How to make happiness your priority

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We share 12 meaningful ways you can make positive, sustainable, and actionable changes in your life to make happiness your priority and start building a brighter future

How to make happiness your priority

Are you happy?

Being happy is a goal that many of us aim for, but how do we know when we’re really happy? Shouldn’t it be simple - you either are, or you aren’t? Happiness is an emotional state where we feel a myriad of different things including joy, satisfaction, wellness, contentment, and fulfilment. But feelings of happiness can be fleeting, like momentary bright sparks in an otherwise stressful, busy, and overwhelming landscape.

So, how do you know if you are happy? Is it something we should even be working towards, or should we be waiting for it to happen naturally?

Long-lasting happiness is steady. It’s something we feel continuously as a sense of contentment when we feel fulfilled across different areas of our lives. Perhaps when you feel like your work is making the best use of your strengths, or that you are able to live a life that best aligns with your core values.

Happiness doesn’t just mean an absence of stress, worry and anxiety. You can still be happy while experiencing other, less enjoyable but completely natural emotions. In fact, when we are feeling happiness at our core, we may feel more able to face big life events, changes, or periods of high stress without feeling as overwhelmed.  

Happiness isn’t just a luxury we should wish for. It has been shown to help predict positive outcomes for mental and physical health, wellbeing, and longevity. Experiencing more positive emotions increases our overall satisfaction with life, helping us build our resilience, develop stronger coping skills, and feel more confident and able to face life’s challenges head-on.

So, how can we stop wishing for happiness, and start making the pursuit of happiness part of our day-to-day lives?

12 ways to make happiness your priority

1. Define what happiness looks like for you

Currently, there is no one single definition of happiness. If you try to look it up, each definition is just a little different from the next. There are even different types of happiness that different people seek out.

Some may focus on more hedonic happiness (focusing on experiencing more pleasure and less pain), while others may look for eudaimonic happiness (focusing on happiness as the end result of seeking and fulfilling their life purpose, a challenge, personal growth, or overall feeling like they have fulfilled their potential).

Take time to sit down and consider what you most value in life. What is it that makes you feel a sense of satisfaction, fulfilment, or contentment? Is it spending time with friends and family, moving up the career ladder, helping others achieve their goals and better themselves? Is it creating a sense of financial security, supporting others, focusing on your passions, or reaching a state of complete self-reliance?

Our core values are highly personal and shape the way we live our lives. Spending time

random thoughts for a Monday morning

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Hi hi friends! How are you? How was the weekend? Ours was a good one. The weather was a dream – it felt like San Diego, plus it rained every day – and P had a soccer game. We smoked chicken for dinner, met up with friends, caught up on chores, and enjoyed relaxing as a fam. We sat on the back of the Pilot’s SUV and watched the girls run around in the rain for almost an hour.

Today’s post is a little all over the place. I didn’t take a ton of pics, but I have some random thoughts to share with ya and would love to hear what’s going on in your world, too.

Random thoughts for a Monday morning:

– We replanted for fall, and I’m so pumped for some new veggies in the garden. Usually I plant too much and certain plants crowd others, so I only did carrots, beets, and broccoli in the raised bed. In our flat garden bed, we have swiss chard, romaine, arugula, and butternut squash. I have no clue what I’m doing with the butternut squash, but I’ve found that it’s best to just plant whatever you want to learn how to plant, and you figure it out as you go.

(See those poor smashed onions in the bottom left corner? You just figure these things out along the way.)

– This thought crossed my mind during my last hot yoga class, and I was thinking about how much I enjoy hot power yoga. It feels like a hug from a workout, and while it’s still taxing and challenging, it’s simultaneously restorative and a huge treat. It made me remember the Bikram yoga days of yore, which were a start contrast in the yoga world.

I got scolded frequently. 

The first time was for drinking water before Eagle pose (don’t you dare), and for little things, like not transitioning fast enough to the savasana portions, keeping my eyes on myself (I had to look around to figure out what I was doing!), laughing during the intense breathing section (once, a friend and I got the church giggles during class) and who knows what else. The incredibly steamy and sweaty rooms were always carpeted (disgusting), smelled like hamsters, and I loved it????? I loved it! SO weird haha.

Needless to say, I’m glad the Bikram phenomenon has come and gone, for various reasons.

– We tried a new-to-us restaurant in Tucson: the Parish. We’ve heard so many great things over the years but have never made it out there. We met up with friends for a lil double date, and it was SO good. They have twists on Southern food, so we shared popcorn, hushpuppies, and the best brussels sprouts for apps, and the entrees were things like fried chicken sandwich, gumbo, I had an extremely flavorful salmon salad, and meatloaf. The drinks were also an A+. We’ll definitely go back! Check it out if you’re a Tucson local looking for something to try out.

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Corn Pudding Casserole

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Corn Pudding is beloved throughout my family. I grew up eating my mom’s corn pudding for every holiday and plenty of Sunday dinners in between.

My siblings and I have been known to sneak the leftover corn casserole out of my mom’s house and I’ll even admit to “accidentally” bringing home my sister’s share of the leftovers (along with mine) once upon a time.

Corn Pudding Casserole is a classic comfort food! get the recipe at

Corn pudding is a nostalgic dish for me, for sure, as perhaps it is for you. But if you’ve never tried it before, or if it’s been a few years, I know you’ll be as pleased with this side dish as I am.

Corn Pudding

Corn pudding is especially popular in the American south. It’s become widely eaten all over the United States not only because it’s delicious but because of how easy and inexpensive it (or “puddin’ corn” as it’s sometimes called in the south) is to make!

This is not a pudding in the dessert sense, although it is sweet. Corn pudding is more like a cross between a savory custard and a dish of warm creamed corn.

My favorite way to serve corn pudding is with turkey, chicken, or ham, along with green beans, and boiled baby potatoes.

Corn Pudding Casserole

My mom’s classic recipe includes a box of cornbread mix, as does just about every other corn casserole recipe I’ve seen. I started playing with the recipe, determined to come up with a version that didn’t require that boxed mix.

Jiffy Corn Pudding Casserole

This simple side dish is rich, creamy, sweet corn deliciousness that is unforgettable. My kids begged for seconds and would have happily eaten even more.

Even though I didn’t reach for the prepackaged box of Jiffy cornbread mix, this corn pudding tasted just as good as my mom’s. In fact, to be honest, I think it tastes even better.

If you haven’t tasted it before, you might be cringing at the thought of combining corn with anything and then calling it pudding, but I’m telling you that it works. Not one person I have ever served this to has failed to love it.

Brown Butter Spaghetti Squash Recipe

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Brown Butter Spaghetti Squash Recipe

Tonight was “see-what-you-can-make-for-dinner-with-whatever-is-in-the-fridge” and this brown butter spaghetti squash recipe was the result. It is seriously one of my absolute must-haves for fall! Buttery squash with a hint of nuttiness from the pine nuts and savory goodness from the squash, gosh it’s good!

You could easily substitute any veggies or meat that you like-or leave the meat out for a vegetarian meal.

a photo of a spaghetti squash that has been halved and roasted facing up and filled with spaghetti squash mixed with kale, sausage, and topped with pine nuts and fresh parsley.

When I was younger one of my friends decided to be a vegetarian. I was shocked! I grew up in a meat and potatoes home. My mother was from Idaho and my father from Oregon so we ate meat with every single dinner. That was the farm way. It was not however her way. I didn’t understand what a vegetarian was really other then you didn’t eat meat. That was enough to stop my inquiries as who could possibly eat dinner without meat? I don’t think it was a nutritious decision at all either.

As soon as she went vegetarian she also went overboard on the candy. No joke. She wouldn’t eat meat so she ate quite the plethora of candy instead. Whaaaaa? I think she missed the boat there a bit, but I’m quite certain she is back to meat eating. And even if she wasn’t, I’ve personally discovered that eating vegetarian for a few meals a week is actually quite awesome. Our bodies actually love the whole “meat sparingly” concept. Fancy that. 😉 We have several plant based and vegetarian recipes on the blog now, and they are some of my favorites!

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Apple Cider Donut Muffins

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Apple Cider Donut Muffins

I love the crisp autumn air, the leaves changing colors on the trees, the pumpkin spice everything and most of all, these apple cider donut muffins!

These apple cider muffins are one of our favorite healthy breakfast options. They have the perfect amount of sweet from the cider and brown sugar and the sour cream helps keep them extra tender and moist. 

a photo of several golden, fluffy apple cider donut muffins topped with cinnamon brown sugar.


Does your family have any fall traditions? I’m not sure if it’s like this everywhere else, but when fall rolls around here in Utah, all sorts of pumpkin patches pop up with corn mazes and fun activities for families. One of our favorite places is down in a little town called Santaquin at Rowley’s Red Barn. It is the cutest farm with a red barn where you can buy ice cream, fall produce, the best apple cider on earth AND the most outrageously delicious apple cider donuts. I don’t know what they put in those donuts, but they are dangerous!

These apple cider donut muffins are those donuts but in muffin form because, let’s be honest, muffins are just easier than donuts! Everyone has a muffin tin but not everyone has a donut pan. It’s time to make these donut muffins a new fall tradition in your family!

a photo of the corner of a muffin tin with baked apple cider donut muffins in it that are topped with brown sugar cinnamon.Read more