January 4, 2016

2016 is the Year We All Learn to Be Happy

Flotation tanks are back, lightsabering is the new boxing, and it’s the year we should be more like Raf Simons and chill out about our careers

  • Written by Jessica Brinton

We’re here. We made it to 2016 and there’s a positive feeling in the air. But how to make sure that the rest of the year goes with a swing? Now that Les Bains Douche in Paris has re-opened as a hotel, you can actually dip into “les bains”. If you’re into it, people are also raving about the 10-day detox retreat at the Mayr Clinic’s new state of the art place in Austria.

And we are probably living in the future. Word is out on a gadget called Farma—currently at prototype stage—that can genetically engineer algae to enable us to safely brew up our own (legal) drugs in your kitchen. Someone else has invented a desk insect hive that lets you grow your own protein at home.

It’s a lot to take in. Maybe we’ll start with something a little more relaxing.

Chill out about your career

When, a few months back, rumours began to circulate that Raf Simons was considering resigning as Christian Dior creative director, some people assumed it was because of a salary disagreement, or something to do with creative control.

It turned out to be a more mundane (but also, strangely more exciting) case of “hmmm … nah” to producing six collections a year, even with all the chauffeurs, and being on Anna Wintour’s speed dial.

In the strongest cultural message of his entire lauded tenure at the fashion house, his statement read: “It is a decision based entirely and equally on my desire to focus on other interests in my life, including my own brand, and the passions that drive me outside of my work.” As he said to the legendary fashion journalist Cathy Horyn in System magazine, “I wanted something calm.”

Yes, I know. This one is going to take some practice.

Urgently learn to use a lightsaber

Elegant lightsaber-ship is a new core life skill. It’s also great for your actual core. Mastering it will provide a strong workout of the upper body muscle groups—including the arms, back and shoulders—plus cardio, while the mindful stance required for not getting knocked to the ground by your opponent’s inner force will work your legs too.

It is martial art-influenced, so at the end a proper fight must take place, followed by some meditation.

Keep eating superfoods

A new one-dose juicer on the way called Juicero is perfectly timed for the latest superfood discovery: baobab, a mango-looking fruit from the north and west African baobab tree. For those of us who haven’t been using it nutritionally and medicinally for thousands of years, an average baobab fruit contains five times the potassium of a banana, 10 times the vitamin C of an orange and more antioxidants than any other superfood.

This year we’ll also be hearing about the powerful benefits of seaweed, and more about avocado and nut butters.

But anyway, how amazing is Nature?

Defrag yourself

A favourite new game in certain circles is friends asking other friends to write a list of their positive quirks.

This enjoyable way of seeing yourself through outside eyes is part of a new trend for getting some perspective on our repetitive emotional patterns.

If you need some help with this new emotional recoding, Patternity—the design research and consultancy studio—is going to be running events for designing positive patterns for thinking and doing all year. There’s also Robert Rowland Smith’s humanist art and philosophy initiative New Constellations that “spies into the normally invisible forces that shape our lives…and putting the system back in order.”

Remember how to breathe

Apparently you can really tell a lot about a person from the way they breathe. For example, if they are angry, breath is probably trapped in their chest. If they are sad, it’s in the lower temple. When your breathing is out of sync, it’s pretty difficult to feel like yourself at all.

A new type of massage called Breathwork can shift these blocked emotions by focussing on the breath (when you’re doing that, the mind stops thinking because it can’t multi-task) and getting oxygen flowing properly around the body again. A properly oxygenated body is revitalised and calm at the same time and the senses are extra alive.

Detox with frog poison

The venom of the Giant Monkey Tree frog of the north east Amazon is a non-hallucinogenic compound called kambo (AKA sapo), and it contains many of the peptides thought to be most beneficial to the human body. Traditionally used by hunters to increase strength and intuition, it’s harvested humanely and sustainably and administered through the skin. The 25 minutes that follow are a horrible experience not unlike terrible flu, but afterwards, enthusiasts report feeling extraordinary: physically cleansed, with a bright new clarity and focus.

FYI kambo is legal, but it isn’t without risks. Be sure to read up on it beforehand and check that your practitioner comes highly experienced and recommended.

Actually like people

Thoughts turn to people, and the joy of starting a group just, you know, to be together. This is always nice to hear about: the Turner Prize-winning architect collective Assemble proved at the end of the last year quite how much the age of the lonely individual endeavour is over.

Plus, compassion and empathy are scientifically proven to be so healthy for you.
Maria Alyokhina from Pussy Riot nailed it: “When we are going to other countries, we always meet people who are Pussy Riot. I think that it’s the best thing. You should not have to have some kind of membership. You should just put the mask on and start protesting.”

It beats staying at home taking bathroom selfies.

Write it all down in a notebook

Meet your handwriting again by putting all those random tweets or thoughts into a notebook – unadulterated by questions about whether or not people think you’re smart or not.

Learn to let go in a flotation tank

Flotation tanks were invented in 1954 as sensory deprivation chambers. They had another moment in the 90s and now, in the year that Oculus Rift will be available commercially, they’re having another comeback.

What took them so long? Twenty minutes in a tank of water and Epsom salts, kept at skin temperature so you can barely even feel where you end and the water begins, means finally arriving in that place you hoped existed – where nothing can bother you and the only virtual reality you need is the one inside you. The heart rate slows down, brain waves shift into theta state, as if entering a deep meditation, and feel good endorphins are released. Everything is OK.

Be young forever

Let no one accuse science of flaking out when it comes to the search for the elixir of eternal youth. Of the hundreds of projects currently underway, the one everyone seems most excited about is a dietary supplement called Basis that has recently become available to buy.

Most of the industry treats ageing as a deadly disease that could one day be preventable, but Basis focuses on the body’s ability to repair its own DNA through ultra health. The company has even coined a new word for “lifespan” – “health span” which you may or may not choose to use when talking about this at dinner parties.



Opener image by Mitchell Sams
Tile image by Juergen Teller for System magazine


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