Lately, I have been feeling dissatisfied. Restless. Anxious. Worried. Worn.
I feel like I am sitting in a pressure cooker. Yet I am unsure where the pressure comes from.
Yes, I have a Master’s graduation project to do, but I am a clever girl, I should manage just fine. I have a company to collaborate with, a supervisor, people interested in my work, enough time to dive in and get everything done, enough skills to manage on my own, enough wisdom to ask for help where needed.
Yes, I have picked up an extracurricular project in the form of InSPE (International Student Productions Enschede), but I have a great team and everything is running smoothly.
Yes, I feel homeless whenever I go to Enschede for thesis or InSPE meetings, but I have absolutely amazing friends who let me sleep at their place and often even feed me. I also have a nice little place in Amsterdam, all for myself. What a luxury!
Yet I have this weird feeling of dissatisfaction. I suppose it might be stress, but I have no idea from what. Seemingly, I should not have any reason to be stressed. I am stressed because I do not know what is causing me stress. It is a vicious circle.
Like any good researcher, I have decided to find out the reason, and like any good designer, I have set out to create a solution.
My own misery shall become the greatest motivation for my Master’s thesis. I will tackle these feelings by looking into why and how people relax and create a solution for supporting these practices.
In parallel, I shall engage in various practices myself. I have already begun with yoga, I visited a contact improvisation workshop, and am diving into mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) using, amongst others, a workbook by (Stahl, B, & Goldstein, E. 2019).
I have always considered mindfulness and similar practices a bunch of unga-bunga which is why it is extremely interesting to force myself to take the opposite perspective and explore this domain with an open mind.
I shall try to write about my progress as much as possible. First, to have running notes for my thesis, but also to share my experience and to be able to look back one day and see where it all started.
So here comes the first exercise from the MBSR workbook: “Why did you obtain this workbook?”.
What has been going on in your life that led you to purchase this workbook?
I have been feeling stressed and disconnected with myself for no apparent reason. I have decided to explore stress and stress reduction practices for my thesis and mindfulness is one of them.
What are you hoping to change in your life as you work through this book?
I am tired of feeling like there is a heavy weight sitting on my chest, like a string tied to my chest plate being pulled back towards my spine. I hope to find out more about what is stressing me out, how to cope with it, how to worry less and enjoy the present moment without thinking about the future. In addition, I wish to become more connected to my body and keep both good mental and physical health. I aim to become more relaxed, happier, and more accepting of situations I cannot or should not change. I want to establish a routine of making time for myself and having my health and wellbeing as a priority.
What are some positive things you can say about yourself?
I am smart and interested in gaining new knowledge constantly. I see opportunities. I can come up with crazy innovative ideas that make sceptics scared. I have a peculiar, yet nice sense of humour. I do not take offence easily and I accept that some people may not like me. I am strong, dedicated, and resilient. I know how to get what is needed and it just so happens that I tend to somehow get everything I want. I find ways of achieving my goals. If someone is on my good list I will go out of my way to help and support them. I am very empathetic and able to see situations from the perspectives of others. I am proactive. I do not sit on my butt until someone gives me a task, but I think independently and notice what needs to be improved. I get shit done. I am good at presenting, improvising, persuading, public speaking. I enjoy writing and poetry. I can play any instrument that is given to me, provided I have some time to familiarise myself with it. I am not afraid to ask questions that help me learn more or that I feel others may want to ask but are too afraid to.
If you would like to know more about my thesis, you should read the following proposal.veitmaa_specification
Stahl, B., & Goldstein, E. (2019). A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook. New Harbinger Publications.