And just like that..

I am back in love with statistics and everything involved. ❤︎ I have spent the past days re-reading all of my notes, going over various forum posts and re-listening to recorded tutorials to figure out where I had gone wrong in my calculations. It was stressful even horrifying at times and there were moments when I thought to myself ‘this is it, I will never learn to understand this…I am done. D.O.N.E!‘. Luckily I am very stubborn and have a rather good gut feeling about things so I kept on going, and yesterday I finally found the solution to all my statistical problems. And just like that, a lot of things simply seemed to click into place and I could see the bigger picture of what I was trying to do. The much needed ‘light bulb moment’ had finally arrived! So, I am currently writing up my experiment and results, which is going swimmingly now. Worst part is over, because explaining what I did, how I did it and why I did it is the easy part in my book. Anyway, my plan is to be done my Friday evening, so I then can take on the next two assignment that are due on the 6th and 7th. Studying is hard work, and the closer you get to finishing the harder it gets. I am rather amazed by the steep learning curve this year and increased demands, phew!

Running and the benefits of being outdoors.

Sunday, and its all blue skies outside couldn’t be nicer weather to be honest. Of course still winter and cold (-10 this morning) but I cannot wait till I will be out running in a couple of hours. Till then I am trying my best to finish a psychology assignment involving SPSS and Anova. I really enjoyed SPSS to begin with, but now it is getting a bit more complicated and I must admit that I am a tad confused. Hopefully it will be crystal clear after this assignment. I often find that I tend to learn and develop the most during assignment weeks. I suppose it is because my brains had enough time process all the information and once sat down and re-reading everything fall into place. Anyway, for the time being I’m a bit stuck and waiting for my much needed ‘light bulb moment’ to appear, those of you that are students will know exactly what I mean!

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Anyway, in a couple of hours I will gear up warm and head off out in the sunshine for 40 minutes of rejuvenating running therapy. Since my last post I have only had to run at the gym once, and to be perfectly honest I hope that I wont have to go back and do it again! As I have stated before, I love the gym for strength training – just not for running. I need the fresh air, greenery and the immense sensation of complete freedom when I gaze across the Swabian alps. My psychology studies have recently been going over the concept of restorative environments – a place or situation where I as an individual am able to recover baseline levels of functional resources and capabilities that may have been lessened by stress or under-stimulation. Simply said; one way for me to restore those levels is to spend time outdoors in nature, and it is my reason for always running outdoors if it is possible.

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Psychological research suggest that some places indeed are better for ones well-being such as natural environments and natural aesthetics. Evidence for this have been provided by many including Roger Ulrich (1983) who investigated how hospital patients recovery was affected by whether or not they had a window which looked out on  a natural view. Results indicated that this was the case, showing faster recovery and increased ability to deal with pain when exposed to natural environments. Greenery matters folks, and nature truly matters to us as human beings. Our bodies does not only need to move to remain healthy our mind and body also reacts to our environment its shapes, colours, textures and sounds. If we constantly are surrounded by ‘non natural’ cold environments our bodies react accordingly and stress levels may increase.

To ease stress levels for people living in a city, public parks were constructed as a source of relaxation from the busy city life and an opportunity to reconnect with natural settings. To me, this is where ‘ecopsychology’ really gets my juices flowing, I am so fascinated by how our brain reacts to nature and how healing it can be to spend some time outdoors. This is yet another reason to why many medical doctors and psychiatrists ordinate rest and outdoors activities instead and/or in combination with anti depressants. Nature heals, nature is natural and of great importance for our mental health. All of this knowledge and understanding does serve as a great motivation to spend more time outdoors, to hike, run and enjoy the beautiful world we live in. Do you feel the same or do you prefer and find comfort in truly urban environments, and if so – why do you think that is the case?

Keen to learn more about restorative environments?

Roger Ulrich – Green is good for you  ←
Ulrich, R. S. (1983) ‘Aesthetic and affective response to natural environment‘, in Altman, I. and Wohlwill, J. F. (eds) Behaviour and the Natural Environment, New York, Plenum Publishing, pp. 85-126. You can buy the book here!
Mind.org.uk – A new green agenda for mental health  ←

Back to nordic walking.

Started this morning with some nordic walking in the nearby areas, it is a really nice way to wake up mind and body before breakfast. Ideally I would have loved to go for a proper hike in the national park but since it is gym day today it had to be a shorter walk instead. Went out for a run yesterday which was a lot more enjoyable than the former one so I am feeling great about my training at the moment. Though I had a bit of a break, I am slowly and finally able to ease my way back into a more active life again. Thumbs up for that!

mw1mw2mw3mw4

Warm oatmeal porridge and gorgeous American blueberries after the walk and now I have the fuel for a few hours of studying before heading off the gym. Really enjoying these two psychology modules at the moment, investigating the ‘theory of mind’ and animal minds. Incredibly to develop a better understanding of the similarities as well as differences between humans and non human animals minds. So far it has actually made me even more steady in my belief of staying away from eating meat even though that is not at all the aim of the course. However, wider knowledge  of animals emotional lives and ability to interpret their surroundings does make me even more humble towards all the beautiful creatures that we share our world with.

Saturday evening, study books and running plans!

Spending my Saturday evening in front of the computer, creating various mind maps with the fantastic ‘Simple mind‘ app. If you are a student and do not use it already, go and download it pronto! You will not be disappointed, it is that good! This study year is rather packed with information and I spend most of my days studying either theory or numbers (currently learning SPSS). I really don’t mind spending most part of my weekend studying, I love my subject and when you love what you do everything seem rather easy and enjoyable. Though I don’t mind studying, I also believe that it is important to have breaks and live life a little. Yesterday evening was one of those times when I took the evening off to go out for some yummy sushi with my fiancé and a couple of his colleagues. Celebrating that they had published some work in a research journal a while back. We all had a fabulous time eating plenty of food, drinking a bit of sake while chatting and laughing the evening away. Enjoying life, simple as that!

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Anyway, tomorrow I will have yet another date with my books and computer. However I do have a run planned so it is going to be interesting to see how my body will react to that since the last run was a bit of a drag. I do think it was due to the ‘pre virus outbreak’ drowsiness in my body though, since I did come down with a cold and a sore throat two days after the run. I don’t know if that was the true reason for my low energy at that time, I do however know that I am so very psyched to go out for a run tomorrow! Garmin is charged, my running clothes are folded and ready, shoes are cleaned and my spirit is high! I hope you all are enjoying your Saturday evening whatever you may be up to!