Categories
Musings

Offline Sundays

One Sunday in August I decided to spend the day offline. No smartphone, no tablet, no laptop. Only a Nokia feature phone for company.

It was a hot, sunny Sunday in Glasgow with clear skies. Probably the only time you’ll hear “hot”, “sunny”, “clear skies” and “Glasgow” in the same sentence until next year.

I went to Glasgow Green, surrounding by trees, sat in the shade under a tree with the sound of happy people chattering along with the River Clyde’s rippling waves nearby.

Being offline here was liberating, like shutting the heavy soundproof door on the busy, noisy, fast connected world I’m used to.

Here it didn’t matter about what was on my task list or where I had to be next. Here I can enjoy the moment – something admittedly I try to do more regularly – and enjoy the rare summer weather.

An hour and a half later it was back to the flat to sit in my silent bedroom. Magic.

I enjoyed being offline so much that I decided to make this a fortnightly feat.

In an era of being permanently connected we should be aware of its consequences. We try to drink alcohol or eat chocolate in moderation (with varying degrees of success).

Maybe it’s time to view being connected in the same way.

Categories
Podcast picks Podcasting

Podcast Picks (December 2019)

Time for a new monthly feature on my blog – podcast picks.

Each month I will pick three podcasts I am listening to which I recommend you to listen, as a podcaster and listener.

Below are the bare essentials – listen to the podcast at the top of this post for fuller details.

Before I start – a shameless plug must be done.

Subscribe to the Hansen’s Podcast via Pocket Cast, Apple Podcasts and other platforms by going here.

My podcast picks for December 2019

History of the 90s

A Canadian podcast produced by Curiouscast and presented by journalist Kathy Kenzora. Looking out at events that shaped the 1990s and society as a whole going forward.

Covering events from The Lion King to the OJ Simpson trial.

Nicely produced, clear, factual, journalistic presenting style with good production values. Kathy also helps much younger listeners to understand the world before social media and mobile phones.

You can find out more about the podcast here.

Beyond the Grid

An official Formula 1 interview podcast talking to the key figures within F1 both past and present – from Lewis Hamilton to Tony Brookes.

I’m a huge motorsport fan especially Formula One, "the pinnacle of motorsport" and (I guess a motorsport geek too). Even I’m learning new things all the time.

Presented by journalist and former BBC pitlane reporter Tom Clarkson. His laid back, approachable interviewing style is perfect for this podcast.

You can find out more about Beyond The Grid here.

The Chillout Lounge Mix

  • Music podcast that’s about lounge ambient music.
  • Just the music and no chat.
  • Good, especially if you need a de-stresser.

You can find out more about The Chillout Lounge Mix here

To recap, this month’s three podcast picks are:

  • History of the 90s
  • Beyond The Grid
  • The Chillout Lounge Mix

Categories
Life Musings

Optimism and outlook on life

They say there’s two outlooks on life.

Glass half-full and glass half-empty. Simplistic? Yes, but who hasn’t tried to simplify nuanced ideas?

Common logic says being a glass half-full person is good, right? Not just logic, research too.

Many studies including one by Carnegie Mellon University gave 193 healthy volunteers (between 18 and 55 years old) a dose of the cold/flu. Not surprisingly, the optimists braved it better than the pessimists.

Over a 30 year period the Mayo Clinic also discovered optimists had their risk of premature death slashed by half.

While Yale University found optimists were likely to live on average 7.5 years longer than their pessimist peers.

For someone interested in improving his own wellbeing and positive thinking this is unsurprising but fascinating.

My outlook on life has improved dramatically over the years. From being a somewhat cynical but not completely pessimistic teenager to believing there are reasons to be cheerful.

It seems these studies would make pessimists even more… well, pessimistic. For us positive thinkers, this is surely a moment to start cartwheeling with delight.

Don’t cartwheel just yet and be careful. Too much positivity can be equally troubling.

“Huh?”

While positivity is good for your health and sanity too much positivity can actually stop you from developing resilience. We all suffer emotional pain at some stage in our lives, unfortunately going through it can actually allow us to grow and develop a thicker skin.

A bit like catching a bad flu except you’re not cough and spluttering with a runny nose when your long-time lover calls time on the relationship.

Bad experience and failure can be great teachers.

Not to mention being overly positive can shield you from unpleasant emotions you need to learn to cope with.

Unrealistic expectations which will eventually lead to greater sadness, bitterness and disappointment.

Plus, among your friends you could become – by accident – a patronising, deluded pain in the a***.

Sometimes I see life as a tightrope – the good times on the other side, failure and disappointment at the bottom. If positive thinking was only required then tightrope walking would be the easiest thing to do.

Only with life’s tightrope, you’re tied to a bungee cord to bounce you back up once you’ve overcome that failure or disappointment.

Like drinking in moderation, keep positivity and pessimism as closely balanced as possible, that’ll help you cope with the world around us.

Ok, you can now start cartwheeling.

Categories
Announcements

I’m back – blog, podcast and new radio show

I’m back!

In a nutshell: blog and podcast is back and a new radio show.

Listen to the podcast for more info.

Categories
Life Musings

Happy Rain Day!

Did you know it is Rain day today? You might do if you’re in the US. Or, especially if you’re in the UK, you might think I’m stating the bleeding obvious. Considering that many days here are rainy days!

At times it feels like the amount of rainfall we get is ridiculous – whether it’s in Scotland or in Manchester. Addiction to water must be a huge epidemic within the universe of plants.

Personally I have a mixed relationship with rain. One half hates it: the unpredictability and disruption it causes and in some cases how it can screw up your mood. Not to mention "getting soaked like a soggy kitty".

On the other hand, listening to the rain from indoors, is strangely soothing. There’s something nice about droplets of water in the air falling. Almost like a call to relax but not over any loudspeakers.

Unsurprisingly it’s not celebrated here in the UK. Otherwise it would be the longest celebration of something ever.

In the US however, where it is less rainy, it is a special day. So much so there’s even a Rain Day festival in Waynesburgh, Pennsylvania. All started with local pharmacist William Allison being told by a local farmer in 1874 it always rained on his birthday.

The street festival that happens today began in 1979 and in the last 145 years – it has rained for 115 of them.

Back in the UK, at least we can take comfort of how rain is a powerful destresser and, according to one study, a concentration enhancer.

We should see it as a positive. Difficult since the British mentality is predominantly negative, but you have to start somewhere.