In 2008, West Virginia was in the 49 position for health/happiness. Since that time, West Virginia has ranked 50, thus causing the state to be labeled as the “least happy” state in America. Margie Carson, founder of the Happiness is a State of Mine initiative, was a guest on The Positively West Virginia Podcast hosted by Jim Matgua. On this podcast, Carson and Matuga talked about why she started this initiative and her plans for the future.

Happiness is a State of Mine Initiative

A fan of Happiness is a State of Mine

How did the Happiness is a State of Mine initiative start?

In 2016, Carson was discussing the Gallup Poll Healthway study that had just been released, and West Virginia was once again in last position for health and happiness. A friend, knowing her son had a t-shirt business, suggested a shirt be made with the state on it and the words, “Happiness is a state of mind.” Carson told her son about the suggested shirt, and he promptly said, “Change one letter and have the message be, ‘Happiness is a state of mine.'”

Carson needed no further convincing. She immediately applied for a trademark and began having shirts made with this positive message.

What’s the best thing about being in business in West Virginia?

“I think we’d all agree the people here are probably the best asset for West Virginia,” Carson said.

We can all agree the people of West Virginia are hard working and love this great state. They are willing to always lend a hand, are positive when times are tough and will always tell you about the state they live in.

What’s your best business moment?

In 2015, Carson watched an interview with Michelle Gielan concerning her new book, Broadcasting Happiness. Gielan, during the interview, talked about her desire to become an anchor for a large network and how when her dream came true, there was an economic downturn. During this time, the news was dismal, and not much positivity was happening.

Thus Gielan’s search for positive stories started, and she found that her viewers responded favorably. Seeing this overwhelming response, Geilan quit her job and enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania to study “positive psychology,” which is the study of the strengths and virtues that enable the community, as well as individuals, to thrive.

Carson wrote to Geilan, the person who inspired her so much, asking if she could do something for the “least happy state” on her website about transformational journalism.

To which, Geilan replied she could.

Carson is dedicated to making West Virginia a more positive and happy place for the people who live here and for the people who visit, whether that is starting an initiative herself and by reaching out to the author who inspired her.

One thing that Carson says that contributes to her success and positivity is being grateful.

“I am grateful everyday,” Carson said. “Each morning, and every evening, I review what happened that day.”


“Stay in a state of being grateful for what we have really can contribute to being positive, optimistic and having hope for this great state.”

Carson was a guest on The Positively West Virginia Podcast. Listen to her full podcast here.


  • PIECE OF ADVICE: “Be grateful,” Carson said.