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15 Ways to Cultivate Happiness

By Sarah Pendrick

True happiness is living a life full of meaning, and only you can decide what truly means something to you. When you are pursuing anything that has meaning, there will always be some struggle. It’s with that struggle that you either create more fear or you bravely conquer it and build feelings within yourself that create things you can be proud of.

  1. Confront your negative feelings. When you confront your negative feelings head-on, you are confronting your fears and letting go of what is not serving you.

  2. Do things that make you happy. To create lasting happiness, you have to practice doing things that create little pockets of happiness, like shopping or going skiing, or going to the beach.

  3. Cultivate your purpose. When you find what you are passionate about, pursue that. Part of being happy is living a life full of purpose and part of doing that is doing things that bring out the spark inside of you. Only you know what creates meaning for you in your life and what sparks your passion.

  4. Know your values. Part of loving yourself is knowing who you are at the core. As I’ve said before, your values are constantly evolving as you are and it’s important to check in with them and know what they are. When you know what your values are, you are clear on what you want.

  5. Spend time doing the things you value. If you value your family, spend more time with them. If you value expression, do the thing that allows you to express yourself freely. When you honor something that has deep meaning for you, you are giving yourself the space to know more about yourself and what is important to you.

  6. Practice shifting negative thoughts into positive thinking. Thoughts have a powerful way of creating our realities and when we stay in a negative funk, we are not allowing opportunities and positive things to enter our lives.

  7. Build more small moments of presence. The more you practice grounding yourself by taking time to breathe or creating a visual cue for being present, the easier it will be to turn these into habits.

  8. Actively listen. Listening with the intention of responding will just create a mountain of anxiety about what you are going to say or create tons of swirling thoughts about how you will respond instead of giving yourself the chance to respond from your truest self. When you practice actively listening, not only are you respecting the other person, but also you are giving yourself the chance to speak from the heart, so you can have a more meaningful conversation.

  9. Say positive affirmations to yourself with feeling and repetition. Believe and feel what you are saying about yourself so that you can cultivate a loving relationship with yourself. When you believe in yourself, you are unstoppable.

  10. Take conscious control of what you expose your mind and body to. Feed your body nutritious foods and expose your mind to empowering thoughts and ideas. Practice being thankful, listen to uplifting audiobooks, and say positive affirmations to yourself.

  11. Visualize your dreams. By visualizing your desires, you are putting them out into the universe and one step closer to creating the reality you envision.

  12. Make visualizing your goals a habit. If you do this for yourself often, you will always be able to manifest what you want out of life. At the very least, you will always cultivate confidence and allow yourself to receive the gifts of the universe.

  13. Create meaningful intentions for yourself. To manifest what you want, first, you have to be clear about what it is that you want and be as specific as possible about your desires.

  14. Rescript past memories. Again, I do recommend doing this with the help of a professional, but there are ways for you to start doing this. Be the person that you needed at the moment and recreate your memory for healing.

  15. Show up for yourself. Be the person that you wished someone was for you when you were younger. Be the person that you are to your loved ones when they need you. When you show up for yourself, you are showing yourself ultimate kindness and love.


Excerpted from Beautifully Brave by Sarah Pendrick, © 2021. Used with permission from Rock Point, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group. Learn more at


Sarah Pendrick is the founder of one of the original women-supporting-women movements, The GirlTalk Network (originally GirlTalk LA) and the other leg of their 501c3 Foundation. Her mission is to empower women of all ages while serving as a resource for young women. Sarah is a self-love advocate, community influencer, life coach, writer, empowerment speaker, and philanthropist. With a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in family therapy, Sarah developed a famous women’s event that benefits a custom empowerment program for young women. She travels all over the United States to speak to women and provides them with support, education, and empowerment.

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