A SIMPLE UPDATE

Today´s post is going to be a little different.

Often I write with the intention of sharing information that might be helpful for everyone and anyone. Tips and tricks inspired by my experiences that may help my readers.

But today´s post is just an update. This post is dedicated to something that happened yesterday that I just can´t get over…

 

So, as you may know, I am an Australian living abroad in Norway with my boyfriend in-between monthly adventures around Europe. Recently, my mum came to visit for a week and a half. We spent our days travelling around the country; hiking mountains, gaping at centuries old wooden churches, and enjoying the Norwegian summer sun by the fjord coast. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and mum had to leave early Monday morning. So the first hours of Monday were spent in bed not wanting to move.

As you can imagine, starting a life in a new country takes lots of time and many unpredicted set-backs pop up along the way. At this point in time, I am working on the not-so-exciting legal aspects of living in a new country and many processes feel endless. Therefore, the combination of my mother leaving and knowing I must return to all my current stressors was a lot to handle.

Feeling homesick and stressed after hugging my mum goodbye at 5am, I shot my sleeping boyfriend a text expressing my grief.

At 8am I receive a response from him asking if everything is okay and if I need anything. Not in the mood to talk and knowing he must be rushing off to work, I replied with a short `No´, and crawled back into a ball of low spirits.

Next minute the phone is ringing. He is calling, but I just don´t have the energy to answer so I stare at the bright screen of my mobile and let it ring out…a totally out-of-character response, as I´m usually very reliable with his calls.

While wiggling back under my blanket I hear the doorbell. Thinking it´s a neighbour, I don´t answer and wait for them to leave.

Suddenly, the door crashes open. My paranoid heart beats a thousand miles an hour as I hide under the blanket, anticipating an armed intruder.

An unexpected weight comes crashing down on to my bed as I feel arms wrapping around me and a familiar voice.

`Hey sneepy!´

A feeling of warmth wells up inside at the realisation of my boyfriend leaving work to come check on me. He describes how he was searching for a hydrangea, my favourite type of flower, to bring and cheer me up but that the store only had the green kind rather than purple, my favourite colour. He stays for a few minutes to give me a good cuddle and promises to have a movie night with me and then runs on back to work.

The next day he takes time off of work to drive me to the immigration department, despite my insistence on taking the bus. Here I receive unexpected news of yet another obstacle to living and working in Norway. My boyfriend takes my hand and promises to help me figure it out as we drive to the tax office for more information.

A few hours of driving, questions and general irritation later, we find a solution and a huge weight that had been plaguing my mind for months is lifted off my shoulders.

So what I´ve learnt recently is 2 things:

  1. Moving is hard
  2. My boyfriend is not half bad

 

 

 

 

DARING TO MAKE PEACE WITH UNPREDICTABILITY

Those days where every step forward leads you three steps back. Yup, we all have them.

For me, the beginning of this week has certainly fit this description. With one thing after another going wrong, I´m left wondering if there´s an escape button for responsibilities?

Stress
This pug gets it.

But, of course, this mentality is not the most productive of sorts. I mean, dwelling on the negative can´t do much good, right? Thankfully, psychology has taught me that our frame of mind can be chosen. And when we can choose to be happy and relaxed why wouldn´t we?

I know what you´re thinking. I can almost hear a little mental chorus repeating,

`That´s easier said than done´.

But let me explain.

One of the most common mantras of positive psychology is to reframe obstacles as challenges. See, the basis of this discipline revolves around focusing on one´s strengths in the face of adversity rather than dedicating time to the weaknesses. Now how does that relate to unpredictability?

Let´s discuss the idea of unpredictability for a minute. Unpredictability is essentially a neutral term, however has an indirect negative connotation due to it´s root´s in irregularity. Irregularity is defined as being unbalanced and a lack of balance is almost always associated with difficulties in one way or another. As such, unpredictability has received a bad rap.

However, as we all know, our lives are full of unpredictability. In fact, every moment of our lives is unpredictable. Unfortunately, to the frustration of human nature, we only have minimal control of our planned existence. Therefore, we´re left having to learn how to deal with it and this is where positive psychology becomes the most useful trick to stash up your sleeve.

Having the ability to reimagine a negative obstacle as a positive opportunity for challenge is essential for inner peace. When we approach something with a negative mindset, we set ourselves up for stress and internal struggle. For many of us, this is our reaction to unpredicted events and over years this becomes our ingrained strategy.

How then can we increase our ability for positive mental reframing? Simply being more conscious of our natural reaction. Scanning the situation for the opportunity rather than the setback and devoting significant attention to it. Of course, you were right when you were thinking it isn´t that easy. Changing how the brain is rewired requires time and consistent practice. But with dedication it can become second nature.

So why choose to see the unpredictable as stressful when there are better options?

 

 

For more on positive reframing, check out this short but sweet TED talk.

 

 

 

RELATIONSHIPS: An Observation on Appreciation

As many of you may know, I have a fantastic boyfriend whom I am currently living with abroad (see below).

IMG_2832

We have been living together for 3 months now and in that time I have learnt quite a bit about cohabiting, but one thing stands out most in my mind and that is appreciation.

Much like every couple, we have our ups and downs. Luckily, the downs only make-up a small minority of our interactions, often ending quickly and on a light-hearted note.

What makes the ups so regular and downs so few you ask? A healthy amount of appreciation.

According to the dictionary this means; recognising and acknowledging the good qualities in another. However, I´d like to take it one step further and suggest that appreciation entails both recognising the good, but also the lack of bad.

Not only being grateful for all the kind daily gestures, but also acknowledging the things that someone foregoes for your sake. Maybe he hates the smell of popcorn so she makes sure not to eat it when he´s home. Maybe she doesn´t like having any light in the room at bedtime so he turns off all his gadgets before they retire.

Not all things are clear and direct and this is what´s so important. To take some time to not only focus on the good, but the absence of bad. For one day you may find yourself looking back on this time as the ´good old days´and you´ll wish you would have appreciated it more.

Of course, it´s vital to mention that the law of appreciation doesn´t just apply to romantic relationships. It plays a significant role in all connections, be they blood or otherwise.

So let´s all just take a moment to sincerely appreciate the one´s we love and extend a little gratitude their way.