Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Memories, Depression & Anxiety

So I've started studying Positive Psychology.
I find it so fascinating that I've decided to write about it here because I've noticed writing down my own thoughts makes me think better (especially if I intend to make these thoughts public), and remember better.

Funnily enough, the first topic I chose to write about is exactly that. Memory.


Our memories are very unreliable things.
I think that's why I like taking pictures.
(These photos were taken at the botanical gardens in Berlin in September 2017)


According to Professor Martin E.P. Seligman memory is not about what happened in the past.
"It seems to be something about the last story you told about the memory, or preparing for the next story you tell."

I think we all have experiences that we've recreated in our minds so that the story we tell about them fits the image we have of ourselves or our situation better.
And I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. If reframing experiences, especially the less than good ones, can make us feel better, then why not use that power?

During my yoga teacher training we were encouraged even, to rewrite our stories. And to keep rewriting them, as often as we feel like it.

It also helps to keep in mind that people do this unconsciously as well. They aren't necessarily lying - they might just have unknowingly created a different version of the same experience for the sake of their own wellbeing.

"So", Martin Seligman continues, "memory seems to be in service of the future, it's not a photographic image of the past. And perception is even worse than that. Perception seems to be a hallucination about the future."



But knowing that our memories and our perception are faulty isn't the most exciting bit I learned.
I think we all sort of know that to be true. (even though it's no fun to have to admit it)



The coolest part is the finding that we are extremely future oriented beings.

"Our default circuit that lights up in the brain when we’re not doing anything in particular is the Imagination circuit. It’s the circuit that imagines the future."

(again according to Seligman in the Coursera.org course you can sign up to here)

Prospection tells us that depression is a disorder of the future, and not a disorder of the past or the present or the world.
In both clinical depression and anxiety there is an overrepresentation of possible negative future events.
And since we know that current therapy for depression is not very successful at present, 
how empowering is it to know that the solution perhaps lies not in digging up the past, but in therapies that are oriented toward better planning and the generation of more (and rosier!) scenarios of possible futures?

The same goes for Anxiety.
"Anxiety is clearly about expectations that bad things are going to happen in the future, yet the entire basis for the therapy of anxiety has been about the past and the present. So, to reformulate psychology as being not about perception and memory, but the way we evaluate and create scenarios of the future, is the place to start. " - Seligman


How might your life be impacted if you were to focus more on practices that help you to plan better and to have rosier views of possible futures? 

I'm curious to find out! You?

If you don't already, follow me on instagram where I'll be sharing many more things I'm learning!


With Love,

Aina

Monday, November 9, 2020

That once-in-a-lifetime Safari

It's just over 2 years ago I had the absolute privilege to experience African Wildlife like never before.
Like stepping out of our lodge and slowly walking backwards and in again after having spotted a group of monkeys during what I can only guess was their morning meeting,


being hypnotised by the stripes on a Zebra,



witnessing lions do what they do best,



discovering a love of birds I didn't know I had,


and just contemplating the magnitude of life from a little boat on the Zambesi river with all these magnificent creatures around us. 


I found myself involuntarily singing tunes from Disney's Lion King in my head ... 



and just had to take a photo of myself, a bit like pinching my arm, to capture that it really was me having this experience.
















 It's a wild ride, this thing we call life.

I can't help to think about who I was back then and how far I've come in the two years since. 
Even though of course a safari is a once in a lifetime trip and something you can't possibly be on 
without feeling an enormous sense of wonder and gratitude 
(being with these animals really teaches you how to be present), 
I wasn't in a good place then. 

I wasn't living my life's purpose, I had strayed from my path ... 
and yet I wouldn't have had this experience if I hadn't thrown my own life and dreams to the side for the sake of someone else's,
so I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.


You're exactly where you need to be.

Just like I was exactly where I needed to be then and exactly where I need to be right now. 

Monday, February 3, 2020

A Most Unusual Airbnb



I don't know how useful this post is but JUST in case you ever need a place to stay for a night on your road trip from the South of France to Gotland (or Amsterdam to Copenhagen for that matter)
I know just the place!

This Vardo can be found just north of Hamburg 
in the back of a beautiful garden on a property that has been in the same family for generations 
(think LOTS of interesting treasures and trinkets, everywhere!) 
and a couple of poneys as closest neighbours. 

I don't think I've ever heard and seen so many different types of birds in the same garden. 
It made for a very idyllic awakening in my velvety orange-and-pink bed 💕
 though Hector was understandably very frustrated he wasn't allowed out.





I'm still so proud of myself for going on this solo road trip (with cat).
The next one, back to France, is coming up soon and I'm happy to report that this time I'm a whole lot less anxious and worried.
My trip taught me so much about the power of the mind and how it's so good at making you doubt just about anything.

Don't let it talk you out of the things that make up the best memories in life.

You've got this!  

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

My peaceful home on a high cliff


 Fridhem - Högklint






I've lived in a LOT of different places over the last few years.
My first home away from home was in a dorm at a Hotel Management school in Nîmes, France.
Then it was an apartment I shared with a colleague while on internship in Saint-Tropez.
After that a studio apartment in a Belgian university town, followed by a house I shared with a friend of mine in Gent, also in Belgium.
Then I moved to Sweden and shared an apartment with a boyfriend in Småland before we took the leap and ferry to Gotland where we moved from one place to the next and then one more before we broke up and I lived on my own again (in the tiniest of spaces) for the first time since that studio apartment. 

If I'm losing you here, I'm mostly listing all these places to test my own memory and to keep track, so just bear with me.

From there I moved to what to this day remains my favourite little house at Muramaris, even though it definitely had its flaws, and then back to apartment life in Visby.

Then in 2016 I left my beloved island and swapped it for Harrogate, England after a brief stint co-housing with my cousin in Brussels.

That adventure ended after not even 2 years, which led me to move back to the South of France and back in with my mum, who in the mean time built herself a completely stunning low emission house.

I've made it a habit to document little details of my living spaces over the years,
so naturally, my current little cottage couldn't escape being photographed. 

My cosy winter retreat by the sea. 
How happy I am to be back on Gotland.
I don't regret having left because I actually think I needed to
but there's no denying it.
This is home. 




Friday, December 13, 2019

How do you fill your cup?





I am so privileged to have a winter all to myself.
A winter in a place of my choice, in a cottage I rented all by myself where I get up when I want, eat what I want, watch what I want and go to bed when I want.
I haven't lived like this in many years and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

And yet I can feel a little weird about it at times.
Am I selfish?
Should I do more?
Should I do more for others?

But then I remind myself that you can't pour from an empty cup, and that even though my cup doesn't feel empty, it definitely doesn't feel as full as I'd like it to be.
So this time is my time to make sure I can do more and give more of myself in the future.
I have lots of plans and ideas but just not enough energy right now, so it seems.
And that's ok.

I'm taking this time to nourish my body (drinking big glasses of water all day long, remembering to take my supplements, sleeping in as long as my body needs, cooking plant-based meals with lots of colours and flavours ... )
as well as my mind which really really thrives when learning new things. (more about that later I'm sure)

It's not always easy to motivate myself to get out and move every day but a membership at the pool (and sauna!) helps, as well as my camera - my loyal companion on all my walks.

I also find leaving my yogamat out so I step over it on my way to the fridge is super helpful to actually get on it on a regular basis! 😂

I've made a list of things that make my soul happy, and I'm making sure to include at least a couple of those in every day. 💜

One thing I love for example is going through old photos.
I take so many pictures!
They don't necessarily tell a story and often don't make it onto instagram and just occupy space on my external hard drive ... which definitely doesn't make my soul happy, so from now on they will get more space right here!

What makes your soul happy?

xxx

Aina