The most difficult thing that I am faced with (besides constant financial crisis) is deciding on what to focus my studies on in the future. I have bounced all around the board on that one. I’ve thought I’d like to do so many things, and always a week later, I change my mind. I keep going back to the same questions over and over, and that would be “Could I see myself doing this?” Many times, I say to myself: No.
I love Psychology, but I could not see myself working with severely handicapped mental patients who might attack me. I couldn’t see myself sitting back in a chair listening to baby rapists telling me how much they fantasize about raping babies. I couldn’t imagine myself working with suicidal teenagers when I know I’d get that dreaded call that my favorite patient killed themselves. I could not do it. I do not want to have a job where I go home at night and cry. I want a job where I feel happy doing my job and where the things I do actually make others feel happy.
So, I’ve researched several different types of Masters and PhD programs that focus on Psychology, and most of them I feel just drained thinking about, except one. The only one that doesn’t make me feel like I’d run away from it is Positive Psychology. While other disciplines focus on the things that make our mental life break down, Positive Psychology focuses on the things that make us happy in life. Figuring out how to implement things that bring joy to people is more up my alley.
I’ve always been a person who would walk past homes and look at them, daydreaming of how wonderful it must be to live in those big beautiful homes with views of the ocean, or the mountains. How different that feels than looking at the homes of people living in crammed apartment complexes made of cement with no trees to look out their windows at. I think that if I can do anything in this life, I would like to work with city planners, architects and environmentalists to develop cities that focus on nature more. I see this becoming important in our future.
With an environmental crisis in our midst we need to start thinking ecologically. We need to start focusing more on the earth and ourselves. Why are so many people in our world living in such a depressing state? Why are we so focused on money and power? Why are corporations working people to the bone for pennies, just so they can themselves be billionaires? Why are we shoving people into run down apartments and charging them so much money that they have to work two jobs and live paycheck to paycheck, what can we do about these things?
Well, that is not for me to say, nor answer. But there are people out there, who are working on answers to those questions.
What do I want to do? I want to help them. I want to offer suggestions for things such as office spaces, such as city spaces, to reduce stress, to reduce anxiety, to bring in joy and happiness.
When someone is stressed out, doctors prescribe medication, and exercise, and therapy. But, if you take into consideration that people, in general live their entire lives in little boxes (home, work offices, stores) and rarely get out into nature, rarely watch a sunset, and only on occasion travel and see the earth, we are somewhat living in our own versions of prison.
How many hours per day do I sit indoors, and never go outside to see what’s happening on our planet? Many hours. I spend working in an office, or sitting in a classroom, and on weekends I’m locked up in my bedroom trying to find ‘peace of mind’ to keep going on. Listening to relaxing music, listening to the sounds of rain on YouTube, reading a good book, etc.
Sometimes I go out, we go to the movies, to book stores, to the malls. Always indoors. Sometimes we go to the beach, and watch a sunset, and those are the times when my brain really truly relaxes. My stress seems to melt away, I think to myself how silly I am to get caught up in so much stress, and I just watch the sunset.
For me, personally I think we all spend way too much time avoiding going out, because we are sick of dealing with traffic, or perhaps we don’t want to be around other people, or we are just so tired, or everything is too expensive.
What if you woke up in an apartment or home where you could lift the blinds and look out at gardens, and streams and waterfalls, and plants, and your windows opened up to the sounds of rustling leaves, and waterfalls, and wind chimes, and birds singing? What if to get to work, you didn’t jump into a car and rush through traffic, but instead walked out your front door to a beautiful pathway filled with a canopy of lush trees and sidewalks that meandered around gardens and bridges and contained lit up foot paths when you walked home at night, and there was no crime because no one had a need for anything? You could walk safely, and peacefully.
And, business offices didn’t look like square boxes, but they looked like domes made of glass and everyone’s desk faced outwards towards the beautiful gardens and all you saw were trees, and flowers, and rivers, and foot paths, not traffic, nor street signs nor any of that? What if all the ‘streets’, were like subways, underground, where not only did you not have to see them, but not have to hear them? Like underground transportation systems. Or occasionally an over head tram that just for pleasure wound around the outside edge of the city so that you could quickly get home if you wanted to?
I have these dreams.
I wonder what makes people happiest, and how future development will change the way we build in this world? I don’t think cars will be part of it. The cost to upkeep the roads, the resulting pollution, and the dwindling supply of fossil fuels will require a big change in how we move around this planet. I think in the future we’ll figure out a way to live that is less ecologically damaging to our planet and created to provide us the least amount of worry and stress.
Creativity dies under stress and anxiety, and for our future we need to encourage creativity, thus, we need to reduce stress and anxiety. We need a world of creative thinkers if we’re ever going to see the survival of our species.
Happiness is only one key way to do that, but it’s the part I like most.