Today’s post is going to be a bit more serious. Austria is
currently overwhelmed with an influx of refugees unlike anything we’ve seen in
our recent history. This has obviously
brought about a variety of reactions, from people saying we should secure the
borders and quit letting anyone in to others working their fingers to the bone
50 hours a week to ensure all those coming in have food, warm clothes and some
form of shelter until they continue their journey.
I’m somewhere in between. I’ve taught and organized a few
German lessons and taken some food, drinks and hygiene products to train
stations, where it’s needed most. I might have helped more if I didn’t have a
full-time job and a degree to finish, but I did as much as I felt I had the
time and energy for. And I felt happier for it. Suddenly, I thought, who cares
if I don’t have a career in the traditional sense or if I end up unmarried with
four cats. Today, a small child who has been through unspeakable things is
going to have cake for dessert, and I bought that cake. And that matters.
Research does in fact show that, as long as it doesn’t make
you feel overwhelmed or put you under too much pressure, altruistic behaviour
has lots of physical and psychological benefits. (A nice literature review on
this came out in 2005 in the International Journal of Behavioural Medicine, Vol.
12, by Stephen Post, if you’re interested.) Helping others and doing things
that are greater than yourself, such as volunteering on a regular basis, may
help prolong your life, protect you from dementia, depression and anxiety, and enhance
your creativity and your resilience. Altruism also improves your self-esteem,
your well-being and your overall mental health. People who volunteer regularly
have also repeatedly been found to be in better physical health and suffer from
fewer illnesses even in old age. And I haven’t even mentioned the obvious
physical and psychological benefits gained by those on the receiving end of
So this week, be selfish. Donate some money (GiveWell
help you decide on a cost-effective charity). Volunteer some of your time. Clear
out your closet and give away last season’s winter clothes.
You deserve it!
Hi lovelies ♥
At first, I thought this blog was going to be about positive psychology and self-development. I knew I wanted to write about something, I enjoy reading about those things, they appeal to a wide audience, and god knows I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to “be better”, whatever that means. But the more I researched these areas and trudged through the literature and tried to come up with topics, the more I thought, who am I kidding? I don’t have the first clue.
I cannot with a clear conscience write about studies that suggest the best way to start your day is with a meditative yoga session and a tall glass of water. Not when I start it standing in front of the mirror with panda eyes, probably wearing two different socks, cursing whomever thought the winged eyeliner trend would be a good idea.
So instead, I’ve decided to write about the only thing I can reasonably claim to know anything about. I’m going to write about what it means to be a twenty-something in 2016.
I’m going to write about trying to find my way in a world that moves so fast and offers such a limitless amount of possibilities, in a world that makes me so dizzy, sometimes all I can do is stagger through it and try not to fall over.
I’m going to write about the little life hacks and routines that help me find my way and make all of it seem less overwhelming.
I’m going to write about the things that make me happy, and sad, and the things that make me angry. I’m going to write about what it’s like to feel like an eleven-year old girl in the body of a twenty-something woman.
I’m going to write about the questions I ask myself. Some are deep, like whether there is such a thing as actually growing up and in how far the education system is to blame for the disorientation of my generation. Some are a bit more superficial, like how come I know nothing about the geopolitics of South East Asia (maybe there is a secret Real Grown Ups meeting where they explain all of it) and will I ever put together the perfect travel make-up bag?
And sometimes I’m going to post selfies, because if people spent hours and days posing for self-portraits in the 15th century, I think I can be forgiven for my moments of vanity.
Lots of love ♥