The Good Stuff: The Neuroscience of Trust, America's Growing Creative Class, and Coal Miners Retraining as Beekeepers

It’s month two of my “Positivity As An Act Of Rebellion” movement and it’s going well. My headspace is better. I feel less triggered. People are engaging with me in a more positive way within my social media space. I feel lighter and less anxious in relation to my social space. It’s already paying off.

Social Media Trigger Cleansing has been a big step in this process. I first unfollowed people and accounts that wreck my good vibes. I have selectively limited the news outlets I subscribe to to only stay current with the most objective and least inflammatory ones. I have decided not to re-share “hot” subjects for the most part because truly, no one needs me repeating and re-posting that garbage (no matter how much I may agree with it). That just fuels the division and cognitive dissonance that’s so prevalent these days. I’ve had to be really thoughtful and practice some self control, but it’s getting easier and the positivity that I’m receiving in return for it is the best reward.

Below are a few questions I have asked myself that you can, too, in order to help you create a more positive social media experience for yourself (and others):

  1. Ask yourself, when do I spend time on social media? Is it when you’re bored? Tired? Looking for inspiration? Dealing with FOMO? Consider your answers and make a conscious effort to be more intentional about your time on the platforms you engage on. This action of thoughtfulness has helped me eliminate mindless scrolling, which tbh has always lead to me seeing the stuff that wrecks my day: people’s argumentative hate, news about whales dying with tons of trash in their stomachs, pictures of kids dying on beaches, etc etc etc. I’ll take a PASS. I know it’s happening, I don’t need incessant reminders. Further, catching myself social media creeping when I’m tired or bored gives me a kick in the pants to stop and practice some real self care. Nap or go to bed! Go drink some water! Call your best friend! Take a walk outside! All of these are better for my soul than reading about Taylor Swift’s feuds or news updates about the Amazon forest fires or seeing someone’s uncle’s posts about their right to display confederate flags. It’s like a well-rounded diet. Treats are great, but it’s better to sparingly indulge. Too much just makes you unhealthy and unhappy.

  2. How do I feel after I’ve spent time on social media? If you feel the ways I mentioned above, reconsider who you follow. How long are you on? What can you be proactive about that will change it to be a more positive experience? Do you need to take some social media fasts (in keeping with the diet analogies)? Do you need to cut down on the heavy stuff? Do what you need to do to ensure you disconnect feeling better and not worse than when you started.

  3. Most importantly, how can I be intentional with this part of my life? For me, cutting it out entirely just isn’t something I want, although I’ve certainly considered it. That option eliminates a lot of opportunities for me to have genuine connections with people I really like or to see aesthetic pages that bring me joy. However, I am far more purposeful about who I follow/who I allow to follow me, what I post, and how I engage with other people’s posts. I used to get a sick strange relish out of positing something and watching it catch fire with argumentative comments. My adrenaline would amp and I’d feel simultaneously terrible for bringing this negativity into my space and amazing for “schooling someone” on something in front of others who may be reading the comments. But THIS IS NOT PRODUCTIVE, nor does it attract good energy into my life, so I’m done with it. ::brushes imaginary dirt off hands::

Related but unrelated, I’ve decided to try to make #PositiveBitchJuice a thing (haha, I know). I feel like I need something to counter the (currently) trendy tag of #DumbBitchJuice. (Oh, what is dumb bitch juice, you ask? Well, according to the very scientific Urban Dictionary, DBJ is “A drink you drink when you know something is f*cking stupid but you do it anyways".) Positive Bitch Juice, then, is what you drink that helps you rise above a trigger or a toxicity. It’s when you practice love over judgement. It’s when you’re feeling low and remind yourself that you’re worthy and beautiful. It’s when you respond rather than react. Positive bitch juice is when you own your authenticity. Best of all, it’s always fresh and it’s always on tap (and it’s way healthier than Dumb Bitch Juice!).

Thank you for coming to my TED talk. Now enjoy some good stuff:

On the neuroscience of trust.

I giggled a little at this hipster ipsum text filler.

Why we should linger: in advocacy of taking one’s time.

I love love LOVED this talk by the creator of Design Sponge: “Let’s try to invest in the people that pick us up when we’re down, that remind us of who we are. People who know that we are not our brands. People that remind us that we matter exactly as we are.”

Why it’s essential to cause “good trouble” and always work to stir up the status quo.

A few books on color theory.

I presented my capstone on the correlation between health and green spaces in urban areas back when I was an undergrad, and I continue to find myself deeply absorbed in the topic. Here scientists analyzed the benefits of green space on mental health using GIS. No surprise, more green = more positive findings.

Want to feel happier? Try striking up a convo with a stranger!

The geography of talent: these maps reveal where the creative class is growing in the U.S.

An Indonesian suburb was built on top of a… shopping mall?!

These portraits of children are absolutely stunning.

Don’t touch, eat from, or even breathe too close to this tree, or you will be in for a painful surprise (or even death!)

Our galaxy’s black hole just sparkled.

What you can do to improve your office culture and built a positive, supportive environment.

Where is America’s Best Bathroom? (oh yes, it’s a thing!)

This artist explores the devastating numbers of threatened populations around the world and then converts them into chaotically stunning cartographies.

I’m newly obsessed with this artist.

West Virginia coal miners are getting retrained as beekeepers to boost the economy and the environment.

On the term “concentration camps” and policing the true meaning of suffering.

The politics of the female tongue.

Does our happiness hinge on learning to embrace being lazy?

We are so much more than our work.

Did stone-age humans paint for leisure?

Insects are totally having a literary moment (and I’m adding these to my to-read list!).

Why we argue in paradise.

This article on the “wellness industry” (quotes very intentional) and the ways to achieve actual wellness really stuck with me. Yes to more common sense sustainable health practices and down with bogus wellness trends!

source : Suchitra Mattai

source: Suchitra Mattai

Happy Friday!

xoxo

Britta

The Good Stuff: Positivity as an Act of Rebellion, Beer Can Aesthetics, and The End of Meat

Happy August, ya’ll! Can you feel the season approaching change? I’m starting to notice leaves turning yellow and red around here…not many, but just enough to give me that inkling of autumn being near.

It brings me a lot of joy. I truly love fall.

Speaking of joy, can we talk about positivity for a second?

We need more of it. I recently (finally) reached a point of utter disgust and frustration with my personal facebook account and how hostile that platform has come to be. I’ve been toeing the line of being fed up with it for quite some time, but I always wind up back in it. I equate it to being stuck in an abusive relationship: I keep telling myself “no, I’m better than this” and “this is toxic, I don’t need this in my life”, but time and time again I come back.

So you know what? I’m going to harness this hold it has on me and aggressively rebrand my small space right there on the interwebs to be as positive and joyful as possible. This is how I’ve run my other social media accounts for a while now (my Twitter is literally only things that I love), but Facebook has lingered as a place I can post inflammatory things and watch them catch fire with arguments between people I know (and don’t know, tbh). And you know what? It’s really harmful to my inner peace. It brings me absolutely no joy whatsoever and it stresses me out. And lord help me don’t even get me started on the news feed. DEPRESSING. I’m not so naive as to assume the world isn’t a flaming garbage fire in so many ways, but I’ll be damned if there isn’t good stuff in it, too. So here we go. I’m launching Positivity As An Act of Rebellion. It’s officially ON.

> side note: I will still post a variety of things here, good and bad, but it will have to pass muster in my very scientific scale of value. Does this add value to my/your life? If not, it ain’t happening. I’ve tried to stay really true to that mindset when posting for The Good Stuff (basically what this blog has become), but I will be even more mindful of it going forward.

BLESS UP. #positivityasanactofrebellion

Why is beer can aesthetic having a moment?

Nature is so healing, I feel like I come back from a walk in the woods with a renewed energy. It turns out that’s actually medically studied. Some people call it “the nature fix”: the incredible link between nature and your emotions.

How to design a curiosity-driven career. I. Love. This.

The philosophical lessons offered by a very (very) large rock.

This article about control and leadership really resonated with me. Aaron Dignan’s analogy about leading like a “traffic light” vs a “roundabout” gave me a total eureka moment.

Over 4,000 volunteers have come together and contributed to this mural of brotherhood on the U.S.-Mexico border.

I am smitten with these vibrant national park landscapes by Heinrich Berann, and even more intrigued by the way he augmented landform placement and true geography but still held true to the essence of each place.

Gratitude will make you healthier.

I love this quote and the talk that comes with it: “Let’s try to invest in the people that pick us up when we’re down, that remind us of who we are. People who know that we are not our brands. People that remind us that we matter exactly as we are.”

How refugees are using GIS to map their geographies and experiences.

I’d love one of these beekeeping boxes for small spaces!

Offset your carbon footprint through a subscription…is it too good to be true? Too easy? Does it take away the accountability of our actions in the moment? I’m curious to see.

You you need a network of low-stakes, casual friendships and connections (seriously, your health will benefit!).

Is this the beginning of the end of the meat industry? (I hope so!)

A peek into the unexpected history and heritage of emojis.

xoxo Britta

The Good Stuff: The Health Benefits of Tattoos, Cephalopod Week, and the Best Bob Ross Pep Talks

It’s a two-fer!! Two posts in a single month, hot dang look at me go!

Small update: I have reopened my shop (!) . I’m trying to keep things on the lighter side until I am officially done with grad school, but if you’re looking for any Bert+Lou cards, they’re available for purchase again. Yippee! I am also accepting wedding suite and glassware orders, albeit in limited amounts. Pet portraits are on hold, as is larger scale art. Thanks for all your love and support (and patience). I appreciate you!

Oh, and of course, happy father’s day weekend!

Can a tattoo help with your health? I’m itching for my next one, so this may help me justify it to my mom (sorry Mom).

Modern Tahitian portraits by Kahinde Wiley challenge history and Paul Gaugin’s problematic racial depictions and over-sexualization of natives to the Tahitian islands he once called home. As much as I appreciate Gaugin’s work, in particular his use of pattern and color, it certainly needs to be addressed how his paintings often (usually?) sexually objectified his subjects as the “exotic other” for viewers back home in France.

The Hong Kong Ballet recently rebranded and all I can say is NEON TUTUS:

Lately I am really feeling the mindset that it’s okay to be good and not great (tying into last month’s article on why Perfectionism is a Hustle). Let’s hear it for living in the moment, self-forgiveness, and letting your heart be your guide.

Can science tell us what beauty truly is? Neuroscientist Anjan Chatterjee weights in on the neurology of creativity.

Feeling down? Here are the best Bob Ross pep talks.

I am all about this article on getting away from busyness and reclaiming your life. ::applauds wildly::

What does your digital footprint reveal about your psychological profile?

Botanical sexism” could be the reason your seasonal allergies are so wicked. “When used for street plantings, only male trees should be selected, to avoid the nuisance from the seed.” It’s like The Handmaid’s Tale for trees!

I am completely smitten with these over-the-top macrame headdresses. Stunning!

Is this heaven?! A dog-themed theater in Texas serves canine-themed films and serves free wine. Sign me up.

Fashion designer Fredrik Tjærandsen’s runway show with performative inflatable garments has me chuckling, but I do quite appreciate it.

The most exceptional trees in Hawaii’i. Be sure to check out the interactive map.

New hero: This dude totally shreds on the recorder.

Something I was previously unaware of but feel strongly about: shark may be in your food or body products! I have signed petitions against shark finning, but who knew there was so much more to it than that (obviously not me, feeling like a doofus over here). Check out this article for more details and for ideas on how to shop smart and take action.

I think I’d like to visit this rainbow village in Taiwan.

Looks like I’ll be adding this lightning bug experience in the Smoky Mountains to my ever-expanding bucket list.

Always stressed? Here’s how your workouts may help or exacerbate the issue (and the resulting levels of cortisol).

In favor of filling your space with that which brings you joy.

In another life I would have gone to school to study cephalopod neurobiology. Thus, I find myself a smidgeon obsessed with them. To celebrate them in all their glory, here is a cephalopod extravaganzaaaaa!

Why scientists love cephalopods (and can ya blame them?!). <3

Finding new ways to see— what we can learn about intelligence and creativity from our friend the octopus.

Cephalopod week, at least as cool as shark week!

xoxo

Britta

The Good Stuff: Glowing Wounds, Neuroscience as Art, + the Best Life Mantras

Buenos dias, mis amigos.

Have any fun plans for this holiday weekend? I intentionally under-booked myself, unlike I normally do (I tend to schedule myself to death and then find myself exhausted and zero percent recharged by the end of the weekend…ugh). I had a moment of clarity in Cabo recently (humble Cabo brag) that I need to actually allow myself time to unwind! I’ve had this hustle mindset of doing all the things and proving (to whom?) that I’m succeeding (let’s not unpack all that baggage right this moment, shall we?), and gosh darnit it’s exhausting.

So this weekend I am planning to sit by my pool, read my book, sleep in, make strawberry margaritas with the succulent strawbs I picked up at the farmer’s market yesterday, and generally just allow myself to lounge. I.can’t. wait.

I’ve got some goodies to keep you busy this weekend, especially if it’s supposed to rain near you like it is here by me and you’re expecting some indoor time :)

Enjoy.

As it turns out, there are two types of creativity, and they peak at different ages.

An art historical journey to free the nipple.

Weird science: how a few civil war soldiers started glowing from their wounds…and healed faster.

Feeling work burnout? As someone who cried the week before I left for vacation and then spent days in my own head trying to assess if I’m burned out or just stressed, I wish I’d had this article a little sooner. The point about trying to be the best at all the things really resonated with me!

This celestial photograph just blew my mind (and it was taken by “amateurs”!).

Take this quiz to find out your creative type. The questions are unusual and I love that. I got “The Revolutionary” :)

14 of the world’s most charming libraries.

What exactly is a mantra, and how can it help you live your life more fully? One of mine is “it’s a good day to have a good day”. Even if I don’t fully believe it at the time, saying it helps reset my attitude on hard days and allows me to reclaim what I have left of the day, rather than letting a set back trash the remainder of my waking hours.

One of the coolest videos I’ve ever seen, this neuroscientist/artist creates art work that absolutely blows. my. mind. Without spoiling too much of his process, his idea to utilize reflective gold leaf in order to mimic synaptic firing is gee dang genius if you ask me. I’m so obsessed I even hunted him down elsewhere: instagram, website.

You can now stay at the bus from Spice World. Yep, that’s right! It will be listed on AirBnb and do I suddenly need a trip to the UK?!

Struggling to identify an emotion you’re feeling? Use this emotion descriptives wheel to really clarify and fine-tune how you’re feeling. The only way to work it out is to fully identify and see what you’re working with.

5 books Bill Gates wants you to read this summer. I have officially added all of them to my reading list.

Why you need white space in your daily routine.

Back in the day, I wrote a post about why artists deserve to get paid. If you are trying to find that sweet spot of income as an artist, here’s a guideline for pricing your work!

Perfectionism is a hustle. I never thought about it this way but it makes so much sense.

What a beautiful tiny house in rural Japan can teach us about the health of cities

via

xoxo

Britta

The Good Stuff: The Truth About Your Wasabi, My New Favorite Instagram Accounts, and The Awesome Women of Geoscience

Hello again and welcome to The Good Stuff. I hope the weather is warm and your windows are open. :)

A taxidermist I’d like to be friends with.

The amazing microscopy of trees.

Who was Marjorie Sweeting? (hint: the queen of karst) ((oh, and also one of my heroes)).

Zonia Baber: Another lady of geoscience and all around badass…

…And a third, Marie Tharp, who pioneered mapping the oceans.

Love dogs? Then you’d better check out NYC’s Museum of the Dog.

The fantastically creative world of Nina Katchadourian.

On awe.

Books spark joy (and why a person’s bookshelves are a great reflection of who they are).

Bookstores worth traveling for.

Did you know? Here’s why your “wasabi” probably isn’t.

These walls bring me so much joy.

What is “the IKEA effect”?

My new favorite instagram account. This guy brings me so much joy….

… okay This one too.

This mother-son duo are translating astrophysics into Blackfoot! It’s gloriously poetic and just fills me with all the feelings!

Take me to the chapel! :D

A rainwater collecting art installation dazzles like chandeliers in the trees.

aaaand some serious stuff:

This politically contentious southeast corner of Utah was protected for 11 months before becoming, quite suddenly, unprotected. This interactive article from the Washington Post makes a case for its preservation, despite the best efforts of the... Environmental Protection Agency? Hmm...

I know too many women who have had their pain or persistent symptoms dismissed (myself included) and it makes me rage! Here are some ways you can advocate for yourself if you feel like your doctors aren’t hearing you (sadly, it’s a thing).

Turmoil in Venezuela has put its national parks in peril.

More ways the Trump administration is sabotaging conservation efforts.

An eloquent article about white privilege.

xoxo

Britta