Watching the world around us @andreargilb

By Andrea Gilbert 

For this week’s reflexion slide we were asked to share the best piece of advice we’d gotten during the week and out of many good tips I’d heard one stuck with me which was to watch the world around us. As I shared yesterday it is something that I already do quite often but it was a nice little reminder as every day life and the stress of becoming an adult sometimes distracts us from taking a moment, pausing, and just observing the world for a bit.

When I think of that I remember one afternoon in particular, when I was living in Paris two years ago. My dad had come to visit me after the 13th November attacks and I was completely phased out and shook by what had happened in the city I was currently living in. We went to the Eiffel Tower and then didn’t really know what to do so we just sat on a bench at the “Parc des Tuileries” and simply watched the world go by. We started to count how many people were wearing Adidas Stan Smiths and if I remember rightly we counted 40 people in half an hour. This was weirdly very therapeutic and we left our little bench feeling happy and at peace. This is definitely one of the reasons why I think that taking time to look around you and pause for a second is great, it gives your brain a second to mindfully focus on something else and you come out of it feeling very peaceful and happy.

Second reason why I think it’s great to watch the world around you is quite obviously for inspiration. Every day I walk forty minutes to school and I try as much as possible to look up, change my path and look at as many buildings as I can, this is a great way to, again, distract me and give my brain a sort of reset and I’ve noticed that when I do that I get loads of ideas and feel very inspired. But landscapes aren’t the only inspiring thing to watch; people are fascinating as well. I used to play a game with my best friend where when we went clubbing we would try to guess who does what job or what they are studying, if they are single or not etc. Sounds weird to say it like that, obviously we would only do it for a short moment but even now, observing people, how they dress, how they talk, which shops or restaurants they go to, what brand of water they’re drinking, tells us loads about them.

Finally, the last reason why I think that watching the world around us is beneficial is for awareness. Awareness of how we are all humans and connected in a way, awareness of maybe how lucky you are to be where you’re at in this moment, awareness of how different or similar you are to others and consequently awareness of who you are and how you behave.

Anyway, to sum up here’s my advice to everyone; every now and then and as often as possible, walk instead of taking public transport, or take the bus and sit next to the window but observe, watch the world go buy, be mindful of what you see and let all the distracting thoughts you have pass by with the people you walk by. If it’s not for you that’s fine but it’s definitely something that is very useful to me so I thought I’d share this tip.

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