September 16, 2014

Spending Time Alone

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I feel like it's been ages since I last wrote to you. There have just been a lot of exciting things going on in my life, which I will probably share with you sometime in the future. Have you ever had one of those weeks? Let me know in the comments!

Today, I wanted to discuss something that has been on my heart and that is that, there is a lot of value in spending time with other people.

My friends may or may not agree, but I would personally consider myself to be introverted. I usually recharge by being on my own, am practically silent in new crowds, and prefer to listen to others' stories over sharing mine--but even I get caught up texting people all the time, running here and there to meet with different people, doing my best to make good first impressions... Living on a college campus kind of forces you to be extroverted to some extent. But as I thought about it further, I began to notice a sense of fear--anxiety--growing inside of me. This fear is of being alone. 

It's kind of scary to admit your own fears over the Internet, but yes. I've grown to be afraid of being alone. Of sitting alone at the dining hall for dinner, of standing in an elevator without looking like I have something to do or someone to text, of going to a community service event that nobody else will show up to, etc. Whatever it is, it's like there's this pressure to be with somebody all the time. 

Loneliness, especially among my generation, is starting to look like a really bad thing. A thing that must be avoided at all times, or else everybody will think of you as some sort of social misfit. 

What ever happened to solidarity? Meditation? 

Consider the Transcendentalists, Romantics, Jesuits, Monks! These guys would go on lone retreats to mountains, lakes, forests, deserts, and temples just to meditate, to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Being alone isn't something so bad--there are some true pleasures of being alone. 

You start realizing the beauty in everything. In nature, in your space, in other people, and (perhaps most importantly) in yourself. 

Enjoy spending some time resting and relaxing, even if it happens to only be for a couple minutes. Love yourself a bit! 

What are some benefits you see in spending time alone? Please do share in the comments!

Smile on,
-Riley XO

September 9, 2014

The 7 Real Wonders of the World

Happy Tuesday, everybody! Life has still been full of changes this time of year but whether you're feeling overwhelmed or relaxed, remember to appreciate all the blessings you have in your life!

Remember, you don't have to go anywhere incredibly extraordinary or spectacular to experience the true brilliance of life. In fact, you can take a bit of time to appreciate seven wonders of the world right now!

Louise Hay
That is all I really have today; I just really found this graphic to be inspiring and humbling. Hope your week is full of gratitude, love, and hope.

Smile on,
-Riley XO

September 2, 2014

Health in College Part 4: Exercise

Morning! Hope you had a fun time last week! I had my first week of school, so life has been busy and good to say the least.

For me, health--while not crucial--definitely helps contribute to happiness, so that's why we are continuing today with the fourth part of our series Health in College. We've talked about body image, sleep, and diet. As you may have guessed, I am a big fan of exercise--being active and moving around is a hobby that I enjoy so much!

Why is exercise so important? Well, it improves circulation and breathing, it provides stress release, it challenges the mind in a different way, it keeps your body strong, and it's fun! These are some of my favorite reasons to exercise, but even more can be found by clicking here.

Despite all of these benefits, researchers have found that younger generations aren't as strong or active as previous ones despite the fact that workouts are more accessible than ever. (There are millions of workouts on YouTube that you could do in your own home!)

I'm actually working in a health psychology lab now and wanted to share a possible recent finding. Researchers have found that if they compensate people for exercising with a certain amount of money, those people were more likely to continue exercising far into the future even after they are no longer paid. There are multiple hypotheses as to why this occurs, but one of the top ideas is that it is because while they are being paid, people realize that they are physically able to work out. What? That's a little weird. Please allow me to go further into depth.

Society seems to think of fitness as a hardcore thing. Like, you need to be a dedicated bodybuilder or athlete in order to frequent the gym. We hear about High Intensity Interval Training and Crossfit, and when you visit any fitness center of sorts, you see people in expensive workout clothes, sweating buckets, and benching at the very least seventy pounds or running ten miles. It's a lot to take in as a student, who just wants to scrape by with a C in the first hard semester of Calculus.

But that's where our perception can deceive us.

Exercise can be performed in a huge variety of ways, with a huge amount of varying commitments and intensities. You don't really even have to go to the gym in order to get good exercise--a brisk walk in the morning before lunch is still getting some circulation flow.

And although running a mile sounds intimidating at first, it really isn't that much when you realize that it's only ten minutes of very slow jogging.

So, when people try going to the gym for about two or three weeks just so they can get paid by the psychology researcher, they realize how capable they actually are of doing what is good for their bodies and then the habit sticks.

Unfortunately, I can't pay all of you $1 for every time you go work out to help motivate you for a month, but I hope that this post has helped you see that you don't have to be the "gym type" to be healthy.
Smile on,
-Riley XO
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