If you’re paralyzed with existential dread in these early days of 2020 already, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has provided an incredibly soothing video that might change your outlook.
“An Astronaut’s Guide To Optimism In 2020,” released this week, has Hadfield talking about all the good things that happened in 2019, plus the past decade.
“There are so many good and amazing things happening in the world, in amongst the noisy badness, that it’s worth taking a few minutes to notice them, celebrate them,” according to the video’s YouTube description.
His bout of optimism even caught the attention of fellow Canadian Ryan Reynolds, who shared the video with an enthusiastic, “Love this!”
In the video, Hadfield covers many positive achievements in recent history, including:
He also gets personal, sharing about how all three of his children have gotten married over the past decade, and how he even has a granddaughter now: Eleanor.
“[She] controls her ‘siwwy gwanpa’ just by moving her eyebrows,” Hadfield says with a laugh.
“I’m not saying we don’t have serious problems to solve. We always have had. Smallpox killed 500 million people in its last 100 years in existence but we beat it.”
Hadfield’s perspective makes sense. As an astronaut, he’s experienced the “Overview Effect” — a phenomenon that creates a cognitive shift in those who’ve had the opportunity to see the Earth from outer space. The experience gives them a profound understanding of the interconnectedness of the universe.
“That sense of wonder and privilege and clarity of the world slowly shifts your view, of course. Your understanding of what is ‘us’ and what is ‘them’; what is old and what is new; what does four billion years actually mean? You can see where the ice ages were, you can see where the volcanoes were and the huge asteroid impacts and such, and it all starts to shift in your head,” Hadfield explained.
Researchers are hoping to recreate the “Overview Effect” on Earth, using waterproof virtual reality glasses, epsom salts and a flotation tank as a way to imitate the dark, weightlessness of space and the view you’d see of the Earth.
But until that becomes reality, Hadfield’s six-minute video will give you the boost you’re looking for.