The Cultivate an Exceptional life Podcast is where Leisa Watkins uncovers stories, strategies, and resources designed to inspire and encourage you to cultivate better health, more happiness, and joy, despite the challenges life throws in our path.


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Many people come to believe very early in life that life is a game they can’t win. They spend the rest of their lives collecting “evidence” to prove why they don’t deserve to be happy or that I can’t be happy because “this happened” to me. They spend time thinking about their failures. Thinking about what isn’t working in life.

You know what! It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Unhappiness is a result of those thoughts.

Your happiness is not based on how much you have, how much you do, or how many degrees you have.  It isn’t really even based on one’s life experiences, though creating more of the types of experiences you want to have can help.  

Happiness is not magic.

It doesn’t belong to a select few.

Happiness is not a result of an event.

Your happiness stems from a set of  beliefs – your beliefs.

Sure, I could have decided that I should be unhappy because I was diagnosed with MS, because I was raped, because I had faced financial ruin, etc.

But I could also decide that I despite these things, I can truly be happy. 

Since unhappiness comes from a set of beliefs that we learn and perpetuate, isn’t it logical to you that we can become happier by challenging and changing those beliefs? And… Couldn’t you become happier by just choosing happiness?

  • If you want to be happy, you first have to entertain the possibility that you can be.
  • Recognize that happiness is a state of mind.
  • Recognize that Happiness in an Option – Then Choose to Be Happy.

[bctt tweet=”Recognize that Happiness in an Option – Than Choose it. ~ Leisa Watkins” username=”leisawatkins”]

Now I realize that this is something that can be hard to understand, especially when one is stuck in a state of unhappiness. Moving from a state where you experience a lot of negative emotions like anxiety and depression to happiness requires commitment and courage and strategies and even perhaps some supplements. 

Now I realize that this is something that can be hard to understand, when you’re stuck in a state of unhappiness. Moving from a state where you experience a lot of negative emotions like anxiety and depression to happiness requires commitment and courage and strategies.

Infographic with 6 Strategies to Create More Happiness

Here Are a Few Strategies that Can Help You Create More Happiness in YOUR Life


Make a Conscious Choice to Feel Happy

My mom always said, “Anyone can think their way into depression.”  She’s right.  If you dwell on what is wrong with your life you can make yourself miserable. If you dwell on what is right in your own life you can feel happiness. Remember, happiness is a choice and is that choice is there for you to choose at any moment. Happiness is an option – choose it! Anyone can claim happiness. When faced with negative thoughts turn them around. You can even tell yourself something like this:

“Even though I am “negative evidence” I choose to be happy.

It may look like this: “Even though I am separated from my children I choose to be happy. I choose to focus on all the fun times we had together.”  Then think about the happy times.

Focus on those events and times when you felt blissfully happy. Recall those memories, feel them, remember how you felt and feel it again in this moment. Remembering Easter morning Easter egg hunts with my young children can instantly put a smile on my face.  Recalling the breathtaking views our family experienced at Zions National Park can bring me instant happiness and feelings of awe. Remember, happiness is a state of mind that is always with you and available for the choosing.

Focus on What’s Working

Thinking about the dark times in my life I instantly feel depressed. Choose to think about the positive moments happening your life now. It’s all about your focus. Focus on happiness!  You know the phrase, “I’ll be happy when…”.  People who believe this find that happiness eludes them.  Change that believe to “I am happy now.” Look for all the evidence in your life of what is working now.  Look for Happiness in the Now Here is what that may look like:

  • “I am so happy I have a nice air-conditioned car to drive to work in.  There are plenty of people out there who don’t have a car. I am so blessed to have one.”
  • “I am so happy I get to walk to work. I am able to see things like the sunrise that other in a hurry miss. And I get to enjoy that sunrise while getting in some exercise.”
  • “I am so happy that I have such a wide selection of clothing to choose from each morning.  I am so lucky to have so many options to choose

One tool to help you make that shift is a Gratitude Journal. Get one and use it. List three items each day that you are grateful for. You’ll soon see plenty of evidence stacking up on why happiness is a great option for you. Look for things in every situation to be grateful for even if it is a major change. If you have left your job, look at it as an opportunity to start anew. If something has broken down, seek to see if the new repair will enhance your home and make it more valuable regardless of the fact that you may spend a few dollars now; you may make your home more enjoyable.

Take Responsibility for Your Own Happiness

Think about what happy feels like, what happy looks like, and how happy shows up in your life. Now create more of those types of events.

  • If you are happy hiking – go hiking more.
  • If you are happy painting – paint more.
  • Buy yourself flowers for your desk.
  • Post quotes that inspire you where you can see them regularly.

Happiness is created.  Be deliberate and thoughtful about your own happiness.

Recall Fond Memories

By recalling fond memories in a moment where you are angry is a great way to pull you into a state of happiness when you are at  a dark place. However, this works best when you find yourself angry for too long. If you are angry for too long, it is best to sit with yourself or remove yourself from your house and go for a walk. Sit quietly or walk while clearing the clutter of your mind. Recall a time when you were truly satisfied and blissful. Hold that and let the current situation dissipate knowing that this too shall pass.


Smiling and laughing, according to some research is good for your health. Endorphins are released when you smile and laugh and those endorphins are a happiness drug for your mind. So go ahead, rent that movie, watch those funny online videos. Have a belly laugh and a good chuckle and smile even though you may not really feel like it at the moment. It will do your body and your mind a world of good.

Get Off the Pity Train

People feel sorry for themselves because it is comfortable and familiar. In fact, sometimes it feels good to feel sorry for yourself because you are putting the blame for your life on external forces. Self-pity justifies not taking action when taking action would be difficult, stressful, and where it could lead to failure. But the truth is, you can’t feel happiness feeling sorry for yourself. And it is up to you to work with what is going on in your life and work with what is going on to create happiness.  Getting rid of self-pity is an essential step in taking responsibility for one’s own happiness. Stop focusing on what other people have and focus on what you have. Look for the slightest of things in the mundane and every day such as a flower, running water, your dog jumping for joy as you walk in the door. Anything that can make you smile, is worth thinking about because in the end it will help you to create a little happy. And, a little happy goes a long way.   What are you going to do today to create more happiness in your life? Share what you’re going to do in the comments below.