10 Reasons To Keep Smiling

10 Reasons To Keep Smiling

Even when life gets you down, there's always a reason to keep smiling.
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Everyone reaches that one point in their life where it seems like everything seems to be overwhelming, nothing seems to be going right, or you're just down. Whether its a bad break up, the stress of school, loss of a loved one or just the stresses of every day life, there is always a reason to smile. Even though it may be tough sometimes to keep that smile, once you allow that smile to stay on your face, you will be happier. You will realize that the things in life that bring you down are not all that life has to offer. No matter how bad things may seem, it is still worth it to keep going. The first step is a simple smile. Like the song says, "You'll find that life is still worthwhile if you just smile." If you don't believe that, here are 10 things to show, there is so much in life to smile at.

1. You woke up today.

You are alive and living. You have a chance to do something great today. You can right the wrongs of yesterday and even prepare for a better day tomorrow. Regardless, you have today and you should make the most out of it. Don't waste the day wallowing in self pity and sadness. Go out and do something, make the most out of your day because you never know when it will be your last.

2. Your smile can make another person's day.

Whether it's your best friend, your parents, or even a stranger on the street, your smile can affect someone's day. Someone could be having a really bad day and by simply giving them a smile, they can turn their whole day around. A smile can make anybody feel better. Maybe your friend is having a horrible day and your smile can be the only highlight of their day. A smile has more power than you think. Know that your simple facial expression can make someone very happy or just give them the strength to keep going. A smile really does do the trick so don't ever feel afraid to share your smile with someone else.

3. You did something you thought you could never do.

Maybe today you got that last rep that you thought you would never get. Maybe you improved your mile time. Maybe today you gave a good answer in class. We all doubt ourselves and our abilities every now and then and the best thing that we can do is just put a smile on our face and tell ourselves we can do it and then smile even more when we actually do it.

4. Smiling lowers stress.

All that effort that you put into your smile will take your mind off anything stressing you out. Even scientists have found that those who smile more, often have a decrease in heart rate, and recover more quickly than those who show no facial expression. Smiling is not only good for your mind, but also for your health.

5. Your smile is contagious.

One smile can lead to many others. Everyone likes a good smile and sometimes a smile is so nice that you just can't help but smile back.

6. Your smile is beautiful.

Like I said before, a smile can make anyone's day and why is that? because your smile is beautiful and can make anybody feel good about themselves. Don't be afraid to share your smile because even if you may not love it, someone else does. But you should love it because you are a beautiful person, and therefore your smile is beautiful, and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

7. You have your health.

You don't have a cold. You don't have the flu. You are not terminally ill. There are people out there with life threatening illnesses fighting them every day. Just be happy you are in good health and not suffering like them. Be happy you are in good health and using your mouth to smile rather than coughing. Enjoy your good health and smile knowing you can live your life as much as you can.

8. You have your friends.

Your friends, your real friends have been there for you through thick and thin, and they will be here to support you no matter what. They are there for the good, and for the bad, and love you no matter what. They put up with your crazy antics and appreciate all the kind gestures you show them. They chose to be your friend and they are willing to take time out of their day to spend it with you. Appreciate the time you have with them and cherish all the moments you have, whether it was a night of partying, a random trip to the city, a camping trip, fun day at the beach, or just simply hanging out in your basement. You have done a lot together and are close, like family. They have seen you at your best and have been there for you when you were at your worst. Look back on your time with them, and when you think of them, you will catch yourself smiling.

9. You have your family.

They have been there for you since day one. They have watched you grow from a crying little baby to the young adult you are now today. They have helped get you through the rough times and will always be there for you no matter what. They love you no matter what and will always be your number one support system. Yes, they may drive you crazy every now and then, but know that everything they do is out of love. They only want what is best for you. Remember those fun vacations you took together, or just those fun times in the backyard. Your family will always be the most important thing in your life no matter what. They may not be perfect, but they are your family, and you wouldn't want it any other way.

10. You are here for a reason.

Everyone has a purpose in life and we are here for a reason. Don't ever let yourself or somebody else let you believe that you have no purpose. You were put in this world for a reason and your life does have meaning. You can do whatever you set your mind to and you can accomplish anything. You will make a difference, whether it is finding the cure for the common cold, or simply making someone's day better. The only people telling you, you can't do something is someone who tried and failed. Sometimes you will fail, but failure is a part of life. All you can do is just dust yourself off, clean your wounds, and keep on going. You will make a difference and most importantly, you will be happy.

Life is not easy and it does not come without its hurdles. Have the strength to jump over those hurdles and keep going. The first step to getting over those hurdles is a smile. A smile makes a big difference and will give you the strength to keep moving forward. Life may be rough now, but trust me when I say, it is all worth it in the end. You will get to where you need to be and you will be happy. The first step is just to smile. So turn that frown upside down and keep on smiling.

:)

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Yes, I Had A Stroke And I'm Only 20

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
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Recently, I read an article on Cosmo that was written by a woman that had a stroke at the ripe old age of 23. For those of you who don't know, that really doesn't happen. Young people don't have strokes. Some do, but it's so incredibly uncommon that it rarely crosses most people's minds. Her piece was really moving, and I related a lot -- because I had a stroke at 20.

It started as a simple headache. I didn't think much of it because I get headaches pretty often. At the time, I worked for my parents, and I texted my mom to tell her that I'd be late to work because of the pain. I had never experienced a headache like that, but I figured it still wasn't something to worry about. I went about my normal routine, and it steadily got worse. It got to the point that I literally threw up from the pain. My mom told me to take some Tylenol, but I couldn't get to our kitchen. I figured that since I was already in the bathroom, I would just take a shower and hope that the hot steam would relax my muscles, and get rid of my headache. So I turned the water on in the shower, and I waited for it to get hot.

At this point, I was sweating. I've never been that warm in my life. My head was still killing me. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, trying to at least cope with the pain. Finally, I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I picked up my phone to call 911, but I couldn't see the screen. I couldn't read anything. I laid down on the floor and tried to swipe from the lock screen to the emergency call screen, but I couldn't even manage that. My fine motor skills were completely gone. My fingers wouldn't cooperate, even though I knew what buttons needed to be pressed. Instead of swiping to the emergency call screen, I threw my phone across the room. "Okay," I thought, "Large muscle groups are working. Small ones are not".

I tried getting up. That also wasn't happening. I was so unstable that I couldn't stay standing. I tried turning off the running water of the shower, but couldn't move the faucet. Eventually, I gave up on trying to move anywhere. "At what point do I just give up and lie on the floor until someone finds me?" That was the point. I ended up lying on the floor for two hours until my dad came home and found me.

During that two hours, I couldn't hear. My ears were roaring, not even ringing. I tried to yell, but I couldn't form a sentence. I was simply stuck, and couldn't do anything about it. I still had no idea what was going on.

When the ambulance finally got there, they put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back. "Are you afraid of needles or anything?" asked one EMT. "Terrified," I responded, and she started an IV without hesitation. To this day, I don't know if that word actually came out of my mouth, but I'm so glad she started the IV. She started pumping pain medicine, but it didn't seem to be doing anything.

We got to the hospital, and the doctors there were going to treat me for a migraine and send me on my merry way. This was obviously not a migraine. When I could finally speak again, they kept asking if I was prone to migraines. "I've never had a migraine in my whole life," I would say. "Do you do any drugs?" they would ask. "No," I repeated over and over. At this point, I was fading in and out of consciousness, probably from the pain or the pain medicine.

At one point, I heard the doctors say that they couldn't handle whatever was wrong with me at our local hospital and that I would need to be flown somewhere. They decided on University of Maryland in Baltimore. My parents asked if I wanted them to wait with me or start driving, so I had them leave.

The helicopter arrived soon after, and I was loaded into it. 45 minutes later, I was in Baltimore. That was the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital two weeks later. I had a drain in my head, a central port, and an IV. I honestly didn't know what had happened to me.

As it turns out, I was born with a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. Blood vessels and arteries are supposed to pass blood to one another smoothly, and mine simply weren't. I basically had a knot of blood vessels in my brain that had swelled and almost burst. There was fluid in my brain that wouldn't drain, which was why my head still hurt so bad. The doctors couldn't see through the blood and fluid to operate, so they were simply monitoring me at that point.

When they could finally see, they went in to embolize my aneurysm and try to kill the AVM. After a successful procedure, my headache was finally starting to subside. It had gone from a 10 on the pain scale (which I don't remember), to a 6 (which was when I had started to be conscious), and then down to a 2.

I went to rehab after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to rehab. There, I learned simple things like how to walk and balance, and we tested my fine motor skills to make sure that I could still play the flute. Rehab was both physically and emotionally difficult. I was constantly exhausted.

I still have a few lingering issues from the whole ordeal. I have a tremor in one hand, and I'm mostly deaf in one ear. I still get headaches sometimes, but that's just my brain getting used to regular blood flow. I sleep a lot and slur my words as I get tired. While I still have a few deficits, I'm lucky to even be alive.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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I'll Always Be An Organ Donor

I mean, outside of the cute little heart I get to have on my state ID.

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Check yes, nod at the clerk, give them a big thumbs up... It's really not hard to sign up as an organ donor. For me, it looks less than five seconds when buying a state ID to tell my clerk that yes, I did want to donate my organs to anyone in need after I died.

Organ donors like myself are always in high demand, especially because only 3 in 1,000 people die in ways that allow for an organ transplant. That wouldn't be too bad if the vast majority of people were organ donors, but only 54% of Americans are signed up to be donors.

Unsplash- Thoracic cavity

But why aren't people donors?

One word: religion.

While most all major religions are not in opposition of organ donation, studies have found that people will cite their religious beliefs are why they're opposed to donating their organs. Many people believe that they may not have access to the afterlife if their bodies aren't fully intact, but I have a problem with this logic.

"God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them." Hebrews 6:10.

"None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." Saheeh Al-Bukarhi.

Most large religions have this reoccurring theme of altruism, and that's what organ donation is all about: sharing something you have with someone less fortunate. Giving them a body part that I'll no longer be using won't harm me, it will help them, and it will hopefully look good if there's a Big Guy Upstairs.

Unsplash- heart made from neon lights

So go watch an episode of "The Bachelor." In those 60 minutes, 6 people have been added to the organ transplant list.

Go spend a relaxing weekend at the beach. In those two days, 40 people died waiting for an organ transplant.

Go to the DMV. Check that box. Save a life. Save eight lives, even. Be that person's shot at a second life.

It's not like anything is stopping you.

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