October 31, 2014

The Little Things Matter

Happy Halloween, everyone! What plans do you have for this weekend? I bet it's exciting! Let me know what you're up to in the comments below!

With my hectic college schedule this semester, it doesn't look like I'll be able to write consistently for Tuesday mornings, but I will do my best to at least keep posts coming weekly! I hope you all understand!

As of late, I've been so stressed out about life! Goodness, I don't even know what my deal has been. Sometimes, you just hit a wall and it can take a lot of motivation to keep it going, you know? Well, the past weekend was such a big challenge for me emotionally, but this morning, something about the day just really brightened my mood.

This is how I feel on the inside today. I wonder if that pumpkin spice latte had anything to do with it...
Which goes to say how valuable little things are. There was something that really helped me out--but it was so subtle that I'm not even sure what it was! Being a psychology major, I've been learning about how some subtle things can influence people's mood. On nice, sunny days, people are more likely to report a higher level of satisfaction in their lives. When it's rainy, though, people's self-evaluation of their lives are lower. (But when they make note of the weather before considering their own lives, their ratings are uninfluenced by the weather.)

Also, it's been found that people who bite a pencil to simulate a smile are happier than those who are glaring or frowning.

What a difference those little 26 muscles make!

I think that especially when you're young, it's so easy to get caught up in a lot of anxiety and stress because there is so much that is not set in stone. But, in the grand scheme of things, there's no use in worrying. Usually, things will work out on their own or you end up finding a way through.

Instead of thinking about the big things and worrying, learn to appreciate the little things and you can't go wrong! Try lifting your chin up and smiling even if you don't feel like doing it--I promise you'll have a good day if you do!

Smile on,
-Riley XO

October 23, 2014

TBC's Birthday Blog Party!

Hello everybody,

So I am part of a blogging community called Teenage Blogger Central (TBC), and we just celebrated the community's anniversary on Oct. 20 (sorry for being a bit belated--midterms X_X)!

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This is just a fun, quick little tag to do for the blog party. I enjoy doing tags because it's an easy way for me to connect with you guys by giving you glimpses of my history.

  1. What made you decide to take up blogging, and what inspires you to write 'til today? As some of you may already know, I started blogging all the way back in the middle school days. I did it because I enjoyed writing and wanted to connect with other people over the Internet. Now, I continue to write because I want to make a difference in individual people's lives, feel inspired, and share inspiration. 
  2. How did you find and register on TBC? Did you find it helpful and worth recommending to others? I found TBC about a year ago (can you believe it's been this long?) literally by Googling "Teenage Blogger Community" and registered because I wanted to be in a community for bloggers. I feel like teenage bloggers can at times have a bad reputation for being shallow, but I've found that a lot of TBC's members are inspiring, intellectual, and creative people--so, if you're a teenager and also happen to be a blogger, please join our community :)
  3. What awesome blogs have you found through TBC? I really love Envy's blog and Catalina's blog. Envy is an awesome blogger, and I think that what she writes is so genuine that it touches my heart whenever I read her blog. Check out her beautiful words and story by visiting Picking up the Pieces. Catalina's blog is so cool too! She started a series a while ago where she writes letters every week to somebody (a person--in her life, history, or fiction--of her choice), which I think is a really cool idea. And I also love the way she can just say what she wants to say. She has a huge variety of things on there, so please check out her blog too at The Emo Wolverine Writes.
  4. What do you like best about connecting with other bloggers that are your age? I love connecting with other bloggers that are in a similar age group because we're usually going through a lot of the same things. There's just kind of this bond of empathy when I read about others' trials and triumphs because I can often relate!
  5. What do you hope to achieve through your blog? Honestly, I think that if my words are able to encourage and inspire at least one person who reads Smiles No Matter, this blog's purpose will have been fulfilled. 
  6. How do you say "Happy Birthday Teenage Blogger Central!" in your language? Through virtual hugs everywhere! *hug* 
I also like giving my friends inspirational quotes for their birthdays, so here is one for you all today :)

That's all for today! Hope you are having a great week! 

Smile on,
Riley XO

P.S. Who else has been loving Taylor Swift's new album??

October 17, 2014

What it Means to Live in The Now

Good morning, everyone! I am so sorry for being MIA for quite a while--I got swamped with starting a new job and a wave of midterms in literally every class I had (I even had quizzes in my labs and recitations!). Pretty much just adjusting to a crazy schedule and also dealing with being sick and whatnot. How have you been lately? Hope you've been taking care of yourself and finding the blessings of every day!

Anyhow, while I was being super busy during the past weeks, I started thinking about how I live my life.

Has anyone ever asked you the question, "What would you do if today was your last day?" or something along those lines? How differently would you live your life if you knew when you were going to die?

Does it change your perspective? In some ways, it could. It kind of makes you appreciate life more, doesn't it? Well, my argument is going to take on a different perspective today: Why should dying make us appreciate things more?

Don't we know that life is a blessing? There is a tragic tone about dying young, but in all reality, wasn't it better that a person had the chances to experience the beauty of this world--tasting, seeing, running, loving--than never having the chance, ever? 

We are living in a society where things are becoming permanent. The little thoughts that you post on Facebook or Twitter--those are there forever. Technology is also making things more readily accessible to us. If you get a rip in your jacket, you don't have to worry about finding a patch and sewing it on. On the contrary, these days, it's probably easier to go buy an entirely new jacket. When have we had to worry about sustenance? How hard is it to get food? These days, you can even order food without leaving your house! 

Perhaps that's why it's so scary to think about death. There are so many things in our life that are handed to us, that make us feel permanent and secure--carefree. But the definition of life itself is the opposite of this. Life on this earth is temporary. And really, the best parts of life aren't what they show in the magazines or TV. Life isn't about who has the best beach body, who owns the most products from Michael Kors, what car so-and-so drives, or even how talented such-and-such is. It's not how much you'll be making in 20 years, or 10 years, or even 5 years. It's fun to think and talk about such ideas, but if that's all your life consists of, you may be missing the mark.

The best parts of life include: learning new ideas, sharing laughter with a loved one, feeling relieved that your mom's got your back no matter what, experiencing tragedy and triumph, knowing that he loves you back, the assurance that God is there, service to fellow men and women. Each of these is experienced in the now. It doesn't take any planning, experience, or really even skills.

When we realize this--and realize that these cherished parts come every day--how could the thought of dying tomorrow influence the gratitude we have or the choices we make when it really doesn't matter?

Instead of anticipating the future, focus on the now. The only thing that's constant about the now is that it's always changing. And that's what makes life so beautiful. 

Smile on,
-Riley XO
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