Sunday, January 1, 2017

Resilience Through a Window

I'm going to try something this year.  Every day I'm going to try to take a picture through the same window in my apartment around the same time of day.

Why?

I watched a TED talk a couple of years ago that said that simply looking out of a window can improve your mood.  It does something to your brain and gives you the vision that there is more out there than your current feelings.  It gives you a physical way to look outside of yourself.

In my wrestlings with anxiety and depression, I have learned that being able to have hope that things will change is actually a very good tool.  Oftentimes, when you are in the middle of a depression, or having high anxiety, you really can't imagine that it's ever going away.  You can't fathom that it's going to change.  If you are able to think "I am not always going to feel this way" or "This will not always be this way", this helps in moving through it. [note: I am not trying to offer simplistic answers for depression and anxiety, I'm just sharing what I've learned on my journey and how I understand that it was helpful]

There's something called resilience, and people who have stronger resilience seem to be better able to handle the difficulties of life. Psychology Today states that "Even after misfortune, resilient people are blessed with such an outlook that they are able to change course and soldier on."

So the other day I had a moment of inspiration and thought, "Hey, if people took a picture through their window every day for a year, they'd be getting the benefit of looking through the window AND they'd see the physical evidence of change over time.  It can help strengthen resilience!"  Not being a scientist or researcher, it seems like a solid hypothesis to me. :)

Maybe taking a picture every day seems like too much.  Take one once a week.  If you're artistic, you can set up a tripod and make sure it's the exact same frame every time!  If you travel, take a picture where you stay (that's definitely evidence of change!).

Most of the time, when I've felt that my situation or circumstances in my life are undesirable, I tend toward a overwhelmed hopelessness, frustrated that things aren't getting instantly better.  The truth is, despite our instant culture, a lot of things are slow.  And that's why building resilience, consistency and patience will serve us well.

Because life is hard.  And there are a lot of sad, painful and disappointing things.  If I can strengthen my mental and emotional muscles to be able to better weather the difficulties of life and live with hope that change is possible, then I want to do that.

I tried to explain my great idea to my husband in Slovak.  It went something like this "I had a good idea.  Every day you take picture through window (long pause of repeating 'through window' trying to figure out which case it was and what ending I needed on 'window').  I watched film. It helps depression (saying 'depression' with a Slovak accent and hoping it's one of the many words that sound similar in Slovak and English)."

Definitely not as eloquent as I feel I am in English.  Learning Slovak is hard.  Sometimes I have that overwhelmed hopelessness that I'm never going to be able to converse fluently in Slovak.  Hmmm, sounds like I could use some resilience and hope of change.

I think I'll take a picture.


10 comments:

  1. Yea! To it all- good words. Love the snow, but if you don't...don't worry it will change :) Praying for you!

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    1. Thanks! I loved the snow dusting that we had!! :D

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  2. I love this idea! I think I'll join you- and post my pictures in your comments section. �� Then you get two windows to peer through!

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    1. Ooh, I would love to see your pictures!

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  3. Beautiful and inspiring! Thank you for sharing, Johanna. I will bookmark this post as a good reminder on the days that are a struggle. Xoxo

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement Zoe! I think another help with resilience is knowing you're not the only one who has "struggle" days. :)

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  4. This is a great idea, especially when you look out of a window on a scene that actually changes..;-) Thank you for sharing! Life is a process of learning all the time isn't it.

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    1. I know! We can count on the weather to change. And yes, constant learning about life and the world in us and around us. :)

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