Tag Archives: happiness

Don’t put a price on your love

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate your love for the people in your life. It’s a day, specifically for your significant other, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Valentine’s Day is a day that can either be fun or miserable and it’s up to you which road you want to take.

I know all of the single people out there get lectured by their friends in relationships about how it doesn’t have to be a sad day, how it can be cute and fun to hang out with your other single friends, but I know you’re thinking “well of course you can say that. You have a boyfriend/girlfriend. You have someone to love and be with on the most romantic day of the year.” But Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be strictly romantic. It can be about showing your love for the people who stick by you through all of your ups and downs, who love you when you think no one else can. Those are the people who should be celebrated on this Valentine’s Day.

You can share tots with anyone, not just a romantic interest. Photo from Pinterest
You can share tots with anyone, not just a romantic interest. Photo from Pinterest

Valentine’s Day is the type of holiday that is simply made to get people to buy things. The consumer industry made this day up so people in relationships will buy the flowers and the chocolates and the giant stuffed teddy bears in order to show the one they love that they care. It’s designed to put a price on love, to show that if I buy you 12 dozen roses it means that you love your significant other more than the person who could only afford one.

But what happens when you love someone so much, more than you could even describe, but unfortunately, your wallet isn’t as big as your love is? You begin to feel inferior and insecure because you can’t buy the one you love all the things on Valentine’s Day that you think they deserve. Your significant other sees all of their friends whose boyfriends or girlfriends were able to buy them the big bouquets and giant stuffed animals while you’re left sitting at home feeling guilty for not being able to do those things for the person you love. That’s what Valentine’s Day does to people.

On this Valentine’s Day, don’t put a price on your love. You and your significant other deserve better than that. Spend quality time together, watch a movie. You can celebrate your love without spending money. Be happy. Be in love. Don’t worry about the rest of it.

5 things that happen when you do something creative instead of watching Netflix

Twenty episodes into a new season of that show you’re addicted to, you start to feel a guilty sensation every time you press that “Next episode” button. So turn off the TV and put down the remote and do something creative like writing a story (or maybe a script for your own irresistible show) or reading a book or drawing a picture. Here are seven things that happen when you decide to hit “Power off” instead of “Ok”.

1) You have more energy

While watching Netflix is highly entertaining, it doesn’t make your brain work like being creative and using your imagination does. Netflix will lull you into a lazy mood, but doing something creative is like a work out for your brain. You know those amazing endorphins you feel straight after a great workout? Your brain gets those too. Being creative will make you more alert and feel far more productive.

Put creativity above your Netflix habits. Graphic by Katie Gibson
Put creativity above your Netflix habits. Graphic by Katie Gibson

2) It will defeat mental blocks

Netflix is an easy way to avoid writing when you have writer’s block or reading when you can’t focus. However, those are mental blocks that you need to work through, not put off. I tried to put them off one time and ended up going two years without writing a word or reading outside of school. Don’t let your brain get lazy.

3) You’ll be happier

I know, I know, nothing will make you happier than *insert favorite show here*. But think of all those days you spent staring at your TV without moving, forcing poor Netflix to make sure you were okay fifteen times. After days like that, you’re bound to feel pretty crappy. That’s just human nature. People want to feel like they’re getting stuff done. Do something with your brain will give you that sense of productivity and keep you from feeling miserable after a day of binge watching TV.

4) You’ll become more creative

If you run a mile every day, you’ll likely to be able to start increasing your distance and times. The same goes for your brain. That mental workout mentioned early, will help you generate creative ideas faster which will help you in all aspects of your life.

5) You’ll be a more interesting person

Next time you go out into the real world, keep track of how many people are talking about Netflix and TV shows. That’s completely cool, but it will make you seem far more interesting when people find out you can write a novel or draw a killer picture or compose an amazing piece of music. Personally, I feel like I’ve lost my “sparkle” in college mostly due to being overworked and stressed constantly. But I get a little bit of that “sparkle” back when I can talk about a book that I’m reading or a novel I’m trying to write rather than just discussing how subpar season two of “Orange Is The New Black” was in comparison to season one.

Once again, absolutely NOTHING is wrong with watching television. However, you will be a happier, more well rounded human being if you break that bubble every once and a while and shake things up.

Why going to the gym every day should be a part of your routine

I used to always say I would go to the gym every day, and most days I would blow it off. I would convince myself that I had too much homework or I was too tired or whatever other reasons there could possibly be.

The truth was, I could’ve made it to the gym every day and I was just being lazy and making excuses, and bad ones at that. Now, a year later, I go to the gym every single day and I actually look forward to it. It was hard at first, and some days it can be a real pain to stop what you’re doing and walk there, but it’s worth it.



lifting weights
“Going to the gym doesn’t mean you have to do every single thing there or that you have to run 8 miles.”

Going to the gym doesn’t mean you have to do every single thing there or that you have to run 8 miles. It just means you can get a study break and clear your mind for a little bit while also being healthy. You could walk on the treadmill or the track or you could sprint; whatever pace is comfortable for you is what you should go with.

You will still be getting a workout even if you aren’t going as fast as the person lapping you. You’re up and moving around and sweating which is really healthy for your body and your brain. If you are really concerned that you have too much homework, though, like reading for a class, you could bring that book you have to read 100 pages of and bike while you read it. It’s a good way to multitask and get all of your work done while also being active.

After the first couple of weeks, I now actually look forward to and enjoy going to the gym every day. I always leave feeling accomplished and satisfied. My mind is always cleared after and I feel ready to take on whatever other tasks are awaiting me. It makes me feel healthier and it also makes me want to eat healthier too.

Going to the gym is such a great way to boost your energy and happiness and it will brighten your day.



Having a pet makes you a better person

If you follow me on any social media, you know I’m obsessed with my dog. Besides the (obvious) fact that she’s incredibly cute, I obsess over my dog because of who she makes me as a person.

Ever since I adopted my dog Roxy in October, my outlook on life has become extremely positive — it’s impossible to be sad when your dog is so happy. I also keep her in mind when I think of my future plans, which motivates me so much more to chase the things I want. I often imagine myself living on a beach with Roxy frolicking in the sand and chasing seagulls. For some reason, having her by my side makes it much easier to picture myself where I want to be.

Having Roxy also makes me want to do better because she deserves the best. Dogs have enormous hearts and love their owners so unconditionally. I don’t think I could ever express how much I appreciate that unconditional love. In exchange for that unbreakable bond between my dog and I, I feel the need to work hard so she can have nice things like a big, fluffy bed and all the toys she could ever need.

Radford student, Janie Maitland, with her dog.

Dogs also force you to live in the moment. There have been times where I’ve sat with Roxy and she’s taken her paw and knocked my phone out of my hand, forcing me to pet her. I began to realize after the 10th or 11th time that I was missing out on life because I was constantly plugged into my phone. Technology is great, but it should never take over your life to the point that you miss out on moments with your loved ones.

Dogs need constant exercise, so having a dog has forced me to get more exercise as well. Roxy and I often take long walks all the way around campus, which I never would have done walking by myself. She also loves to wrestle and play, which makes for a pretty rigorous exercise. Before I adopted Roxy, my weight would fluctuate from 125 to 140 lbs almost constantly. Now that I’m getting more regular exercise, my weight remains at around 133 lbs. I also have to be able to keep up with her so I’m more in shape than I’ve ever been in the past.

There’s something very zen about a sleeping dog on your lap that makes you slow down and appreciate the little things in life. One of my greatest joys in life is simply seeing my dog happy. When I take her to Claytor Lake and she’s allowed to run free, the big smile on her face as she runs about melts my heart.

Adopting a pet has been one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever given myself because it forces you to work and play all at once. I don’t understand how anyone could be unhappy when there’s a sweet dog around. Having a dog may seem like a lot of responsibility, and it is to an extent. However, having a pet is a relatively inexpensive investment that changes you for life.

Aggression and intolerance are the root of all evils

I’m not the most tolerant person. I get frustrated with people and their habits easily. That being said, this may be the most hypocritical article I’ve ever written.

Being tolerant of others is the only way we’ll ever have peace in ourselves and around the world. As frustrated as I get with pro-lifers and others who have radically different views from my own, we all have to find some sort of patience and acceptance of each other. Part of growing up is realizing that not everyone thinks the same way you do, and learning to be okay with that.

Walking through a war zone. Graphic from the Trust Collective
Walking through a war zone. Graphic from the Trust Collective

Aside from people with different views, there are going to be people with annoying habits that make you want to gouge your eyes out. As much as I detest hearing other people chewing, learning to approach them kindly and patiently will solve the issue much more gently than reacting with anger and intolerance. Finding coping mechanisms that help you deal with the things that get under your skin will help you rest easy in the face of things that generally tick you off.

One habit I’ve taken up in order to avoid swearing at a complete stranger for chewing loudly is simply using headphones or evacuating the immediate area. When I see a dumb bumper sticker that goes against my own beliefs, I remember what it felt like to have a complete stranger approach me and attack my beliefs because of a bumper sticker . I also observe the person because nine times out of ten, it’s an older person who grew up in a very different time and will likely not be around much longer. It’s morbid, I know, but it helps me rest easy with my angry liberal-hippie heart.

Stephen Hawking recently made a bold and telling statement while giving a tour of London’s Science Museum to Guest of Honor contest winner Adaeze Uyanwah. Hawking stated that aggression is the biggest shortcoming of mankind, and that aggression should be replaced with empathy. Of all of the research and observations Hawking has made on climate change and the impending doom it could bring to Earth, he recognizes the simplest of truths: we humans are destroying our own existence. No species has managed to destroy as many other species as humans have, and most of it has been for the sake of controlling the environments around us.

In the fight to control as many resources within the imaginary borders we’ve created, we’ve left thousands upon thousands of species devastated in our wake. Nuclear bombs, deforestation and drilling for the liquid gold we call oil, all in order to be the country with the most resources, we’ve destroyed the pale blue dot we live upon. This can easily be blamed on our aggression. We aggressively pursue as many resources as we can, taking drastic measures which create consequences that future generations will have to face–all for the sake of our economy.

It may seem that someone with little stance in society may not have the power to disintegrate the hate and aggression all over the world, but by simply injecting empathy in your daily life, you may cause a ripple effect. Showing kindness in the face of adversity is one of the greatest tools we have in the fight against the unrest in the world. It’s easy to get angry at things you deem unfair, but instead of getting angry, it’s time to get smart.



Self-love is the most important love

To us ladies, our looks are extremely important. We’ve been groomed our entire lives to look in the mirror and “fix” what’s wrong. We’ve been told we have to look presentable at all times. Overall, society has attached our value to our outer appearance.

Some women are strong and don’t let society tell them that their value is based on their appearances, and that’s amazing. If I had one wish for my fellow females, it’d be that we could all recognize that our value is not based on skin-deep characteristics. Our value can only be defined by ourselves.

“We’ve been groomed our entire lives to look in the mirror and “fix” what’s wrong.”

I believe the first step in finding value in yourself is to accept your flaws, whether they be physical or internal. If you’re lucky, when you’re born you’ll be surrounded by loved ones who will constantly remind you of how special and great you are. They’ll think the world of you and constantly praise you to remind you of your value. But what if those people weren’t there? What if, like a baby shark, the moment we were born we had to fend for ourselves and figure ourselves out on our own?

Some women are strong and don’t let society tell them that their value is based on their appearances, and that’s amazing. If I had one wish for my fellow females, it’d be that we could all recognize that our value is not based on skin-deep characteristics. Our value can only be defined by ourselves.

The truest love one can have is for themselves. I’m not talking about narcissism, I’m talking about self-love. Loving oneself is important to the way that we look at the world and the way we treat others. People who treat others badly are often recognizing a characteristic in the person they’re mistreating that they don’t like in themselves. A person who is narcissistic will often try to make others feel inferior, or will try to gain praise from others.

The key to being a valuable person who creates happiness in themselves and those around them is to find a happy medium between narcissism and insecurity. It’s good to be conscious of your flaws, but to accept them. It’s even more important, however, to recognize the good things in yourself and use them to uplift others.

As far as outward appearances go, it’s important to accept the things about yourself that you can’t change. It’s easy to look at a magazine and think, “wow, Beyonce is flawless, why don’t I look like her?” It’s important to remember that no one is perfect, especially when it comes to appearances. There are beautiful features and imperfections in every single person. Photoshop is used to cover those flaws that celebrities have and convince audiences that if they use a product it’ll do the same for them.

Have you ever thought about what makes a beautiful person? It’s easy to remember societies definition, but it’s also easy to realize just how dumb that is. I know many people who are beautiful on the outside as well as the inside and who I admire greatly. Although I think very highly of these people, society expects us to idolize celebrities and to yearn to be like them. At the end of the day, however, I feel myself wanting to mimic those people whom I know personally more than I’d ever want to mimic a celebrity. The beauty and inspiration you find immediately around you is more powerful than the paper cover of a magazine, as long as you allow it to be.

It can be so easy to fall for society’s examples of beauty and try your best to mimic them. It’s important to remember, however, that those celebrities or models in magazines don’t even look the way they’re presented. Accept your flaws, because everyone has them, but don’t forget that there are plenty of beautiful things in yourself that can be of extreme use to the rest of the world.

Leave Renee Zellweger alone!

Renee Zellweger recently appeared at the Elle Awards looking a bit different. Many have speculated that she may have had some extreme plastic surgery. Whether or not Zellweger did have surgery, one thing’s for sure: the media lost it’s mind over her new appearance. Fox 411 compared a photo of Zellweger at the Elle Awards to a photo of her from the early 2000’s. Wherever you look, many are criticizing Zellweger for changing her “signature” look.

Any time a celebrity undergoes plastic surgery, there are bound to be criticisms. When Heidi Montag from “The Hills” got plastic surgery, there was a media firestorm. She looked drastically different and many were worried she went too far. Although I can honestly say I haven’t seen a single one of Zellweger’s movies, I feel the need to defend her.

Renee Zellweger looking different at the Elle Awards. Graphic from ABC News
Renee Zellweger looking different at the Elle Awards. Graphic from ABC News

Being a woman is exhausting. We’re expected to look nice all the time and we’re constantly finding things about ourselves that we don’t like. It’s frustrating to see women getting criticized for something that’s only skin-deep. It seems like it doesn’t matter how talented someone is, because their appearance comes first. Of course appearances are important, but they should never trump the person living inside the body. We’ve all gotten into the terrible habit of writing off parts of someone’s personality because of their looks.

I know it won’t happen over night or even in my lifetime, but I think it’s time we train ourselves out of that habit. We all need to look past what’s in front of our eyes and embrace the person underneath. Life is so temporary and so are looks, but what a person achieves in their lifetime can never be reversed. As time passes, our skin wrinkles and our hair grays but the things you’ve accomplished don’t just disappear. If you make a big enough footprint on this world, it will be remembered forever.

Although Zellweger may look different, she’s the same person. She’s gotten older and decided to get surgery to make herself feel better, so what? She’s still a talented actress and the same person. If she’s happy, that’s great. There’s too much distress and unhappiness in this world to put down someone for doing what they believed would make them happy. Instead of discouraging each other, we should all lift each other up and make happiness our goal. We need to make it our mission in life to spread as much happiness as possible within the small window of time we are here.

Highlanders Anonymous: More about myself, less about you

This week there are more questions about me than about you readers, but I’m okay with that! I’ll be just as brutally honest when answering about myself, I promise. Send in more questions about yourselves, and I’ll get right to answering those!

“What’s your opinion of online dating?”

I’m not the biggest fan of online dating. I want to have a full-blown accurate representation of how a person speaks and acts around others before I decide to date them. You see, a guy or girl may be perfectly sweet and nice when talking to you online, but are the type of person who yells at waiters and complains about every dish they’re served. I just think that you have to get to know someone in person before you are ready to date him or her.

“Which fairytale would you like to live in?”

Are we talking Disney fairytales or the original versions? If we’re talking about the first option, then I would choose The Little Mermaid, however, my answer would change dramatically if we are talking about the original versions of these stories. I don’t know if you know this, but all of the original fairytales are completely different. For instance, in the original Hans Christian Anderson version of The Little Mermaid, the prince falls for someone else, and the mermaid commits suicide.

kid swimming
“Are we talking Disney fairytales or the original versions? If we’re talking about the first option, then I would choose The Little Mermaid.”


“How can people become happy?”

Excluding depression and other illnesses, it’s pretty simple to become happier. Don’t let your life revolve around another person or other people. Find something that you enjoy doing alone, and do it. The more comfortable that you are hanging out alone, the more comfortable you’ll become with yourself when you hangout with other people. You’ll gain more self-confidence, which is truly appealing. Also, make decisions based on what you want. Don’t let the opinions of others dictate what you do.

“Are you good at swimming?”

 Yes, I do. My parents taught me to swim when I was three or four, and I’ve been swimming ever since. Swimming is both one of the most relaxing activities, and one of the best exercises. I think that everyone should learn to swim, even if its just for safety reasons.

Send in questions for me for next week’s article at ask.fm/HighlandersAnonymous

Addictive Love

Laughter floats in the air

The warmth of skin radiating under finger tips

The soft caress of lips

Words unspoken

Feelings exposed

Addictive bliss

In the moment

A snapshot in time

Never to be rewritten

“The snap shot is tattooed on our hearts Forever wishing for the past.”


I hear the whispers trickle down the hour glass

I feel the slice of every invective word

Your unsheathed anger

A storm never passing

Emotions always swirling


Self blame



The winds slow

The hour glass stills

Frozen in time

A snapshot from the past

Salt streams formed from regret and guilt

A villian’s plea for redemption

Like an addiction to a drug

Unable to see the truth


The eye has past

The cycle continues





An insatiable craving

The relentless storm rages on


The snapshot is tattooed on our hearts

Forever wishing for the past




From our perspective: The importance of goals

The definition of a goal is a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. We at Whim believe goals are important to achieve any aspirations one might have in life.

Take all of us RU students for example. Why are we in college? A lot of us probably share the same goals of graduating, getting a degree and then becoming a contributing citizen of society. Whether we realize it or not, we are all on a journey to achieving our long-term goals. Continue reading From our perspective: The importance of goals

Weekly Time Wasters: Love, loss and natural selection

In honor of Valentine’s Day I’m starting off with a could-have-been love story. Romance is in the air. Go out and tell that girl you like her, or ask the boy down the hall if he wants to grab some Pinkberry. The worst that could happen is they say no, so what do you have to lose? Continue reading Weekly Time Wasters: Love, loss and natural selection

Does it make sense to be good?

Graphic by: Marie Stovall

Every day that I wake up, I am the same. There is no personality change; my conscious ceases to morph in any way. Fact is, I care about people. I want all to be safe and happy. I am the kind of guy who helps an old lady cross the road. The type of person who cares for the poor and the hungry, and the kind of guy who would do anything to make a woman he cares for happy. So you see, I have a terminal condition called being good, and it is untreatable.

As kids we are told that being good is the ideal, that the one who saves the day is the one who will be most happy. That couldn