Psychologist and earthgazer
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Annahita Nezami and her family immigrated to the UK from Iran during the Iran and Iraq war. Growing up she witnessed the different ways her past influenced the present and how the hardship she and her family experienced manifested in different ways for each of them. This experience inspired her to become a psychologist.
Annahita has now been a therapist for over fourteen years and has just completed her doctoral research in Counselling Psychology at City University London on the topic of ‘astronaut experiences of Earth gazing’. It seems that seeing Earth from orbit is a meaningful experience for the astronauts and fosters various outcomes, for example: awe and wonder, cognitive dissonance, universalism/oneness, vitality, spirituality, self-transcendence, connectedness and personal growth. More importantly each of the astronauts in her study came away with a stronger and improved relationship with Earth and nature.
Annahita’s research has found that Earth gazing from space offers comparable and enhanced benefits to nature-based psychological interventions in terms of feelings of wellbeing and connectedness. She believes it is important to consider the potential applications of using Earth gazing in Counselling Psychology and suggests that we can do this through the use of positive technologies.
She is passionate about promoting psychology and wellbeing in society on micro and macro levels. Annahita feels strongly that all people need to broaden their knowledge on mental health issues, as well as develop the appropriate coping skills to face the challenges of life, and argues that this should start early in life. Her aim is to encourage psychologists to candidly consider ‘bigger questions’ surrounding social injustice and exclusion, and mental health awareness.
Annahita is currently working on her first book based on her research and its implications for wellbeing, as well as looking to create networks of people and groups that can make her goal of popularising psychology throughout all stages of life a reality.
Watch Annahita’s favourite TED Talk: