart so far."
Amber Lewis, Founder of Amber Interiors
"My happiness mantra is to LET IT GO! It's cheesy I know, but I have the tendency to majorly obsess over things. Obsess over how well I am doing as a mom, what people think of my designs, how I am handling the rapid growth of my small business, or even small superficial things like 'Oh my gosh, did my clients notice that I had lettuce in my teeth during that important meeting?'
Over the last year I have made an effort to just let it all go and try to channel my obsessive tendencies toward the things I have control over, which honestly I have learned, is not much. Accepting that I am powerless to various aspects of my life or the lives of others has made my days a little less heavy and helped me focus on the things I can control, such as how I react to situations, or how I conduct myself to set positive examples for my daughter."
Diana Ryu, Editor at Cupcakes and Cashmere
"My mantra is a tiny poem I first read in college by Mizuta Masahide.
“Barn's burnt down --
I can see the moon.”
What the poem means is that even if my barn is on fire, and the world around me may seem like total calamity, there is always an upside. The barn is gone, but hey, now I can see that big, bright, ever-present moon."
Geoffrey Fuller, my husband and business partner
I used to conflate the concepts of satisfaction and happiness, but as I've gotten older, I've learned there's a vast difference in how each of those feelings are created. I usually feel satisfied by accomplishing a goal, or earning something through hard work, but that process doesn't necessarily make me happy. I find true happiness not by earning something, but by giving; whether it's spending quality time with my family, or providing help to a close friend, the act of giving to others is what creates happiness and when it's reciprocated, that's simply icing on the cake.
Phoebe Dean, Art Direction at Cupcakes and Cashmere
"I'm most happy when I feel busy and fulfilled. Whether that is going to a Pilates class, planning a trip or just meeting up with friends for a drink - I love feeling like I have a well-rounded life. But, my boyfriend jokes that a cookie is my number one cure-all. Which (unfortunately) is very true."