What being happy means to you in the UAE

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Nicole Adoranti, Canadian, Abu Dhabi

What makes you happy?

My family, belly laughing with friends, a sense of belonging, of being at home in my body no matter where I am in the world. Moving around as an expat forces you to find ways to feel comfortable and find moments of joy in the chaos. I teach yoga and Pilates, and finding a career that I love makes me so happy.

Do you believe you are a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty-type of person?

Definitely half-full, but I have ­moments where the glass is totally empty. I think it’s normal to fluctuate between the two.

How do you measure happiness?

It is not something that can be bought. I recently lived on a tiny island in the South Pacific, and I had moments of feeling such joyful abundance and wealthier than I ever did before, and it had nothing to do with money and material things. I felt healthy in my mind and in my body, was able to work in a job I love and be surrounded by unparalleled natural beauty and a circle of amazing friends who I now consider family. So I measure happiness by the moments where I feel my heart might burst from joy.

What would make you happier?

If those around me had those heart-bursting moments, too. I wish for everyone to have more of it.

Magdalena Downarowicz, Polish, Abu Dhabi

What makes you happy?

For me, happiness means constantly growing as a person, which I believe is a sense of our existence. All of us have strengths and weaknesses that we should be overcoming. And I never compare myself to others. My life is my journey, and I focus on making it great instead of wasting time on envy.

Do you believe you are a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty-type of person?

I’m the half-full one – almost every negative situation can be turned into something positive or at least become a lesson.

How do you measure happiness?

That’s a difficult question. I think looking back from time to time, and seeing the improvement, gives me the feeling of ­satisfaction.

What would make you happier?

Rather impossible to come true: but that common sense were common and “easy” stopped being synonymous with “good”.

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Joleene Bromley, American, Abu Dhabi

What makes you happy?

Life makes me happy. Waking up and seeing the sun shining in my windows makes me happy. Seeing joy in another person makes me happy. Giving makes me happy.

Do you believe you are a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty-type of person?

Definitely a glass-half-empty from the view point of there is ­always more to be added. More to experience. More to learn. More to love. There is always room for more. Life never stops pouring its excitement out.

How do you measure happiness?

If I go to sleep at night knowing I made someone smile, gave someone joy, caused someone to think their own life is worthwhile, with that, I can measure my own ­happiness.

What would make you happier?

If everyone I loved and cared about could be joyfully fulfilled and rich in love ... how could I want more?

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Desiree Baker, Pakistani, Abu Dhabi

What makes you happy?

Love, self-satisfaction and family makes me super happy. I believe true happiness is love. Love doesn’t come easily – just like everything else in life, it needs to be earned with trust, kindness and selflessness.

Do you believe you are a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty-type of person?

I wouldn’t say I’m either. I would, however, say I feel I’m a glass-­almost-half-full. I have a lot more to grab in life to fill it up, and I guess it’s going to take the rest of my life to do that. Every day has something new to offer.

How do you measure happiness?

I don’t have a measurement on happiness, but I feel the happiest when I help others and put a smile on their faces. My happiness lies in prioritising the needs of those close to my heart.

What would make you happier?

Being an animal activist and rescuer, saving more animals and being a part of more rescues would make me happier.

Dr Sara Al Awadhi, Emirati, Global Happiness volunteer, Dubai

What makes you happy?

Alhamdulillah [thanks be to God], always and for everything.

Do you believe you are a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty-type of person?

A bit of both, more [of a] half-full-type of person. Being a human means we also do get sad and find some things negative, but I try to look at the positive parts of things. Also, when I start to think that God is with us all times, it gives me a sense of happiness.

How do you measure happiness?

There are many measures of happiness. Here is how I tend to measure. First, happiness is working for what you wish to get and getting it finally. Second, happiness is being with the people you love and admire. Third, happiness is really related to thanking God for all His blessings and all the harm He took away from us.

What would make you happier?

Being more with happy, positive people.