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!