SMIRL MEETS WORLD: Finding joy in small things


Rileigh Smirl

Rileigh Smirl with someone from her life who makes her happy and helps her through stress.

Sometimes we all get to those points in time where we just really need a laugh or a smile. I’ve reached one of those recently, and it’s been hard to try to find things that make me happy when there’s so much going on that is stressful or hard to get through. I’ve been going out of my way to try to remember all the good things I have or that I can experience to help get myself through this extra tough time. So, if you find yourself feeling a little extra stressed or down, then maybe some of these techniques can be a good reminder of how much good there is if you just stop to look for it.

First, I have found that simply making a playlist of my favorite songs can help remind me how much better just listening to music can make you feel. The time it takes to look back and remember all of the songs you’ve listened to and which ones are your absolute favorites is just so simple and mind-numbing, that once you have your finished list, all you’ll want to do is sit back and enjoy all those songs you forgot you loved. For me, getting in a good workout while listening to this music helps as well. The rush of adrenaline mixed with the feeling of accomplishment in knowing that you’ve taken care of yourself and been productive is a feeling that is hard to beat.

There are also sometimes some small activities we forget that we enjoy so much, that rediscovering our passion for them can be a joy all in its own. For example, I really like organizing my space, and I find it both very calming and distracting if I want to stop thinking about the stress in my life for a few minutes. Just remembering that small activities like this bring me joy is enough to keep me smiling for a while.

The best source of happiness I have found, however, is in the people we choose to surround ourselves with or those that we call our family. Sometimes, there is nothing better than being surrounded by people that care about you, even if you’re not doing anything special. I know that just taking some extra time to make plans with my roommates or go home for the weekend can make me feel better without even trying. I don’t think there is a single better feeling than just knowing you are with people that just want to make you feel comfortable and happy.

So if you’re feeling a little down and overwhelmed towards the end of the semester like I have been, then sit down with your favorite coffee or tea or snack and get to where your people are. Because even if you only get a few minutes to find the joy in these things, those moments can be enough to keep getting you through all the rest of the hard stuff.

Rileigh Smirl can be contacted at [email protected]