Being Weird is Great for Community

It’s OK to be weird, if anything it’s good that you’re weird. The old adage to “just be yourself” rings true and you should embrace it by embracing other people who are being true to themselves (remember that being weird doesn’t mean you get to be a jerk). We know that having a diverse team is better than a monolithic one and that is also accurate when it comes to how people think about the world around them regardless of their background. Communities benefit when “weird” people are a part of them. So go ahead, be weird and accept other people’s weirdness too.

As Joan Didion put it, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” It’s something I like to remember whenever I start worrying that I’ll never be successful because I hadn’t heard of Joan Didion until a few years ago. We do tell ourselves stories, and it matters what type of stories we tell ourselves. The people I met for my book told themselves more positive stories about their lives — about why they were still just as good, even though they were different. For instance, I interviewed a “choice” mom — one who had a baby on her own through artificial insemination — who focused on how much easier it was to make all of your own parenting decisions. A poor kid who went to a ritzy private school emphasized the advantages he did have, rather than the European vacations he missed out on.

They seemed to understand that if no one else is okay with you, you have to be okay with yourself. You have to be ready to embrace your weirdness.

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Mental Health Tips to Help You Get Through Social Distancing

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Weeks of practicing social distancing can get tiring since we don’t feel as physically connected to our social groups as normal. That’s ok, we all feel that way. So what do we do about it? We can practice good mental health hygiene too.

Over at Discover they have seven tips from a clinical psychologist to help you find ways to mirage any anxiety or stress you’re currently feeling due to the pandemic. You don’t have to take all their advice, but some might be worth considering for you and maybe your entire household.

Routine is your friend
It helps to manage anxiety, and will help you to adapt more quickly to this current reality. Create clear distinctions between work and non-work time, ideally in both your physical workspace and your head space. Find something to do that is not work and is not virus-related that brings you joy. Working in short bursts with clear breaks will help to maintain your clarity of thought.

Be compassionate with yourself and with others
There is much that we cannot control right now, but how we talk to ourselves during these challenging times can either provide a powerful buffer to these difficult circumstances or amplify our distress. Moments of feeling overwhelmed often come with big thoughts, such as “I cannot do this,” or “This is too hard.” This pandemic will cause a lot of stress for many of us, and we cannot be our best selves all the time. But we can ask for help or reach out when help is asked of us.

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Listen to this Song to Reduce Your Anxiety

Marconi Union – Weightless (Official Video) from Optical Vitamins on Vimeo.

The song Weightless by the Marconi Union has been proven by neuroscientists to reduce people’s anxiety, and in times like a pandemic we can all get too stressed out. Following in the tradition of ambient music artist the group set out to create an aural atmosphere that welcomed and comforted people. Don’t take my word for it, click play on the video above and relax.

According to Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International, which conducted the research, the top song produced a greater state of relaxation than any other music tested to date.

Equally remarkable is the fact the song was actually constructed to do so. The group that created “Weightless”, Marconi Union, did so in collaboration with sound therapists. Its carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines help slow a listener’s heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

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Climaginaries: Understanding the Post-Carbon World

Fiction is an effective tool to picture how others live and what other possibilities exist for humanity. Stories like Star Trek inspire people to strive to make the imaginary real through existing science and technology, so why not do that for the transition to a fossil fuel free economy? That’s exactly what Climaginaries is trying to do. The program searches for the best works of fiction that can help people foresee the benefits of a fossil free future.

Lastly, the project aims at enabling new ways of envisioning transitions to a post-fossil world. In this component we turn to the cultural realm to explore creative ways of producing imaginaries that go beyond conventional climate efforts. Through a series of activities, scholars and artists will be brought together to enable the development of new climate imaginaries. Activities could include, but are not limited to, writing climate fiction based on modelling, and modelling climate fiction based on imaginaries in literature, art, TV-series and cinema. Additionally, we will collaborate with local artist-in-residence to produce innovative forms of new imaginaries. The exact form for this is yet to be decided on, but could include an exhibition, an installation or a theatre performance. The creative characteristic of this component also allows us to study imaginaries outside the common framework such as radical and unsustaianble imaginaries.

Check it out.

Successful People are “Lazy”

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It’s ok to be lazy.

In fact, incorporating come lazy behaviours into your work might make you more productive. As counter-intuitive as that sounds, it’s true. There are certain tricks that you can easily incorporate into your day to day at work to enhance what you do, even though others might think those tricks are lazy. Sometimes it’s just a matter of saying no to work that isn’t yours to do and other times it’s taking a break.

6. Taking regular vacations.

“If you love what you do, every day is a vacation.” Nice in theory, lousy in practice. Even if you love your job, taking space from the work you do and having your mind elsewhere is essential to break out of the habit patterns that keep you stuck in your work.

In a discussion on travel between journalist Ezra Klein and economist Tyler Cowen, Klein remarked that he often feels exhausted from travel. Cowen responded that he is able to travel so much, because he treats travel with the seriousness most people apply to work. Instead of expecting it to be leisure, he sees it as an opportunity to expand his knowledge.

I agree with Cowen. Travel is not the only way to broaden your mind, but regularly going somewhere new—physically or mentally—is essential to avoid getting stuck in stale habits. Your routines eventually prevent you from discovering creative new solutions. Seeing and discovering new things is essential to prevent becoming inflexible in your thoughts and actions.

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