At the minute, I’m really struggling with post-traumatic stress from my surgeries and other things that have happened to me over the past few years. One of the things I’m struggling most with is how agitated I am, if I get even slightly bored, it’s like I’m taken over by ‘the rage’ so I’m trying to keep my mind busy. Normally, while I’m driving I whack on some music and have a good drive, singing along and probably looking like a bit of a tit to other drivers passing by. The other night though, I was too hypersensitive to listen to music (thanks, Asperger’s) so decided to listen to a podcast on the way over to my boyfriend’s house. I feel I must mention that podcasts make me feel very cultured and intellectual, making productive use of my drive time to learn something – check me. 5 points to Sophie.
The drive to Ryan’s is pretty short so I clicked on the shortest one I could find and it was a TED Talk by Benjamin Grant called ‘What it Feels Like to See Earth From Space’ – I love stuff like this. I’ve always had this thing where I LOVE places that make me feel small in comparison to the world, I distinctly remember sitting on a beach in the Dominican Republic when I was fourteen, looking out to sea and just feeling so tiny compared to the world. Someone once replied to me telling them this saying ‘God, isn’t that just the worst feeling though?’ but for me, I find it really calming. So, I saw the name of the video and thought YES, right up my street and banged it on – it’s great to listen to.
Recent research by psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania analysed the testimonies of hundreds of astronauts who had been into space and seen Earth from above. They found three common feelings: a greater appreciation for the beauty of the world, a greater sense of connection to other beings on Earth and intense, often overwhelming emotion. The researchers argue that these astronauts were forever changed by this experience – this has been termed The Overview Effect.
Photo taken by Tim Peake over the Mediterranean, 25th January 2016
So, on hearing this Benjamin Grant (an artist) decided he wanted to try and bring this crazy shift in awareness to the average person, from his tiny apartment in New York… In 2013, he launched Daily Overview. From then on, photos taken from space satellites have been posted on the website every day, so that ordinary people, like you and me, can get this daily dose of perspective. Each Overview focuses on a place where humans have had a massive impact on the landscape. What a bloody cool concept.
Shadegan Lagoon, Iran. Image from Daily Overview.
Some of the photos on Daily Overview are absolutely INCREDIBLE – they do what I love and make me realise how small I am in comparison to the rest of the world. The reason I love this so much is because of the perspective it gives me – if I’m feeling crazily anxious and can’t stop my racing thoughts, I like to think about how minor things can be in the grand scheme of the world. Of course, this doesn’t fix everything – some of life’s rubbish events can be totally heartbreaking for you, regardless of whether it affects people across the world, but if it’s a case of failing an exam or doing badly on an essay, it can be nice to remind yourself of how HUGE the world is and how in the grand scheme of your life, it’s a tiny dot on the timeline.
I’m going to make it part of my every day to take a look at these Overviews and give myself a daily dose of perspective. As well as looking on the website, you can also follow Daily Overview on Twitter and Instagram.
Stacks of love,
P.S. I’m trying to get to 2,100 followers on Instagram before my 21st birthday (15th Feb) – please give me a follow if you’re feeling generous! Check out my last blog post on Emily Coxhead and The Happy Newspaper if you’re feeling EXTRA kind.