Hey there! I'm Asta, a second-year psychology student at the University of Jyväskylä. I'm a...
Choices in the Situation of Crisis
If we didn't use social media and follow the news, if we lived alone in the middle of a forest here in Finland, the only thing we would know would be how the sun is shining brighter every day, how nights are getting shorter and snow is finally melting away. Unfortunately, one could say, that's rarely the case for a person living these first days of the spring 2022. Even when we are at home spending time with our loved ones, many of us are still discussing or at least thinking or feeling the strain of the war on the soil of Ukraine.
In Russian, the word “ukraina” holds the meaning of “on the edge”. However, for now, Ukraine feels like a focal point of the whole western world, Europe, and also our mind. Here in Finland, the notion of “on the edge” may also bring us thinking about the threat of war from our neighboring country, and make us feel as if we are walking on a tightrope. Some of us might think that our own freedom is under a threat.
When we experience powerful emotions, we tend to see everything around us colored by those emotions and there is a high risk of losing the ability to distinguish any nuances. This narrowed vision, by overwhelming feelings, can lead to very black and white thinking. Every Russian-speaking person can end up being an enemy or Russian-style cuisines could be shunned. Every imaginable boycott may feel like a step in the right direction; as if they increase power and control over a shocking, confusing, chaotic, and overwhelmingly tense atmosphere.
Regardless, this isn’t the whole picture - something surprising is happening. Actually, all kinds of emotions are expressed and shared among us these days. There’s fear, anger, disappointment, grief, but also a feeling of unity, desire to help, and hope. Thanks to social media and information advocacy, now we receive much more information than people during previous European wars. The information is also qualitatively different – many kinds of stories of individuals in the middle of the war or under its influence are accessible for us.
Good news and survival stories spread creating an interesting effect – our eyes and hearts have opened to realize the value of human life; our own and others, and how important it is to help others. There seems to be a possibility that the flip side of war is a strengthened feeling of unity, community, and responsibility for the well-being of everyone. Almost everyone can participate in their own way and help those in need. It seems many of us are taking this opportunity seriously and with great creativity! We have the freedom to choose, on which basis of emotions and thoughts we act and how. There may be a lot of emotions to which we do not benefit from being caught in.
"What is important are the things happening here and now - the things you can perceive. "
With our ability to abstract thinking, we can better understand what is happening and we can together make elaborate plans for helping others, for example. Even though our feelings and thoughts may lead us to important and meaningful actions, they can also lead us in the wrong direction. The important thing is to notice that our feelings are still just events that happen in the mind. What is important are the things happening here and now - the things you can perceive. It's vital to keep ourselves connected with what is your daily reality in front of your eyes and maintain a life that is happening to us, here and now. Those things are equally real and invaluable. Here in Finland, according to the weather report, usually so interesting to us Finns, it's melting snow, shining sun on a blue sky, and early, bright mornings with the crisp bite of winter abandoning us.