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Learning to Love Life and Make Positive Changes

What makes you happy? Here are steps to take for living a happier, more fulfilling life.

Nashville, Ark. -  Spring gives us a new outlook on life. Whether it’s watching birds building their nests or enjoying the beautiful flowers that are blooming, spring just makes us feel better and gives us a positive feeling inside. Have you ever thought about what makes you happy in a relationship? Often relationships, whether it’s with family, spouses or even co-workers, can be challenging. By making wise choices, we often find our lives more rewarding especially with those we spend time with.

            Researchers have made strides recently with personal development studies. Some of the studies have dealt with personal trauma and its effect on our lives. Trauma such as separation from a loved one, death of a loved one, natural disasters, etc. have all been shown to cause depression, impaired functioning and poor health.

            On the flip side of this, positive personal development can lead to a sense of well-being and happiness. Research shows that there are some really important things that make a big difference in whether we’re happy or unhappy. Some of these factors are things you may never have really thought about.

            Life is like taking a hiking trip up a mountain. You don’t get there by accident. You have to plan the route you are taking, plus you need to take some things along in order to make your life journey a little more pleasant. Therefore, if we make good choices along life’s path, we are likely to have a successful journey and be happier. Here are steps to take for living a happier, more fulfilling life.

  • Enjoy today. Take time to stop and smell the roses. Focus on life’s beauty instead of its obstacles. Do you know of someone who always seems to be looking on the bright side? Those who find the beauty in life travel well.
  • Find the gems in your past. Anyone who wants to find a gem must be willing to search for it. We all have things in our past that we wish did not happen or that we wish we could change. When bad things happen, we may think that nothing good can ever come from this. Life’s treasures are often found after digging through challenges and disappointments.
  • Look forward to tomorrow. People who are excited and hopeful about the future are likely to have better journeys. People who look for and expect to find good things usually find them. How do you face today or tomorrow? Do you awake each day saying to yourself, “Today is going to be a great day.” Those who look eagerly for the future are happier.
  • Use your strengths. Joy and progress come from using these strengths while managing weaknesses. Discover strengths by noticing things you enjoy doing; things that challenge you; things that engage you. Focus on those strengths and build them up.
  • Choose to serve. Inwardly focusing fosters a narrow and limited view of the world. As we turn more energy and attention to helping others, the meaning and satisfaction of our own lives expands. Think about the last time you helped someone. How did it make you feel? Volunteer to help in your community to make it a better place to live and work.
  • Choose to grow. Growth is the surest sign of progress. Seek new ideas, experiences, and projects. What will you cultivate? There are several ways to grow. Go back to school, read a book or teach yourself a new skill. Once you master it the feeling you will receive is tremendous.
  • Don’t forget your compass. Each of us is equipped with a compass, or conscience, to guide us. When we ignore it, we get lost. When we use our compass well, our journey will be richer and more meaningful.

Remember to just stop and savor life’s experiences. There are simple things that we all have, but rarely notice or think about. When we get good at noticing and enjoying those things, it makes us happier. For more information on family life contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517 and ask for a copy of the “Personal Journey”.

If you have thought about volunteering in your community, but have not made the move yet, consider joining a Howard County Extension Homemakers Club. There are seven clubs located in the county which meets on a monthly basis to learn a new skill and volunteer in their communities.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Recipe of the Week

            Here is a recipe that will be demonstrated at the upcoming Extension Homemaker Leader Training lesson on Healthy Snacks. The training will be held on Tuesday, March 28 at 10:00 a.m. at the EH Center in Nashville. Feel free to come and check out what Extension Homemakers are all about.

Basil-Cheese Triangles

2 cups finely shredded Monterey Jack cheese

2 eggs, slightly beaten

¼ cup finely chopped fresh or 1 Tablespoon dried basil leaves

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 package (16 oz.) frozen phyllo sheets, thawed

1/3 cup butter, melted

            Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. Combine cheese, eggs, basil and pepper in a medium mixing bowl until well mixed.

            Cut phyllo sheets lengthwise into 2-inch strips. (Cover with plastic wrap then with damp towel to prevent drying out.) Place 1 level teaspoon cheese mixture on end of 1 strip. Fold strip over cheese mixture, end over end in triangular shape, to opposite end. Place on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining strips and cheese mixture. Brush triangle lightly with butter.

            Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm.

Yield: 72 appetizers

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 1 appetizer: Calories 45, fate 2.5g, sodium 105 mg, carbohydrate 4 g, protein 2g

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517
jince@uaex.edu

 

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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