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Mental Health and Astronomy

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#101 Dwight J

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Posted 25 January 2024 - 04:00 PM

It has been said that time under the stars is added to your life.  It reduces my stress level and that lowers my BP, pulse, cortisol, etc which I hope will contribute to my longevity.  Long cloudy stretches have me pacing the floor and scanning the sky for any hints of clearing.  It has become almost a drug that I need a regular fix of to keep my head above water.


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#102 El Marko

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Posted 07 February 2024 - 04:49 PM

Astronomy has been an excellent way for me to put the stresses of the day out of my mind. The routine of setting up, making the initial log entries, then going through my planned sightings focuses my mind away from the day to day; even when I have difficulties finding objects. Then when I go to bed, I'll read more about the objects I did find. 

 

Those "Holy S***!" moments when your search is rewarded by finding that faint galaxy, or the sparkles in a tight cluster. There's lots of moments still like that even after doing this for years and they're very good for mental health. 


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#103 Blueox4

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Posted 10 February 2024 - 03:14 PM

Looking up at the stars make me happy, that's all I need to know. 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark

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#104 gwd

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Posted 10 February 2024 - 03:53 PM

A few nights ago I got cold while visually observing so came in to find a young house guest couldn't just do her smart phone or internet surfing, she had to connect her computer to a TV show and large monitor.  I sat to watch a show with her.  She did her smart phone social media thing while watching the show.   Those two perceptual activities, visual telescope use and watching TV seemed to be completely different.   The TV has to capture your attention with unnatural tricks- I call them flips and frauds.  The TV show has to present images and sounds in ways that almost never occur in nature.   The only time I remember images flipping through my conciousness so rapidly as the TV show presents them  was while tumbling in a bike accident.    Along with the images flip flip flipping into your awareness the TV presents unnatural sound effects that also startle you or just cause you to focus.     It was mentally  uncomfortable for me to switch from star hopping and finding a new to me NGC target to watching a "really awesome TV show".     It made me think that if stargazing isn't a mentally healthy activity TV watching is probably much worse- zoom in , zoom out, weird music, clipped dialogue, time shift, flip viewpoint, flip viewpoint, zoom in, argument, insult, accident and on and on 100 times a minute.  

 

With respect to unnatural visuals, I think what annoys me about satellites is their speed across the field of view is so distracting- like a slow meteor or a scene flip on a TV presentation. 



#105 ccate

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Posted 11 February 2024 - 09:24 AM

Perhaps we've traded happy for merely "feeling good". 



#106 Researcher

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Posted 12 February 2024 - 03:54 PM

Perhaps we've traded happy for merely "feeling good".


Still, feeling good is a good thing

#107 Galaxy Gazer

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Posted 12 February 2024 - 08:07 PM

Observing the sky helps me feel closer to the Sovereign God of Salvation, especially the first member of the Holy Trinity, my Heavenly Father, the creator of Heaven and Earth. THUS...it improves my mental health greatly.

 

I can be observing alone yet, because I am so uniquely connected to God through oberving, my mental health can only benefit.

 

When I am sharing my telescope with a friend, the effect on my mental health is typically neutral to favorable. It depends on the friend and their interest.

 

When as a beginner I come on Cloudy Nights and ask clear questions and get irrelevant answers, it can have a slightly harmful effect on my mental health. For example, I state I wonder what can be seen at -"X" magnifcation through -"Y" telescope. Replies come in chock full of advanced vocabulary. Those replying demonstrate the 'special-ness' of their intellect, yet their inability to answer a question. For example, one could (if they chose) reply, "at 1000X through SPECIAL BRAND - "Y" telesceope, one can merely see Jupiter as an orangeish brown blob." Laymen's terms don't hurt now and then folks. The reason this might slightly impact my mental health could be because I might have an expectation (premeditated resentment) that folks are willing to put aside their ego to help a newcomer learn. The slight harm done to my mental health, however, is easily remedied by praying for that person.

 

I hope that answers your questions! grin.gif

 

Mind over Matter! Deus caritas est.



#108 N3p

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Posted 12 February 2024 - 08:36 PM

I wanted to create a thread to explore this general topic of Mental Health and Astronomy. If you suffer from anxiety, does Astronomy help relieve it? Has your interest in Astronomy made you feel more content/more satisfied with life? Does it make you feel more connected to others? Or have you spent countless nights, alone and isolated, being slowly driven mad by that vast, impersonal cold abyss of titanic destructive forces you can barely comprehend? Are you both a mental health professional and Astronomy enthusiast? Personally, I feel Astronomy has made me a more calm person. 

 

*If you aren't psychologically sound, please don't go too deeply into your issues here, rather seek professional help....

I suffer from anxiety and Astronomy is good, I don't have it while observing. More then that, a good night will provide me with joy for up to 4 days at least. If there is mortality or a loved one in the hospital, during the waiting period, I will go out stargazing, it's a purifier, to be in front of the void and the mystery.


Edited by N3p, 12 February 2024 - 08:37 PM.


#109 preprius

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Posted 12 February 2024 - 09:42 PM

I read a book written by Nicole Stott. She was an astronaut in the ISS for about a year.

 

https://youtu.be/p_f...CS9jSDS9SWltLSV

 

The above link is a poem she made. 

 

While we look up and enjoy the universe. It is easy to forget about the worries of our life.

 

 

Me. Mark Eason



#110 stargazer1

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Posted 14 February 2024 - 05:55 PM

There's a special benefit to seeing things as they are with no expectations. It's a way to touch enlightenment.

 

I'll have to fall back to an Alan Watts quote:

Looking out into the universe at night,
we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars,
nor between well and badly arranged constellations.


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#111 maknswarf

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Posted 12 March 2024 - 11:06 AM

I have several mental health issues, most are just tied into overwhelming anxiety and depression. However, that all dissappears under the night sky, and is replaced with childlike wonder and fascination. Honestly it feels like I'm 8 years old again and staring at the Milky Way wanting nothing else but to explore. 

 

I believe Bill Watterson said it best through Calvin & Hobbes

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#112 AlexTheevil

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 06:45 PM

I've always found solace under the stars. There's something incredibly humbling about gazing into the vast expanse of the universe—it puts life's hiccups into perspective.


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#113 ccate

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Posted 09 April 2024 - 07:39 AM

I think it will have a lot to do with what presuppositions you bring to the experience. If as Sagan said, it is completely up to us to save this blue dot, and look around outside of the eyepiece, I say that is pretty depressing.

 

We've been destroying ourselves and the planet since the beginning of known history.

Beauty is an undeniable force, but it is not alone.



#114 Thomas Marshall

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Posted 09 April 2024 - 06:47 PM

I think it will have a lot to do with what presuppositions you bring to the experience. If as Sagan said, it is completely up to us to save this blue dot, and look around outside of the eyepiece, I say that is pretty depressing.

 

We've been destroying ourselves and the planet since the beginning of known history.

Beauty is an undeniable force, but it is not alone.

"Beauty is Truth, - Truth is Beauty", - Keats Equation, - but I feel it's my Duty, - To say this is only Sometimes True, - Though Grass and Emeralds Are Green, - not Blue. 



#115 oakzaa

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Posted 10 April 2024 - 01:11 AM

It reminds me that no matter what happens to me on earth, that it would not matter in the grand scheme of things. A friend told me once that she thinks when we die we will be able to fly around the universe and go star hopping, that would be cool! 


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