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Hiba Samawi (formerly Giacoletto) is a Psychologist and Coach working in Geneva, Lausanne and online.

A Swiss-Jordanian mix, she has a Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of Lausanne and is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She previously ran Healthwise.ch, a health coaching business where she also created healthy recipes.

Hiba uses mindfulness-based behavioural approaches such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). These are more active forms of therapy where, more than just talk, you learn skills for living.

She specializes mostly in difficulties around relationships, emotions, making healthy change and eating, and also offers group sessions, both in-person in Geneva/Lausanne and online.

www.wiserhumans.com
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hiba travel blog

By Hiba Samawi, Wiser Humans

Back when I worked in the corporate world, travel was a two week affair - and I time which I would wait the rest of the year for to finally go somewhere new and exotic that would allow me to feel alive.

To make this last longer,  I even took six months off to travel around the world nine years ago. It was a wonderful experience - and it actually taught me something very unexpected.

It taught me that travel can be an attitude. That travel doesn't have to be to a far flung exotic destination. It doesn't even have to be a time when we are away from our daily lives of work and family.

Instead, we can also apply the aspects of travel we love to our everyday lives.

We can start building a life we already love, that is filling with alive-ness, instead of seeing travel as an escape from an un-alive life.

Here are five suggestions to start bringing travel as an attitude to every day life.

1. Travel as an attitude means embracing discomfort as a necessary path to growth.

Travel is often about taking a small step - or many steps - away from our comfort zone. This moving out of our comfort zone is where magic can happen - where we discover aspects of ourselves we didn’t even know existed.

Everyday life provides plenty of opportunities to push past our fears - from moving away from a situation or relationship that is no longer working to standing up for ourselves, signing-up to a dating app or even opening up a little bit more with someone we care about.

Travel as an attitude embraces all forms of discomfort as a path to growth - not just the physical discomfort of travel, but also the emotional discomfort that comes from personal growth.

2. Travel as an attitude means being open to new experiences wherever we are.

Travel enables us to experience new things — both man made and natural. Seeing kangaroos on a beach at sunrise, taking a helicopter ride or experiencing Angkor Wat at sunset?

Definitely awe-inspiring.

Yet daily life also provides plenty of opportunities for new experiences IF we create them. These can be as small as trying a new café or restaurant in the city we live in, taking a new class, learning a new language, reading a book or buying an unknown vegetable when grocery shopping.

We can make time to watch the sun set after work or take a different path to work. We can always create new experiences.

3. Travel as an attitude sees differences as enriching rather than threatening.

Travel opens our minds to different ways of doing things. It gently, and sometimes not so gently, reveals that other ways, beliefs and attitudes exist - and that they, too, are valid and even fascinating. In doing so, it provides the opportunity to re-examine our own beliefs and habits.

In everyday life, we are faced with different beliefs and attitudes all around us, yet we often don’t choose to see these as intriguing - annoying is probably a more apt description!

Yet we can always choose to be open to differences in opinions and values that come from our family or co-workers - with appropriate boundaries, of course! Accepting them with the same openness and curiosity we show ‘foreign’ cultures can be a novel experience.

Instead of seething with resentment, we could become curious about this difference:

I wonder why my colleague / family member / boss is reacting in this way? How do they see the world differently to me? What is it about their reaction that triggers me?

Perhaps we will notice what Carl Jung wrote - that "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."

4. Travel as an attitude means being open to connection.

Away from the cocoon of our known lives, we are more vulnerable and open, both with people we know and people we don’t. And while we don't always stay in touch with those we meet, for a brief moment, we have walked along the same path, and this interaction leaves us all the richer. It can act as a humble reminder, as Maya Angelou wrote, that "We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike".

We don’t actually need to physically travel to connect with people or be just a little more open and vulnerable with people around us. We can choose to put our phones down in public places and connect, even if this is just a brief moment of connection.

5. Travel as an attitude means taking distance from life.

Being able to briefly press the pause button on everyday routines provides a bird’s eye view of life. Travel enables us to assess what matters most, to re-evaluate our priorities and what we want or need to change in our daily lives.

A physical change in environment is helpful - yet when this isn't possible we can also explore other ways of gaining a little perspective such as journaling, meditating, yoga, going into nature, therapy/coaching or simply leaving more space to just BE instead of overbooking the week.

Of course, nothing can nor should ever replace real travel. Yet what I have found by bringing travel as an attitude into my life as much as possible is that I no longer see travel as an escape from life. Instead, I see it as a way of enhancing a life I already enjoy.

One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. - Henry Miller

Author's bio

hiba portrait

Hiba Samawi is a Psychologist and Coach working in Geneva, Lausanne and online.

A Swiss-Jordanian mix, she has a Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of Lausanne and is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She previously ran Healthwise.ch, a health coaching business where she also created healthy recipes.

Hiba uses mindfulness-based behavioural approaches such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). These are more active forms of therapy where, more than just talk, you learn skills for living.

She specializes mostly in difficulties around relationships, emotions, making healthy change and eating, and also offers group sessions, both in-person in Geneva/Lausanne and online.

www.wiserhumans.com
fb.me/wiserhumans

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wiser humans life crisis

By Hiba Samawi, Wiser Humans

As a Psychologist working mostly with 35-45 year olds and being myself in this age group, I have noticed a paradox that seems to illustrate this life stage:

There is time and there is also not a lot of time.

We are no longer at the beginning of adulthood nor are we at the end of it. With this comes a particular pressure: Dreams still feel possible but may not be possible forever. There is still so much we can and want to achieve, to do, to experience - and yet possibilities may no longer seem limitless like they did in our 20’s.

And even if we are quite happy with our life as it is right now, some choices suddenly start having a ‘now or never’ feel to them.

Many choices at this time are more choices about a potential future than they are about what we want right now.

We may wonder: Is it too late? Too late to change career, to leave this relationship, to have children, to start anew in some way?

We ask ourselves questions like:

Do I want children?

How can I act responsibly for my future health?

Should I start thinking of saving for retirement?  

If I don’t change careers now, will it be too late in a few years?

wiser humans confidence

By Hiba Samawi, Wiser Humans

“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.” - Carrie Fisher

Does this sound familiar?

I’m going to do it. I’m just waiting to feel confident.

I really want to do it - I just don’t have the confidence.

Confidence.

We love confidence.

We see it as a magical power that shows up and allows us to feel so pumped up about ourselves that we can suddenly do something - do anything, really.

We see confidence as getting rid of self-doubt, as erasing anxiety. As finally, finally allowing us to feel OK about ourselves.

Umm…I don’t know about you, but I have never actually experienced this sort of chest-thumping confidence.

hiba blog rejection 2

By Hiba Samawi, Wiser Humans

Rejection hurts. Literally.

And like most human behavior, it makes sense.

It makes sense from an evolutionary perspective because back when we were cave men and women and we did something that was out of line with the social group, we were kicked out.

And being rejected meant social exile, which meant being left to fend for ourselves in the savanna.

And without the group, we wouldn’t have lasted very long on our own in the wild.

So the human brain became hardwired to be very sensitive to rejection.

To avoid doing anything risky which meant avoiding rejection which meant avoiding exile which meant avoiding death.

Or as a shortcut:

REJECTION = PAIN

And because we don’t especially enjoy pain, most of us learned ways of avoiding the possibility of rejection.

  • By not taking risks.
  • By avoiding social situations where we might not succeed or where others might be critical of us, like public speaking.
  • By comparing ourselves to others to make sure we are not doing anything ‘wrong’.
  • By avoiding situations where rejection is possible, like online dating.
  • By trying to behave flawlessly - to reach a state of perfection where we are beyond reproach.
  • By developing these amazing pro-social skills like empathy and compassion…for others - while simultaneously being really hard on ourselves. Because criticising ourselves before anyone else can is a sort of pre-rejection meant to help us avoid real rejection.

graffitiLisbon500

By Hiba Giacoletto, Wiser Humans

It has been six months since the end of my 11-year marriage and I wanted to share my personal experience of getting through the past six months in the hope this might help others, too.

I have room for it all
I learned that I could feel deep sadness about the end of this chapter, this identity, this relationship - AND ALSO excitement, gratitude, anxiety, doubt and regret all at once. In the past I would have denied some of these emotions as not being ‘real’ because I thought they couldn’t co-exist. And yet they can, and even more: They always do when we are honest with ourselves.

I learned that I had room for all of these emotions, that I didn’t need to reduce my emotional experience to ‘just’ grieving. That it was OK to feel whatever I was feeling - that I could hold all these experiences at once.

Grief ain’t linear
One of the most important experiences I had was realizing just how un-linear emotions are. One minute I would be feeling OK, and then BAM - a painful pang of remembering would show up. Or just when I thought I was reaching the end of it, a new realization that of this is really over would bring on a whole new stage of grieving. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

It all felt more like waves than a linear progression of feeling better. Again, being OK with this, even expecting it, made all the difference.

Peaceful turmoil
I have not cried or grieved as much in my life as I have in the past months. And yet, there has also been a sense of peacefulness because I was not fighting my emotions. I was neither trying to repress them nor allowing them to explode all over the place. As much as possible, I was simply allowing them to be, to hang out.

I noticed that inner peace is not about not having emotions or difficulties in life and being permanently zen. That isn’t realistic. It isn't real life. Instead, it is about bringing an OK-ness with whatever we are experiencing in all its messiness.