Tag Archives: mood

Featured: Ryan Wilkus

When I was trying to figure out who I knew who epitomized positivity, I thought about the cheerleaders I’ve known, or my life-of-the-party friends, but instead, my long-time friend Ryan Wilkus popped in my head as the obvious choice. Ryan is a man who has always stayed true to his passions (and his friends), plus—to my knowledge—has never frowned. I thought I’d try to figure out what makes him so happy. My guesses were: fresh air (he is currently living in his tent down in Mankato during the weekdays), lots of musical stimulation or large quantities of Svetka.

EF (Me): How do you keep an optimistic attitude?

RW (Ryan Wilkus): It sounds cliché, but I try to not let the little things bother me and look at the big picture. I consider myself allergic to stress and therefore try to take a logical approach to managing the important things in my life and the things “I” can control. I am also just giddy about the cool adventures that are in my future.

EF: What activity makes you most happy?

RW: Currently its rock climbing. I never feel more alive like when I am scaring the crap out of myself. Not to mention, I love being outdoors because everything becomes simpler.

EF: Is there something that you thought would make you happy but it didn’t?

RW: Taking chances and putting your self out there is always prone to failure, but its only a failure if you don’t learn anything from it.

EF:How about something you thought would make you upset but actually put you in a better mood?

RW: I am often times a reserved person(recluse at times) but most of the times I decide to socialize it is more fun than I predicted.

EF:What was the happiest moment of your life?

RW: I don’t really have one happiest moment. I try to live day by day and enjoy all of them. But to be honest, this summer has been the best time of my life……..so far.

EF: Who do you most admire for having a positive attitude?

RW: My biggest influence lately is my friend Lizzy because she lives by the seat of her pants and her heart.

EF:Where do you want to be right now?

RW: In the mountains.

EF: If you were going to the electric chair, what would be your final meal?

RW: My fathers homemade pronto pups and a glass of 1919 root beer.

EF: Who do you admire most in the area of music?

RW: Derek Trucks. He is one of the most amazing guitarists.

EF: In the area of design?

RW: Mother nature, Nikola Tesla, Frank Loyd Wright. Too many cool designers to list.

EF: What’s your dream job?

RW: An audio electronics engineer designing any kind of audio equipment. Or a mountaineering guide…….who knows maybe both.

EF: What would you tell the 12-year-old you?

RW: Don’t stop exploring!

EF: If you could give anyone advice, what would it be?

RW: Live the way that makes you the happiest. Then it will be a life not wasted.

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Positive Playlist

My final paper my senior year at college was about how your mood can be affected by the music you listen to, and also the affect it has on the way you process information. In the same way that being around positive people makes you feel more positive, music can lighten your mood. I’ve always felt that instinctively from being involved in music. In High school I would listen to Matchbox 20 to bury myself deeper in a bad mood. Before tests I always listened to complex music Mozart or Chemical Brothers to prepare my brain for analyzing lots of information together. When I’ve pushed myself too far through bad relationships, there’s nothing that calms me as much as Jack Johnson.  I got an A on the paper by the way.

Here are some of my top favorite songs from my “Positive” Playlist:

  • Just Fine—Mary J Blige
  • All Right Now—Free
  • Keep Your Head Up—Andy Grammer
  • Touches You—Mika
  • I’d Like To—Corinne Bailey Rae
  • The Whip—Locksley
  • Motown Philly—Boys 2 Men
  • ABC—Jackson 5
  • Let Her Dance—The Bobby Fuller Four
  • Turn My Swag On—Alexa Goddard
  • Feelin’ Groovy—Simon & Garfunkle
  • Hey, Hey We’re the Monkies—The Monkies
  • I Am Not My Hair—India Arie ft Akon
  • Crocodile Rock—Elton John

I’d love to hear what music you listen to in order to improve your mood.


No to Negative

“There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.” — Maya Angelou

It’s a little ironic that the day I get back from visiting my most sarcastic friend in the most stereotypically depressing city in the world, I start a project on staying optimistic. Yesterday I woke up at 4am (their time) and got into Orlando (having only had sprite and a few handfuls of peanuts) at 4pm. Logan was running late, so by the time I got home it was 6:30. It was probably the worst possible day for trying to be positive, because I was so tired I was in hysterics, even getting frustrated with Logan for not dropping his chili immediately to say goodnight to me. He laughed, I got more neurotic. Then today I caught myself telling Graham that I suck at being positive. Good start.

Here’s the plan:

  • Stay upbeat and see the bright side of things. Studies show that even when you act like you’re in a good mood, not only does it lift the people around you up, but you actually start feeling happier yourself.
  • Have a well-rounded diet with an emphasis on good mood foods like complex carbs (e.g. brown rice, quinoa), B vitamins (e.g. milk, citrus fruits), “happy fats” (e.g. Fish oil, olive oil) and of course anadamine (chocolate!). This also means limiting my intake of depressant like alcohol and not over-eating.
  • Exercise. Preferably outside and at least 20 minutes a day. I’m going to do an exercise project later, but the release of endorphins when you exercise has too much of an impact on positivity to not include.
  • Keep myself surrounded by positive activities like listening to comedy and positive music, reading Bossy Pants by Tina Fey and only watching comedy movies/shows.
  • Keep myself surrounded by positive people. Also, just making sure I don’t isolate myself. Studies show that both extroverts AND introverts get a mood boost from connecting with other people.
  • Smile and laugh more.
  • What is it that they say at AA? “Accept the things I can not change”? This goes for events, people and all the lists I keep.
  • Write in a gratitude journal everyday.

Carried over from other projects:

  • Gluten-free diet.
  • More fresh veggies and fruits.
  • More hobbies and activities, less TV.
  • Avoid things that conflict with who I am.