How an Attitude of Gratitude Can Help Happiness

Photo: Pixabay

I am pleased to bring you another article by Dr. Haley Perlus, Ph.D. Sports & Exercise Psychology and certified fitness expert. I had the opportunity to meet Haley personally last year and can confirm – she walks the talk.
Haley is an expert in principles and strategies that lead top athletes to top results. Her portfolio ranges from mental training to personal energy management. Most strategies can be seamlessly transferred to other areas of life – and thus to all of our daily lives.
Today’s article is about appreciating the 5 big L for happiness: love, labor, learn, laughter, let go.
Have fun reading, and many thanks to Dr. Haley Perlus!

The truth is it doesn’t matter how educated you are about the dos and don’ts of healthy living if you don’t have the mindset to follow through on your intentions. Mental toughness, specifically an attitude of gratitude, is an important part of health, wellness, and overall happiness.
The best way to explain what it means to have an attitude of gratitude is to focus on the Gratitude Five: Love, Labor, Learn, Laughter, and Let Go.

Love.
For happiness, one of the greatest shifts in perceptions is moving from an attitude of what do I have to do to what do I get to do. Although you may have begun healthy living for extrinsic motives such as lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease, when you pay attention to the strength, enthusiasm, courage, and confidence you experience, you can develop a deep love for your healthy behaviors and, even more important, a profound love for yourself.

One way to shift your perception is to replace old damaging thoughts with new, empowering, and loving thoughts that can help keep you in an attitude of gratitude and enhance positive emotions. For example, replace “My body was not meant for Yoga” with “Yoga challenges my mind and body to experience amazing things!” And replace “I hate spinach but I have to eat it” by “Eating spinach makes me feel good!”

Labor.
Any worthwhile goal requires you to fight for it. Top performers understand that to experience ultimate pleasure, they often endure some discomfort. What helps them to cope with the pain is acknowledging it exists, accepting that it’s part of the process, and being grateful for it because it is a sign they are on the right path to personal excellence.
A good friend once told me that, in every training session, he experiences a moment of struggle. It’s in this moment when he says to himself, “why am I putting myself through this?” He then reminds himself of his performance goals and immediately shifts his perception to one of gratitude for the struggle. It’s the struggle of that last pull up, mile run, or five more second hold, that can make your goals a reality. Take this lesson into every aspect of your life that requires some discomfort, but eventual peace and happiness.

Learn.
Many of my clients explain to me that learning about healthy living is overwhelming and confusing. They want someone who will tell them what to eat and how to exercise. How about you? Would it be easier if someone just gave you a set menu each day, told you how to move to exert the most calories, and sent you on your way? Although I understand the desire, I also know that, without a clear understanding of why you eat and exercise a certain way, the behavior of simply following someone else’s instructions will not help you to get results that last.
Every day, you can learn new information about all aspects of health. I recommend setting a goal to sift through the content and pick one tip to experiment with. Focusing on one tip to implement can help eliminate feeling overwhelmed and make room to truly appreciate what you just learned and how it can help you to be your best self.

Laughter.
I know that your health and performance is serious stuff. That said, when you do make a mistake, appreciating the experience and using laughter to move through it can help you to bounce back quickly. Humor is a main ingredient for health, happiness, and resilience. The next time you find yourself feeling awkward in a new yoga pose, tripping on your trail run, or burning a new recipe in the oven, do your best to be grateful for what that experience has taught you. Laugh at yourself to make the moment less intense. Then, you’ll be able to not just move forward quickly, but also with a fun story to share with others.

Let Go.
Professional athletes are obsessed with their performance, but most are equally grateful for the time off the field. Your goals are important – as they should be. When it’s time to eat and exercise, exert maximum effort towards your goals. Then, leave them “on the field” and carry out the rest of your day with equal enthusiasm, dedication, and gratitude.

The Gratitude Five provide a great overview of what it means to have an attitude of gratitude that can help your be your best self. Experiment with one today and observe how it can influence your thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and ultimately help your ability to achieve optimal results!

Dare to Ask

Photo: Pixabay

If there is one thing we humans cannot stand so well, it’s uncertainty.
We are hardwired to always seek stability, to balance “imbalances”, e.g. to bring open matters to a conclusion, to bring clarity in unclear matters and to go from uncertainty to certainty – or at least to knowledge.
It feels safe and like an anchor we can hold on to and base our decisions on.

But it is not always that simple. “I know that I do not know” was already the sound of ancient times. And not even science has certainty and all the answers – as we can see every day with the Corona topic. And this is allright and as it is supposed to be. Science has nothing to do with “knowing everything already”, but with research. It is not about having an answer to everything already, but about making assumptions based on facts and then checking them by asking the right questions.
And to dismiss them when they were wrong.
And to admit this insight.
And to be able to live with the then still or again existing uncertainty. To accept it and to start over again.
It’s a highly dynamic process.

So much for science.
Now back to real life – where, unfortunately, we do not always manage to keep this learning cycle running.
There is this hunger for quick solutions and satisfaction of needs.
So we gladly resort to the usual “quick fixes”:
We get our insights by…

  • creating explanations ourselves (filling in the gaps in the facts)
  • drawing on statements from others (press, social media, friends)
  • drawing our conclusions solely on the basis of our own experience.

We always explain reality – or what we think is reality – in a way that fits into our mental narrative.

“Reality is merely an illusion – albeit a very persistent one.”
Albert Einstein

(If you love fables and analogies, take a look at the story of The Blind Men and the Elephant; if you are more the scientific type, here is a book tip: Thinking, fast and slow)

On a small scale, these quick fixes are not bad, sometimes fast thinking is even necessary – according to brain research we have to make about 20,000 decisions per day.

However, when applied permanently, they can lead to convictions and certainties that stand in our way. They prevent us from making progress. Because we do not question them. Because we only ever wander in our own reality and thus always come out at the same place when solving problems.

“The deeper the anchor of our conviction is in the sand, the more difficult it is to change the course of our boat when the wind is changing.”

So, what about your willingness to explore and research?
What do you think you know, what are you convinced of – and how did you end up with this certainty and these convictions?
Through pre-/assumptions? – “I thought that… “/ “This should definitely …” / “Probably they want …”
By concluding? – “If anyone behaves like this, then…” / “I’ve heard that before…”

Are your findings the result of unchecked assumptions or of validated assumptions?
Do you dare to ask?
Even if it might lead to unpleasant answers?
Who do you ask? Involved persons or third parties?
What do you ask? What do you want to have confirmed or what you want to know?
How do you ask? Suggestive-rhetorical or open?
How do you deal with surprising answers?
Are you grateful for insight and openness or are you unbelieving?

And even if questions are not possible or do not lead to certainty, can you live with it?
Or do you resort to the Quick Fix after all?

Dare to ask and question.
What you hear, what you are told, what you perceive – but above all, what you conclude.
Dare to question your own assumptions.
Whenever possible, ask directly. Works especially well with assumptions about people and their behaviour.
Talk to people, not about them.
And if it is not possible to check your assumptions, be humble.
Know that you probably do not know
Stand this shade of gray.
Binary judgement may feel easier, but it won’t get you anywhere.

“As long as you need heroes or culprits to explain a situation or problem plausibly, you haven’t understood it yet.”
Gerhard Wohland

Where could you switch from explanation to question mode next week?
Which blocking assumptions could you courageously reveal by asking questions and exploring them?

Dare to ask and be open to surprises!

Yours,
Birgit

Fascination Fascias

Photo: Pixabay

Today I won’t lose many words – because I want to move you!
Well-being does not only depend on mental calmness but also on relaxation in the body. Thereby the mind influences the body – and vice versa.
If we do not move enough or are under constant stress, this tension is reflected in the body.
When talking about tension, we often think of the muscles first – but it has been found that fascias can also be the source for muscle and back pain.
Fascias are soft tissue components of our connective tissue. Their nutrient supply functions via the lymphatic fluid, which also transports metabolic products. Smooth fascias therefore not only ensure better elasticity in the body but also have a positive effect on our metabolism. They have different functions: Some “fasten” our organs; fascias located under the epidermis serve as a kind of protective buffer; and the fascias that surround the muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments and capsules provide protection and stability. In short: Fascias hold the individual parts of our body together and ensure that we stay in shape 😉 (The meat eaters among you may know this white, thin fibrous net over the muscle meat – that’s fascias!)
If there is a lack of exercise, fascias can harden or become sticky due to insufficient nutrient exchange and lack of lymphatic fluid removal. This can lead to limited muscle function and increased sensitivity to pain.
To keep our fascias functional and healthy, we can train them – similar to muscles. Unlike muscle training, however, fascial training is not about building up but about stretching and maintaining flexibility.
The pressure exerted when training with the fascia roll stimulates the supply of fresh lymphatic fluid (similar to a sponge, squeezed and then put in water). But stretching exercises and massages can also support and train the function of the fascia.
The video link below this article shows a nice combination of stretching exercises (facial flow).

And now get on the mat – and always stay flexible!

Video: Youtube, Erica Ziel, Fascial Flow Workout

Career = Collaboration & Connection

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You might wonder why I have chosen the topic career this week. It’s quite simple: our work plays a major role in our well-being. In best cases, it gives us a sense of achievement and a feeling of self-efficacy. It challenges and encourages us, matches our talents and values and gives us meaning.
All this leads to satisfaction, balance and motivation.
What is missing when there is no work is probably painfully obvious to some of us at the moment. And the economic forecasts that are currently communicated do not inspire much confidence.
So what’s the point of a career at a time when unemployment rates are making headlines?
A lot!

Nobody knows what the future will look like. But one thing is clear: the more aware you are of yourself, of your USPs, of your contribution and your goals – and how your can get closer to achieving them, the faster and better you will find a (your) place in the new reality.

“If we are only concerned with what skills are important today, tomorrow we will be equipped with the skills of yesterday.”

So now is the best time to do some kind of job inventory.
This includes finding answers to various questions, such as “What role does work play in my life?”, “What am I particularly good at?”, “What would I like to say goodbye to?”, “What is important to me?”, “What makes me happy?”, “What would I like to look back on in the end?” or “In what working environment do I feel comfortable?”.

You can use your time as well to take a closer look at your professional network and to expand it if necessary. No one is successful alone – and the more diverse your network is, the more valuable for your professional development.

Have a look at your contacts to see if there are people who fit into one or more of the categories listed below.
Best take a piece of paper and write down the names of the people you would assign to each category. This way you will quickly get a clear picture of the development opportunities of your network.

Illustration: Birgit Baldauf

Before you get in contact with your career supporters you should already have gained clarity about yourself and your goals. In order to better explain the different roles people play in your network, let’s assume that you want to be successful as a cook/chef.

Coaches: Are not experts in your desired field – but pros in asking the right questions at the right time. You call on their support case by case – for example, if you turn in circles or doubt yourself. A good coach has a wide range of methods and helps you to find the answer to your questions or the next step yourself. He/she stimulates your self-reflection and thus helps you to help yourself. A connection to a coach is usually solution and performance oriented.

Mentors: Are usually more experienced than you in the field you are interested in. Above all, they are experts in important, transferable skills (soft skills). They have the ability to guide, advise, encourage and hold you responsible. They know you well and understand you, your motivations and possible pitfalls on your way. A connection to a mentor is relationship-based and often lasts for a lifetime.

Sponsors: Maybe you are thinking of advertising now? And you are not that wrong! Sponsors are facilitators and enablers. They share their knowledge, create connections, make you known amongst the “right” people and offer opportunities. The sponsor is not the celebrity chef but the person who owns the restaurant or hotel where the celebrity chef can grow and create.

Professors: : The experts of theory. They are walking encyclopedias in their field, love their area of expertise and challenge you to keep you up to date by continuous learning. They are your teachers.

Professionals: They are your shining role model – they are in that spot you aspire for your future! It is the celebrity chef who is a master in putting their competence into practice – with a personal touch. What you can learn: how to successfully apply the knowledge of the professors- and develop your own brand. Professionals are experienced, they know and continuously study their competitors and the market – and learn from it.

Peers: Current or future ones. They are where you are now or where you would be next. They can either provide you with valuable feedback on your strengths and areas of development as well as your professional self and your impact on others. Or they are the ones you can ask how your future work will look and feel – e.g. in different kitchens (star restaurants, canteen, hotel, hospital …).

Good friends: They know you personally and share your values. They know your deeper motives and obstacles – and dare to talk straight and give you honest feedback.

So, what does your list look like?
Who would you like to contact in the coming week?

Good luck with the network for success!

No Plan?

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
(Mike Tyson)

These straight words of Mike Tyson launched a wonderful blog article by Förster & Kreuz this week. It describes why the ordinary act of making plans no longer works in today’s world and what we can do instead to move forward and to avoid getting stuck.

The quote inspired another thought in my mind:

Way too often we invest our energy into the wrong actions – making detailed plans and thinking and planning everything a thousand times is part of it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that we shouldn’t think and plan at all. But if the unpredictability of things is continuously increasing and the aspects contributing to a situation are becoming ever more numerous, complex and confusing, and the shelf-life of knowledge ever shorter, in other words, if life is always changing according to chaotic principles, how is something like a static plan supposed to work?

However, we still do have this need to plan – but is less the situation but rather us asking for this plan. Reflecting, considering and coordinating gives us a feeling of control and security – in what is actually an uncontrollable environment. Maybe you are one of those people who always intensify their planning actions when they think that a situation is slipping away from them or that a feeling of helplessness is creeping in due to circumstances that have never been experienced before?

But what else if not planning can give us that feeling of security in the chaos?
What should we do instead of measuring, weighing, assessing, judging?

Don’t occupy your mind with increasing your knowledge about waves – instead, train your competence to ride them.

I’m not a surfer, but the image immediately comes to my mind when I consider the circumstances described above. What good is it for the surfer if he knows everything about waves, their origin, course, occurrence, duration, size, volume, speed – when he stands on his board and faces a unprecedented wave and he simply lacks the ease in his knees and the practice of standing it?

So, let’s rather put our energy into building up our abilities to deal with whatever comes our way in a confident, solution-oriented and easy way.

The last months have brought numerous unprecendented waves – and the sea of our reality will probably remain quite rough in the future.

What do we need to stand it?

  1. Personal responsibility
  2. Openness to change
  3. Pioneering spirit and curiosity
  4. Focus – in the here and now!
  5. Willingness to collaborate
  6. Willingness to learn and develop
  7. Positive attitude towards mistakes

Where do you encounter situations in everyday life where you can practice this?

  1. Whenever you catch yourself thinking or using words like “if, then …”, “he/she should …”, “I can’t help it, that’s …”, it is time to put an inner stop to yourself and ask yourself: “what was/is YOUR contribution to the situation? What can YOU do to accept/change/complete/leave it? (Regardless of the behaviour or opinion of other people – you are the only one responsible for your life).
  2. When was the last time something changed in your life? Without your intervention? Maybe even against your will? In a way you didn’t like? How did you react? How much energy did you put into the resistance against unchangeable circumstances? If the wave is too big, too fast, too wild, it doesn’t help to complain about it. Accepting change is especially easy to train if you deliberately step out of your comfort zone from time to time in your everyday life – controlled uncomfort, so to speak. Approaching people when you are shy, wearing something you usually would never wear, going on vacation without a room reservation, etc.
  3. There is a traffic jam on the planned route? The ingredients planned for dinner are no longer available in the supermarket? Your guests arrive half an hour early? How do you feel about this? Try “wow, maybe I’ll discover new ways to avoid the traffic jam “. – “I wonder what happens if ingredient x is replaced by ingredient y? This will then be my secret recipe!” or “Hey, glad you’re here! Will you help me with the preparations?”
  4. Do you ever find yourself thinking, “If only I had…” – don’t bother. It won’t do any good to solve the situation you’re in now. Worse still, it draws important energy from the here and now and puts it into the past – which you can’t change anyway. Focus all your attention on the only “time” you have influence in – the present moment. What exactly do you perceive NOW? What can you do NOW?
  5. When was the last time you asked someone for help? Or for an opinion? Getting ideas and suggestions? What is stopping you? Maybe the fact that you see the situation you have to cope with in a completely different way than others? That’s a good thing! The more perspectives, the more possible solutions! None is wrong or right – and many are worth a try! Because if you do, what you hace always done you will get what you always got.
  6. Ask yourself every evening what you have learned over the day. Learning is to be understood in a broader sense. It can also come as knowledge – about yourself, others, life, a situation … or discovery – of something new – in your environment, everyday life, about yourself … But maybe you have also experienced something interesting? It doesn’t matter – the important thing is that you never assume that you have finished learning. Because what you have learned today will be obsolete the day after tomorrow.
  7. How do you deal with yourself when you make a mistake, forget something or something goes wrong? And what is your attitude towards the fallibility of your fellow human beings? Without mistakes there is no learning. Wanting to avoid mistakes means paralysing yourself and not developing any further. Where do you not dare to take the next step for fear of doing something wrong or failing?

All this may sound like a lot.

I would say get on the board and ride the waves. And then – one after the other, ease in your knees and – enjoy the ride!

Yours, Birgit

Knowledge is not Competence

Photo: Pixabay

Google search:
Relaxation – about 374.000.000 results
Mindfulness – about 119.000.000 results
Meditation – about 399.000.000 results
Emotional intelligence – about 243.000.000 results
Resilience – about 89.100.000 results

What topic to chose if it looks like all is said and written already?

This week I would like to invite you not to consume more knowledge, but act upon it.
Because knowledge is not competence.
How often do you think – while reading or listeing to an article or podcast: “Yeah, no new news – I knew all that already.”?
But what do you do with all this knowledge?
Could you have generated it if someone had asked you?
And above all: do you know how to apply it?

Knowing everything about a topic does not make us competent.
Knowledge is the foundation, but competence means moving from knowledge into action, i.e. applying our knowledge and developing abilities and skills – and above all, havint the willingness to do so.

In order to be competent in a field, you need …

  1. The knowledge
  2. Skills and abilities learned on the basis of this knowledge
  3. The willingness to apply and implement these skills and abilities
  4. The ability to transfer what has been learned to future situations (even if these are only similar to the situation learned)

Let us assume that you have a tendency to brood. Your mind wanders from one topic to another, from one stick to the next – and never comes to rest. It is always present, this voice in your head – the so-called “Monkey Mind”.
You investigate what you can do about it and find the 5-4-3-2-1 method.

  1. You now know that this method exists and how it works and you think: “Cool, I have to try it.”
  2. During your next “Monkey Mind Phase” you remember the method and try it out. It doesn’t work right away – your mind moves on. But you stay with it until it works.
  3. You repeat the method every time your mind starts its mental chatter again – to get better at stopping it.
  4. A few weeks later you are confronted with a situation so complex that it is totally overwhelming. You do not know where to start. Your mind feels totally blocked, you can’t think a single rational thought. You ask yourself if the Monkey Mind method works in this case and you try it out. And – surprise – your mind relaxes and it is easier for you to make a plan.

I think the current situation presents a lot of opportunities to apply what we know and have learned in theory.
It’s the best time to try out if it works.
What about the competence of “accepting what is” when you are sent on furlough?
What do we do with the knowledge that socializing helps to reduce stress in times of social distancing?
And if we are aware of how important it is to focus and think in a solution-oriented way – how well do we succeed when we are exposed to the daily news?

So before I write about a new topic today, I would like to invite you to browse through the old ones.

In which one could you increase your competence?
Which knowledge is waiting for application?
In which area is it time to put your knowledge into action and develop skills to make you feel better?

-> Pick one thing.
-> Take ONE action to move from knowing to doing,
-> Dedicate yourself to this action once a day.
-> Reflect on the other situations in which you could benefit from this competence and – apply it there as well!

Good luck and have fun,

Birgit

3 Survival Tips for having an “Off Day”

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Author: Haley Perlus, Ph.D. Sport & Exercise Psychology, Certified Fitness Professional

We’ve all been there. A few fabulous days of healthy living and then — BANG — all of sudden life happens. A late night out with friends, a last-minute business trip, or a sick child forces you out of your healthy lifestyle. You’ve either missed exercising or you simply don’t have the energy (or desire) to prepare a healthy meal. Either way, you’ve hit a wall and are having an “off” day.

Sometimes an off day is just that — one day off track and then you’re back to following your plan the next morning. Other times, it can take several days before you’re inspired enough to return to your healthy routine. It’s a vicious cycle, but it can be stopped.

As an expert of sport and performance psychology, one of my objectives is to help my clients quickly recover from the off days we all inevitably experience from time to time. Here are three tools you can use right now to not only get switched back on during an off day, but also limit the amount of off days you experience altogether. The end result is that you’ll give yourself the greatest opportunity to follow through on your daily intentions and achieve a personal best mind, body and spirit.

1. UNDERVALUE THE BAD TIMES AND OVERVALUE THE GOOD ONES.

We have been conditioned to harp on our mistakes and graze over our successes. It’s time to flip the switch and pay more attention to the things that bring us confidence so that we can continue to live a fun, healthy, and energetic life.

In sports, professional athletes and coaches often say that the person who wins is usually the person who can best recover from errors. Top athletes have learned to identify their mistakes, but instead of dwelling on them, they quickly learn from them and move on. They also take the time to pat themselves on the back for all of their achievements, both big and small.

When life gets in the way of sticking to your health plan, take one minute for positive personal reflection. Identify the key things you could do better next time to prevent this off day. Then, focus on at least one achievement you have already made that day (or perhaps yesterday). Use your past achievement to give you the confidence you need to make you’re a positive next move.

2. CHANGE THE ENVIRONMENT.

Having an off day can cause people to lose motivation to go for a run and eat their veggies. Instead, they crave instant gratification in an unhealthy chocolate chip cookie or an extra hour on the couch. Fortunately, there is an easy fix to this problem.

Research continues to prove that motivation and productivity increases with a change in the environment. In fact, a commonly used phrase in sport psychology is: “A change is as good as a rest.”

Any type of change, such as stepping outside for some fresh air, turning on motivational music, finding a new recipe, or getting off the treadmill and onto the elliptical can generate fresh motivation to help you keep moving forward towards achieving your goals.

Whenever you feel a lack of energy and inspiration, change up at least one aspect of your environment and experience what it’s like to have your batteries recharged and motivation restored!

3. JUST MOVE!

Sometimes, the hardest thing to do is get up and start to move. However, once you start moving, and dopamine and endorphins are released, you’ll find it much easier to keep going.

During off days, it’s less important to stick to your pre-planned program and more important to just get up and do something positive. If you really don’t feel like lifting weights, get outside and just start walking. If you don’t feel like spending 20 minutes in the kitchen preparing a healthy meal, grab something simple to eat that’s still healthy.

Off days do not have to completely throw you sideways. With these three tools, you can quickly recover from an off day and keep moving forward with the confidence and excitement you need to live the life you want.

About the author

Dieses Bild hat ein leeres Alt-Attribut. Der Dateiname ist Perlus-DMP_1458_7x7_300-1-1024x1024.jpg

Since she was 12 years old, Dr. Haley Perlus aspired toward a career in Sport Psychology. Within one year of earning her Ph.D., at the age of 28, Dr. Haley became a professor, public speaker, consultant to national team and division I scholarship athletes, published author, and was appointed an industry leader. An entrepreneur, former elite Alpine ski racer, fitness pro and coach, she understands the difficulty of overcoming mental blocks so that you can quickly and consistently get results. Dr. Perlus educates, motivates and inspires people to reach their peak potential in sport, wellness, and business. Taking a unique 3-D approach to performance enhancement, she not only encourages you to dream big, she gives you the steps and answers you need to make those dreams come true.
https://drhaleyperlus.com/

Looking back with a WOW

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“When I look back now, I wonder how I managed to master this situation,” said a dear friend of mine the other day as we talked about changes in life.

Does this sound familiar to you?
Sometimes life delivers a task or situation that seems to be too big for us to cope with. Thoughts like “How shall I ever master this situation?” or “And now?” arise.
And then, some time later, we look back and think – “My goodness, if someone had told me I could do this, I would have said he is crazy!”

It’s amazing what we are able to do, how we know how to mobilize our inner strength when we have to, when we seem to have no choice.
Suddenly we have a razor-sharp focus, a purpose. We hold on, secondary issues are consequently sent to the second row. Our determination grows, all energy is collected and directed to master the task at hand – no matter what its nature (and I’m talking about life-changing circumstances, situations that put a stop to your everyday routine).

Why I am writing this?
Because I think that in situations that seem too big or hopeless, we should remind ourselves from time to time what we already have mastered in the past.
And we should allow ourselves the thought that we have not reached our limit yet. There is this reserve that our sophisticated system of body and mind keeps for emergencies – and only releases it in such cases.

So when you are at a point in your life that seems to overwhelm you…

  • Accept the situation. It is as it is – do not lose valuable energy in anger about it!
  • Admit that you feel overwhelmed. This is fine. Say it: “I feel overwhelmed right now.” As soon as you acknowledge your feelings (only perceive them, do not judge or even draw conclusions) pressure goes down.
  • Look back and remember what you have already mastered in the past and draw confidence from it.
  • Then look ahead: assuming you have done everything with flying colours – what does your desired result look like? What do you see, feel, do ? Have a vision in mind that is clear enough to set the focus – but not so detailed that you lose flexibility for other or better ways to reach your goal. It’s a bit like looking for an apartment – if you know what you want, your eye will be sharpened for the right ads – and you can safely ignore all others.
  • Give yourself time and allow your mind to take breaks so that it can process. It will sort out the impressions and feed your intuition with them. The subconsciousness continues its work – even when you sleep.
  • Be diligent and hold on – but also trust that ways or solutions will perhaps show up unexpectedly. Practice calm and confident attention.

And finally a saying that has already helped me in difficult situations:
“The universe only sends you tasks it thinks you can handle.”
So be proud – the universe thinks you can do a lot – so think alike! 😉

This is not your limit!
You can do it.

Yours,
Birgit

Your inner medicine

Photo: Pixabay

Have you ever ordered medicine from your inner pharmacist to make you feel better?
Wouldn’t that be wonderful – just being happy on order?
It’s possible – and without any illegal substances. Our body has a lot on board to make us happy.
I am sure you have heard of so-called happiness hormones. Hormones are chemical signaling molecules that are released directly into the blood and are thus transported to their place of action. They contain a “message” and this way control functions of our organs. Just like Insulin regulates the reduction of blood sugar after eating.
When we talk about joy, well-being and feelings of happiness, Dopamine and Serotonin are the most common hormones. There are, however, more substances that ensure our well-being:

1. Endorphinshappiness of enthusiasm: When we experience something positive, especially if it is an unexpected experience, endorphins are released. Endorphins are also known as endogenous morphines, because they relieve pain in the body. They also have a calming effect, promote the release of sex hormones and a good night’s sleep and prevent stress.

2. Dopamine – happiness of motivation: Dopamine is the “motivation hormone”. When we have had success or beautiful experiences (e.g. during flow) our brain stores this information and wants more of it. Dopamine is responsible for this wanting, our motivation and our interest. It not only triggers feelings of happiness, but also lust and desire.

3. Oxytocin – happiness of safety: The bonding hormone oxytocin increases trust, our feeling of security and the bond to our partner or child. It is triggered by physical attention, such as touching the skin, petting or a massage.

4. Serotonin – happiness of well-being: Similar to Dopamine, Serotonin is released in moments of happiness – but also in positiv stress. It has many functions and has amongst others a positive effect on our mood and brain capacity. Serotonin is the anti-depressant among hormones. It makes us happy, relaxed, balanced and satisfied.

And here’s what you can do to place your “order with your inner pharmacist” – in other words, boosting the release of the four hormones:

1. Dopamine – goal setting and planning: Find out what makes you happy and plan regular activities. Set yourself goals that you are eager to achieve.

2. Endorphins – pleasure and surprise: Learn to enjoy and indulge – allow yourself to do so! Surprise yourself from time to time and break through the routines to create new, positive experiences.

3. Serotonin – positive stress: Be active in a sport you are familiar with and which does not stress you out. Or go for a walk for 30-60 minutes a day.

4. Oxytocin – together you are less alone: Don’t go all alone. Meet up with friends and enjoy hours of togetherness and physical closeness. (By the way, Oxytocin is also released when you pet your pets :-))

Have fun planning, enjoying and feeling good.
You have everything you need on board!

Yours, Birgit

My heart is dancing

Photo: Pixabay

There are similarities to dancing iand singing: if you ask people, they often say: “I can’t dance!”
But in fact, we are hardwired to move to the music. Studies have shown that rhythm is innate to us. For example, in a study, scientists at the University of Amsterdam played a rhythm to newborns and then missed a beat or two on purpose. An in this moment, the babies’ brain waves clearly showed that they were literally awaiting next beat.
Also, it’s proven, that our heartbeat synchronizes with the beat of the music.

When we speak of “ability”, it usually means that we are trying to do something in a certain way that is generally considered or defined as right or correct.

Dancing, however, is much more than “working off” given sequences of movements and steps. No matter if it’s Bachata or Zorba – first you learn it, then you feel it.
Once you allow the music to move your body, you commit yourself in and learn to let go – and at this point, you can’t go wrong.
Of course, we don’t usually dare to do this in public (except maybe teetering a foot…) – but what’s wrong with turning up your favorite music in the morning and just dancing around the apartment? Just the way you like it?
Nothing – and it’s always worth it!

Dancing is a true miracle cure for physical, mental and emotional well-being!
Here is some evidence to this:

Benefits for your body

  • Dancing is a very effective full body workout (if you move your full body ;-)). Not only does it trains your muscles but also your condition – just one dance training per week is sufficient.
  • Dancing promotes flexibility in the body and makes it more resistant to injuries.
  • Aerobic dance training is just as effective in helping you lose weight as cycling or jogging
  • Dancing improves breathing, heart performance and quality of life
  • Dancing strengthens our body awareness and helps you to recognize tension and physical stress symptoms in everyday life more quickly.

Emotional benefits

  • Dancing has a liberating effect – it is a wonderful way to let your feelings run free in your movements
  • Dancing has been shown to relieve the symptoms of stress and depression by regulating serotonin and dopamine levels
  • Dancing strengthens your self-confidence
  • Dancing develops social skills and the feeling of togetherness, because dancing is a way of getting to know many people and getting in tune with each other

Benefits for your brain

  • Dancing challenges the brain through the coordination of movement sequences. Regardless of age, new neuronal connections are created – which keeps your brain young.
  • Medical studies have even proven that dancing also has an alleviating effect in Parkinson’s disease and can prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Dancing promotes concentration and focus – and is a wonderful way to “switch off”.
  • Dancing improves mental performance

Plus …

  • Dancing has no age restrictions
  • Dancing is so affordable – the only thing you need is music, you and the groove

So – get up, turn on the music, dance – and enjoy!

This is to the rhythm,

Yours, Birgit