Despite what you may hear, little reasons to smile are all around you
“If it bleeds, it leads.”
Just about every journalist has heard that phrase at some point, and unfortunately, it couldn’t be more true. If you’re wondering why most of the stories you see in the news are so depressing, remember that the media is a business with the goal of attracting customers (in this case, an audience). Negative news attracts a greater number of viewers than positive news for a number of reasons, and as a result, people tend to live in fear.
Within the past few weeks, I’ve heard several different people remark that news coverage seems especially bleak as of late. If you didn’t know any better, you might think that the images from Ferguson, Missouri were taken in a war-torn third world country. An innocent American journalist became the new face of the conflict in Syria as a gruesome video of his execution made the rounds online – and even though I did not know Mr. Foley, his tragic death hits home with me as a passionate advocate for freedom of the press. A beloved actor and comedian who spent decades making millions of people laugh ended his own life (he’ll make an appearance here later). These are arguably the three biggest news stories of August 2014 so far, and each of them is heartbreaking in its own way. For those who believe in the power of prayer, please take a moment to pray for anyone involved in or affected by these events.
The modern 24-hour news cycle means that sad news such as this can be seen no matter where you go or what you do. Turning on the TV, opening your social media apps or simply walking by a newspaper stand is often all it takes. With such dark coverage, it can be hard to see the light that is present in our everyday lives.
Please understand that I am not telling everyone to just stop watching the news and consuming media altogether. It is so unbelievably important to be informed and aware of what’s going on in the world. However, don’t let the negativity be all you pay attention to. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been making a special effort to notice little things that bring me happiness in my everyday life.
These things are all arbitrary and may not seem like much, especially compared to what is going on in the world as a whole, but that doesn’t make them insignificant. Sometimes, coming across even the smallest little spot of happiness in your daily routine can be enough to remind you that there is good in the world.
With all that being said, here are a few of my favorite things (and maybe some of yours too):
- Coming home after being gone for any period of time and having your pet run to greet you. Knowing that they’re so happy you’re with them is the most precious thing.
- Feeling exhausted in the best way possible after a particularly great workout
- Fresh flowers: I like daisies because they remind me of my great grandma.
- Waking up earlier than you need to, and spending that extra time in the morning just sipping coffee and chilling out
- A hug from someone you haven’t seen in too long – however long that may be.
- Robin Williams movies (may he rest in peace)
- Going out of your way to commit a random act of kindness for someone who needs it
- Walking down Court Street on a hot summer day
- The process of learning a new language and the fascination of how something that once looked and sounded like complete gibberish can suddenly make sense.
- Oscar Wilde quotes: I’m a little biased because he’s my absolute favorite writer in the English language – but seriously, read a couple of his one-liners and you’ll realize that the guy was a genius.
- Six words: Starbucks grande unsweetened iced green tea.
- “The perfect song on the perfect drive to make you feel infinite,” – Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
- Experimenting with a new recipe and the satisfaction when not only you find it delicious, but other people do too.
- Running into someone you haven’t seen in a while and picking up right where you left off.
- Hot nuts at Tony’s Bar in Athens, shared on a great night with great company.
- Doing something “adult” for the first time (not like that, you pervs) such as driving to the grocery store to buy ingredients for a meal that you are going to cook.
- Pretty jewelry (can I get an amen for midi rings?!)
- Having something to look forward to and/or knowing that you’re on your way to accomplishing something incredible (these situations can be closely related a lot of the time).
Last but not least, another one of my favorite things is knowing what makes other people smile. Share your little reasons to smile in the comments!