Home/Tag: happy

Do You Know What Makes You Happy?

Let your joy give you wings original artwork by Stephanie Martel. Find 8x10 prints in my shop.

When I was little, I was very good about naturally doing things that made me happy: bike around the neighborhood with my friends, watch my mom dance around the kitchen as she made dinner (and I joined her sometimes), make shoebox dioramas of dream rooms in my dream house and binge eat all the candy I could get my hands on.  These may sound silly, but they filled my heart up to the point of bursting.  I wasn’t trying  to be happy, I just did what felt good.

Now that I’m an adult (well, most times anyway), I realize the things that make me happy aren’t so different from when I was a kid: meet my friends for a bite to eat and catch up on our lives, reminisce about sweet moments spent with my mom, slurp down an icy cold coke with some doritoes and make time for all sorts of creative painting mojo to flow in my art room.

We think we change so much as we get older, but we don’t really change all that much on the inside.

And when I periodically tune in to my inner compass to help me figure out what makes me happy, it keeps bringing me back the things I loved to do as a child.

It happened again this past Sunday.  It was gorgeous out–I woke up to the sound of Chris grinding his coffee beans and the birds chirping in the backyard.  The morning was full of my favorites:  buckwheat banana-walnut pancakes drizzled with maple syrup, whole-hearted conversations with people I love and an uninterrupted session of playing + painting in my studio.  My heart was exploding that day because  I was tapping into the main things that make me happy: connecting with others, enjoying amazing food and expressing myself.

It wasn’t until later I realized that I was practicing all of my childhood favorites.  I was feeling so connected, so understood and so calm.

I thought, I need to do these things everyday.  We all need to do things everyday that make us happy.

What if you’re not sure about what makes you happy?  Here are a few quick questions to help you figure out those happy points:

  1. What are the things you think about when you have a few moments of free time? (What do you day dream about?)
  2. If you had a day to do anything that didn’t involve obligations to anyone else (parent, job or partner responsibilities), what would you do?
  3. What was your favorite thing to do as a child?

These dream scenarios are your happy activities.  Whether they’re a hobby, a hope or just something that you want to try, you can incorporate them into your life in some way.  Not sure where to begin?  Just start digging or ask someone for help.

And in case that little guilt monger is creeping in about hording ALL the happiness, just let that go.  I’m not talking about being indulgent or about always being ‘blissed out’,  it’s more about  incorporating simple things in your everyday life that keep you in your natural, joyful state.  It’s about finding and following your special flow.

Have you found what makes you happy?  I’d love to hear about it here.





(Artwork by me)

Do You Know What Makes You Happy?2018-03-29T20:23:14-04:00

Share your Joy. {We Want to Hear About It.}

I was out with a group of women recently and the conversation shifted to one who just got engaged. As we dug into the details of the day and all of the glorious trappings of it, I couldn’t help but notice how she was tempering her excitement and downplaying the whole thing. “I don’t want people to think I’m bragging” she said to me later. “I remember what it felt like to be single and I don’t want to make any of my single friends feel bad.”

As one of those single friends, I really wanted to hear about her happiness. There’s something contagious about someone who is beaming pure joy; it’s catchy and I wanted some of it.

But I understand what she was saying. On one hand, no one likes a bragger. On the other hand, she was experiencing an amazing time of her life–if you don’t scream for happiness about this sort of thing, when do you? It got me thinking:

When did being happy become taboo?

Share your joy

I recognize that she was coming from a place of sensitivity. And that’s so considerate of her! But like my mom always said, there’s enough happiness to go around. There’s no limit on how much happy one person can experience + they can’t use it all up. We can all win.

And downplaying your happy doesn’t increase mine, it just decreases yours.

We don’t have to degrade wonderful moments so that others won’t feel inadequate or jealous. I get it–we’ve all felt jealous at some point of someone else’s good fortune; but tempering joy isn’t helpful.  In fact, quite the opposite is true. Feeling the full throttle of elation for your own life encourages others to do the same for theirs.

So let’s get back to basics, increase our overall joy and encourage others to do the same.  Here are some simple steps to do that:

  1.  Choose happiness.  It sounds simple, yet we forget that happiness is a choice.  There is a silver lining to every cloud.  Start cultivating a habit that always looks for the best in all things.  When you approach life this way, happiness becomes the norm.
  2. Stop comparing.  If you encounter someone that has what you want, remember that by virtue, the yearning you have was put there for a reason.  Your wanting and searching for it, means it was meant to be in your life in some way.  Be gracious.  Know your time is coming.
  3. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  When you’re aware + grateful of all of the wonderful things in your life, it’s easy to be happy.  Make a list of all of these amazing things and reflect on it regularly.  It’s tough to be down when you’re feeling like a rockstar.
  4. Be the pied piper.  Moods are contagious so bring your happiness with you wherever you go.  Share your joy.   You can be an inspiration to others and create an environment that is fun and joyful.  You just might be that spark to give others permission to ignite their own happiness.

Next time someone starts leaning in to a joyful story, give them permission to wallow in that happy space.  When they try to divert to the negative parts or shut it down, encourage them to stay present and share more of their elation.  It gives everyone permission to feel good, then we all win.  And that’s the best reason to be happy.






Share your Joy. {We Want to Hear About It.}2018-03-29T20:23:16-04:00

Slowing Down, Trusting Magic + Reasons To Be Happy: The March Wrap-Up

Do what you canThere Are So Many Things To Be Happy About. {Here Are Mine.}

I recently took a look at the big picture of my life.  The main thing I noticed?  There’s a lot to be happy about.  I zoomed out from looking at the minutiae of everyday life + those details that weigh me down from seeing the big picture–it was such a good lesson to recognize the amazing treasures that exist in my world.

I would love to say that recognizing the parts of my life that I am happy about, makes me feel accomplished and whole: but ah, the contrary, my friend.  There is so much more I want to do… Read More


Joy is what happens to usDon’t Delay Your Joy. {My Life Lesson From a Baby Ruth.}

I have a pretty fantastic sweet tooth. Candies, cookies, cakes? I love them all.  I grew up in a house where fruit loops didn’t exist and white bread was junk food–we ate shredded wheat and whole grain bread, so that may explain some of my sugar obsession.

As a kid, Halloween felt like pre-Christmas.   And I was surprisingly disciplined about eating my loot–I rationed it so I could extend my sugar happiness as long as possible… Read More


sunriseLink Love + Slowing Down

This weekend I tried to slow down.  Sounds easy enough, right? But for someone who’s constantly on the go, making lists, checking things twice, it can be a real challenge.  I know that slowing down is the best thing for me to do, especially when I start to feel overwhelmed… Read more




Art In Progress: Trust The Magic

Art In Progress

So here’s the beginning–I was obsessed with that aquamarine blue color as a child and something about it makes my heart leap a little, still.  I always liked the “blue-green” color in the crayola box (not to be mistaken for green-blue, of course).  The things you remember from childhood are so funny.  I just threw some colors on the canvas to get something going… Read More






Slowing Down, Trusting Magic + Reasons To Be Happy: The March Wrap-Up2018-03-29T20:23:18-04:00

There Are So Many Things To Be Happy About. {Here Are Mine.}


What are you happy about these days?  Sometimes it's as simple as writing things down and becoming more aware.  Click through to see my personal tips for seeing the happy in my own life.

I recently took a look at the big picture of my life.  The main thing I noticed?  There’s a lot to be happy about.  I zoomed out from looking at the minutiae of everyday life + those details that weigh me down from seeing the big picture–it was such a good lesson to recognize the amazing treasures that exist in my world.

I would love to say that recognizing the parts of my life that I am happy about, makes me feel accomplished and whole: but ah, the contrary, my friend.  There is so much more I want to do.  Taking inventory reminds me that life is short and my list is long!  But this sort of checking in is a necessary exercise in declaring small victories along the way.

Celebrating what is rather than what’s not, builds momentum.

Recognizing the joy as it happens makes it easier for me to acknowledge those wonderful moments of joy when they happen again.

Here are some of the things I’m happy about (maybe you can relate these happy spots to your life, too):

I have some amazing family and friends in my life.  My connections are strong and that’s a vital and necessary component for me; it is where my happiness stems from.  My mom was a positive thinker and she passed that along to me (thank god!) So when the chips are down, I lean in to my tribe and they gracefully hold me until I’m ready to give it another go.

I am a healthy, able-bodied woman.  I workout about 5 times a week.  I went through a spell of some tough luck with my health–one of the rough times was when I had to have surgery half way around the world.  After returning home, I was bedridden for a couple of months. Yes, months.  It was a big fat wake up call to appreciate the power of my body and to always nurture it in some way.  I have never taken my health for granted since.

I have all of my basic needs met.  I don’t struggle with feeding or clothing myself; I lead a simple lifestyle, but one that affords me fun and relaxation.  I learned long ago that experiences and people make me happy, not things.  Because of this, I am able to focus on moments rather than chasing after a car or designer bag or whatever.

I have deep stirring desires + goals I want to accomplish.  I am motivated by my art and the people I share it with; I am head over heels in love and look forward to creating a family of my own; I find writing on this blog to be such a freeing process; I am inspired by the process of life and all of the changes we go through along the way.  All of these things get me out of bed, make me keep trying and learning in my everyday life.

Inspiration is an amazing motivator.

After my stroll down appreciation lane, I realized this: I am happy by choice.  My life is far from perfect–I have gone through some disastrous times in my life just like everyone else.  I lost my mother at a fairly young age, I had a brush with death in India and I’ve endured some heartaches and all around crappy times.  But you know what?  Through it all, I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel because nothing lasts forever.  Knowing that the good stuff was right around the corner was enough to get me through.

As a result, I give myself the permission to be happy.  I am committed to seeing the bright side in any situation.  There is no more self-deprication to make others feel better (that doesn’t work anyway) or looking for the ‘catch’ when it seems too good (sometimes it’s just a good thing!)  Part of being happy is accepting those magical moments of life when they happen and enjoying them to the fullest.  I choose to look at life through rose colored glasses and it’s made all the difference.

What are you happy about these days? Make a list of 5 things and stick them on your bathroom mirror for the next week so you see them as you start and end your day. You are sure to view your life in a different light when you focus on what is working.





There Are So Many Things To Be Happy About. {Here Are Mine.}2018-03-29T20:23:19-04:00
Go to Top