Psychological research has had a tendency to study negative effects of behavior both on the individual and cultural level. But new research has started to focus more on the positive aspects of behavior. I like this shift, as I think it will change how we interact with the world. In one TED talk I watched, scientists were studying genetic superhumans. That is, people with genetic ‘flaws’ that has proven to give these people abilities normal people don’t have. By getting more knowledge about these ‘superhumans’ we are also a step closer to knowing which environmental, psychological and biological factors contribute to their genetic make-up.
Humans in a big crowd have an inclination to behave the same way. It is difficult to resist the force of it. This is why people, who ordinarily are sensible, can do things that they regret afterwards . It is also the reason people who normally are harmless can become violent.
There are thousand different ways we can be affected by mass suggestion, both in a negative and positive sense.
A mass-suggestion experiment
If I could do a study as a researcher, I would want to look at how positive mass-suggestion could affect us . Let’s for fun’s sake call it a social media experiment. If every person shared the research hypothesis I’m about to present with one person, it would be interesting to see what would happen next.
My hypothesis would be something like: Can we by mass-suggestion, make people around the world do the same thing on the same day?
For example I could propose that the 30th of september, every one of us tried to do one random act of kindness. What do you think would happen? Could it affect us all in a positive way?
The date could be set one year in advance to make sure that many get the message, but as information can spread like fire in the right circumstances maybe it would not be necessary to wait that long.
So, would somebody be interested in an experiment like that? What can each and all of us do by simply being kind towards others?
Why not try? We got nothing to lose.
I am a 29-year-old girl from Norway where I work as a psychologist. On my free time I love to read, travel and experience new things. I also like taking photos and creative activities like scrapbooking and decoupage. My personality? For those of you who know the BIG 5 personality test, I am high on Openness, Conscientiousness, middle on agreeable and on extroversion/introversion. It basically means that I`m a flexible person, work hard, usually don`t make a fuss and love to be with others, while also needing to be alone to think and calm down. I also want to add that I love the Italian language, my family, Haruki Murakami, good music and my friends. I am VERY emotional, but calm when I have to be. Earlier I had a tendency to put other`s needs first, believing that I wasn`t worthy of any attention myself. Luckily I have grown in heart and mind since then, and learnt that being there for others mean taking care of your own needs first.
This blog is a blend of my personal story (called narrative or the sound of..) topics related to psychology and just random things I find interesting. I work daily as a clinical psychologist, and most of my clients have been abused and neglected in heartbreaking ways. Many of my posts will cover subjects related to trauma and dissociation. I am quite open and honest in my posts, because I believe it might make us psychologist less mysterious.
Most of the psychologist I know are kind, intelligent people. Some with their own stories, but all with a genuine wish to help. In this blog I want to share what I know about overcoming challenges and following your dreams.
Since more and more people have started to read this blog, I unfortunately found it necessary to password protect some of my more personal posts. If you want to read them, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also on twitter (@ninjafighter), instagram and Facebook. I also have two other blogs that are dedicated to psychology and the “Kindness project” that I started one year ago, You find them here: Free psychology and The kindness project.
In the last blog I post interviews with different people. I ask them questions about good things they do, and my hope is that their answers will inspire others to do be kind towards others. I have also invited guest bloggers to share their stories on “Free psychology”. They are brilliant writers, so feel to explore their story on this blog. I am always open to invite more bloggers who want to write, so feel free to contact me at any time if you`d like to write about topics relevant for the blog.
I started my blog three years ago, and it has grown so fast I almost can`t believe it. I am really proud of it, and grateful because I have made new friends and found other blogs that I like.
I want to thank all my readers and offer some encouragement to everyone who suffers or have done so in the past. I have been in the deepest valleys myself, and felt emotional pain so intense that I was afraid of it.
I hope this blog might prove that the fight for a better life is worth it.
- What Are the Different Types of Psychologists and What Do They Do? (psychology.about.com)
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in “Big Magic” that when you have an idea that occupies your mind, you must not let it slip away. When we have a dream, a thought that won`t stop arriving into your thoughts, take care of it. Nurture it. Because it might blossom.
This week I have slept well and saved up some energy. And that has made me determined. I have already done one “kindness interview” with a musician, and on Sunday I will interview a famous blogger. I ask them about kind things they have done to others, and hope it will inspire others to do the same. This summer I interviewed The Dandy Warhols, and the artist answered so truthfully that it made me realize why I spend my free time doing things like these: Because it makes me believe in humanity. I have always needed to come up with ideas and follow them through. I started a volunteer organization in a city I lived in before I moved to Bergen, and know I brought people together. But now I am determined to work for my kindness project. It feels like my baby: I try to take care of it and make it stronger. I want my baby to grow up and become an adult that contributes to society.
The logistic of finding people to interview, can sometimes be a challenge. But the obstacle is the way. The harder I work, the better it feels when I get results. Luckily, my circle of friends is growing. I get to meet wonderful people, who are kind and recommend other people I should interview. I also try to interview the man in the street, because every human being has a story. Has their moments when they wanted to make the world a little bit better, by being compassionate towards others. Is the world not wonderful?
We have reached the top of the mountain, and are preparing to walk down again. There is only one problem: Fog is enveloping the mountain, making it difficult to orient ourselves as we start making our way back. We have to turn around a lot of times, and try new paths. Me and my best friend, do our best. We ask people walking upwards, where they come from and continue optimistically. But still, we get lost. A sign points us in a direction that goes nowhere. Suddenly we are surrounded by threes, and my friend remarks that this is what she loves about walking in the mountain. The unrealistic and somewhat dreamy quality of the landscape. The fog makes it even more beautiful. I nod in agreement. It is truly mesmerizing, and I feel alive even if I am a bit afraid that we won`t find the right path and eventually arrive somewhere far away from where we started walking. We pull out our cellphones, and try to let the GPS point us in the wrong direction. After walking around in a circle and through some muddy waters, we finally find a path. And as if in a miracle, we come down not where we started, but a bit further to the right. As it happens, this is actually closer to where we had parked the car, and we sigh in relief. I tell her, that this was the best thing that could happen: We got lost, but found a new way that was actually better. She tells me it was a great trip. For her, mediation is walking.
It is noticing all the small details around her, and I agree. I have tried Yoga, but somehow it does not appeal to me. I like reading, I like walking and I like having time to think while also doing something else. Some people say that walking in the mountains and listening to music at the same time, is not really relaxing. But who can decide what is relaxation? People are different and have different needs. After the trip, I felt great. Like some part of me had awoken from a slumber. The fog did not confuse me. It reminded me that being lost means having a opportunity to find new paths. To arrive somewhere we could not imagine before we started. Being shrouded in mysteries, gives us perspective. By feeling confused, our brain have an unique opportunity to look at things a different way.
And we found our way. Just not in the way we imagined.
Yesterday I walked for 11 hours. It was tough, but worth it.
An encounter at a party changed Gay Hendricks forever. A stranger asked him to imagine himself on his deathbed and to consider this question:
“Was your life a complete success?” If not, then “What would be the things you’d wish had happened that would have made it a success?” Hendricks said his deepest wish was for a loving, lasting relationship with a woman. The stranger said, “turn that wish into a goal, and put it in the present tense.” On the spot, Hendricks came up with this goal, “I enjoy a happy marriage with a woman I adore and who adores me. I enjoy a lifelong blossoming of passion and creativity with her.” This goal helped him create his marriage to Kathlyn, the date he’d taken to the party, and during the past 27 years they’ve become well-known relationship experts and co-authors of 9 books together. This short, focused book shows readers how to discover their own five wishes for a fulfilled life.
Five wishes is a wonderful book. Books CAN change lives, and this one did that for me. Today I sat down to think about what my five wishes are. I am still not completely sure what they should be, but I am starting to get an idea:
- Doing research on EMDR
- I love my boyfriend and am building a life with him
- Continuing writing my book and publishing it
- Writing songs
- I enjoy helping others and will interview people about kind things they have done
This list must still be worked on, but I am getting there. The next step is to pinpoint how I can continue following my dreams, and what I should focus on first.
What are YOUR five wishes?
When I close my eyes, I hear them scream. I see them running, trying to save their lives. I can also see the 10 children who stood no chance and died.
The terrorism in France scared me. But not just that, it breaks my heart. The 22 of July Anders Behring breivik shot and killed innocent teenagers on Utøya. The tradgey is that there is no time to heal the traumas, since another act of terror triggers all who’s lost somebody to terrorist-attacks again. I can not imagine what the ones left behind must be feeling right now. But I can cry. Even if it doesn’t help them, I know the support the families and friends needs, will be provided. Because in even the most horrific situations, there will always be people ready to do all they can to support and help those left behind.
In Norway we tried so hard to not show hate, but love. We wanted to be strong together, and knew that the only thing we could do is to counterattack by the weapons we had available: Our empathy and love. After the terrorism in Norway, we started to volunteer more. We wanted to do something, we NEEDED to do something. To find meaning in the meaningless. And I do hope many in France will do the same. Because terrorism doesn’t occur in a vacuum. There is a reason that extremist become who they are. France is a hard country to live in for many refugees. They are lonely and desperate and easy targets for ISIS. So they find comfort in what they feel are the only alternative: A group that brainwashes them and provide companionship. Even if it’s hard for me, and others, to accept that people can do evil things, we must not sink to their level. Fear is dangerous and polarize society even more. We can’t think that the solution is to send all refugees home. We must work together to find solutions that bind people together.
Luckily, Norway has been blessed. We have a system that tries to integrate refugees into the society. We try to do something about problems before lonely and angry people goes to the step where violence feels like the only option. We are also blessed with millions who are able to respond with love in the worst circumstance. Because we truly do our best to take care of everyone. There are not many murders in Norway, compared to many other countries, but we do fail to prevent many tragedies too. We have no ‘perfect solution’ that will wipe away all the problems we have. But we try our best.
But before we can start solving our problems we must take time to grieve. Grieve over the ones who lost everything they had. The ones who will never see smile on their children`s face and hold them tight. Only then can we start to make changes, to make the world a better place. Because, even if there has been over 200 terrorist attacks the last year, there could have been more. we don’t need to go far back in time to see this: The Holcost killed so many that it’s unfathomableb. My wish is that we can answer the hate by not hating the people who don’t terrorize others, refugees and citizents who come to us in need. Because most of them mean no harm. At the same time we must protect ourselves, but I honestly believe that the best way to protect is to collaborate and find new solution that bring us closer together.