Peace outside begins with peace inside me

Photo: Pixabay

A friend of mine has written the “Project World Peace” on her banner. It may sound a bit too big and not tangible enough at first – but she has broken it down to the most important thing that everything starts with: namely with ourselves. She has also succeeded in making it very tangible: through 30-minute encounters. Her goal is to hold 365 of them – because, in her words, “the simplest form of world peace is encounter.”

And with that she hits the mark, in my opinion. If we practice every day our ability to really engage with others, to allow and let go (also with those who make us uncomfortable!) it would already be a big step.
This also includes being able to hold respect and maintain a peaceful attitude when we have completely different opinions or different values.
When I look at how many relationships and friendships have broken or suffered in the last few months because of the COVID crisis, because opinions suddenly diverged and a peaceful dialogue seemed unattainable, I believe that we still have a lot to learn.
A long journey begins with small steps.

If I can’t have a peaceful discussion with my best friends about our points of view, accept the other person’s one without judging them or trying to “convert” them, how should this happen succeessfully on a global level?

“Few are capable of calmly expressing opinions that differ from the prejudices of those around them; most are even incapable of arriving at such opinions at all.”
Albert Einstei
n

A good common solution is often only possible if all those involved are allowed to express their needs, motivations and views openly and without fear of rejection. When there is genuine, open, non-judgemental interest.
But how can I get the courage to open up – also to the other person’s opinion – if I feel attacked?

Sure, a binary-judgmental view is easier.
And we also like to have it simple:
Black or white
Good or evil
Guilty or innocent
Right or wrong
Solution A or B
Man or woman .

At the end, our brain needs an explanation as basis for a decision and to take action. And when this explanation is not easy to find, when we are confronted with the inexplicable or the unknown, we become fearful, sometimes even defensive. We quickly build ourselves an explanation that makes us feel comfortable – one that fits into our world view.
But the world is and people are (fortunately!) too complex to be explained in a binary way.

To really engage (with oneself, with the other, with circumstances, with the unpleasant) while maintaining a peaceful attitude is a Herculean task that probably requires a lifetime of practice – and some skills, such as
– being able to let go of being right
– entering encounters with an “I have no idea what it means” attitude
– putting a greater goal (friendship, peace, respect) above one’s own interests
– being aware of unpleasant feelings and evaluations and judgements arising in me, to bear them and to be able to park them
– exploring instead of explaining – to ask more questions instead of telling
– allowing myself and others to change my opinion and point of view and to admit mistakes.

Christina’s project inspired me very much and reminded me of one of my guiding principles:
Peace on the outside begins with peace within me.

I would like to invite you to join me in contributing a little to peace in and around us every day. A positive and hopeful mood initiated by respectful encounters is contagious.

I am far from believing that peace is a goal that we will eventually achieve for all time. Similar to contentment, peace inside and outside is rather a continuous journey of development that requires the will and desire to make it successful.

If you would like to learn more about Christina’s project or even enter into the 30-minute dialogue, follow this link:
365 Encounters – 30 minutes for world peace (missionpeace.global).

I wish you a peaceful week and I am on my way to practise peace now – I can think of some spontaneous training opportunities in my life 😉

Peaceful greetings,
Birgit

Resilience boosting Routine?

Frau, Gesicht, Routine, Gewohnheit, Tretmühle, Trott
Photo: Pixabay

In the feedback that I received from my readers about my blog, there was also the wish to learn something about “resilience and routines”.

These two keywords, brought up a few questions:
What is actually the difference between routines, rituals and habits?
Can routines increase resilience?
Don’t routines tend to limit our flexibility and spontaneity, and if so, aren’t they rather counterproductive?

So let’s start.

Habit, routine, or ritual?

The difference between routines, rituals and habits is easily explained:
What distinguishes all three are two factors: the amount of effort and energy it takes to perform and how consciously I perform the action.
While habits are often performed as a matter of course, mechanically and (without much) thought, routines and rituals require more attention and energy on my part.
When we want to implement new, healthy habits into our lives, we usually need energy and focus in the beginning to make sure we follow through with the action. The longer we keep at it, the easier and more natural it becomes for us. So establishing new habits usually starts with a ritual, which then becomes a routine and eventually a habit.
An example: some time ago I decided to do a small yoga session in the morning right after I get up. I’ve found that it helps me align and “ramp up” physically, mentally and emotionally so that I’m more firmly in the saddle when everyday life hits.
In the first few days, I simply forgot about it. It wasn’t in my morning habits.
So I setup a “morning ritual” – a conscious sequence of things I do in the morning before I start my day. I then simply scheduled yoga in there.
Then after a few weeks it became routine, I didn’t have to remember it. And eventually it became a habit – I miss it when I don’t do it.

Resilience booster routine?

Is it resilience-boosting to develop routines?
Yes – and for two reasons:
First, they are great at helping us establish actions, behaviors, and a mindset that can boost our resilience – like regular exercise, healthy eating, or an optimistic attitude (or yoga in the morning ;-)).
And second, by establishing good habits and routines, we have more energy – because we no longer have to think about what we need to do, when we want to do it – and then spend energy getting around to it. Rather, routines free up resources that we can use to respond spontaneously (and strengthened!) to the craziness of life.
Another resilience-enhancing factor is the fact that routines increase our self-determination. Without healthy routines, we become a pawn in circumstances. Routines help us to consciously create and act – and not just react to external circumstances (and realize at the end of the day that we didn’t get to what WE wanted again).
For routines we need self-regulation – the successful implementation of new, healthy habits in turn increases our self-confidence. We feel “in control” and are automatically less susceptible to temptations and distractions.

The fine print

In order to benefit from all of this, however, we need a few basic qualities:

Clarity: what do I want to change and what is it all for? This point is especially important when we encounter the first obstacles (externally or inside ourselves). Especially in the initial phase, it is helpful to repeatedly bring back the awareness of why we want to establish this habit. This also increases our determination and our …
Perseverance: it takes a while before we have to expend less energy. It’s a bit like in sports: at the beginning everything feels unusual and evokes muscle soreness. But the longer we stick with it, the easier it gets. Which brings me to point 3:
Continuity: Continuity is closely linked to stamina. It means that we carry out the routine as planned – regardless of whether it is easy for us, whether we feel like it or not. Small steps are better than no steps. It takes an average of 2 months to establish a new habit – without interruption!
Flexibility: Sometimes our routine may not work out exactly as planned. Then reschedule! But don’t drop it! Establish your routine in such a way that it can be adapted. (e.g.” 3x sports a week” – instead of “Monday running, Wednesday yoga and Friday weight training.”)

The chicken or the egg?

The crazy thing is: yes, we need all of these qualities to establish routines – but establishing routines in turn enhances those very qualities, which in the end also make us more resilient.

What resilience-enhancing routine could you establish?

Take care and keep at it!

Birgit

Success needs Sacrifice

Mädchen, Luftballon, Composing, Ballon, Kind, Herz
Foto: Pixabay

You can have it all and achieve anything!
Well, maybe not all at once …

In fact, we live in a spoiled society whose mechanisms can easily make us believe that it is totally easy to have and achieve all I want:
With one click, ordered today, delivered tomorrow.
On Instagram, I see before/after pictures of people who have documented their “body transformation,” while for others there are no before-pictures at all – just the perfect self-presentation.
We look at famous people in politics, business, sports and see it everywhere: success is possible.

Motivated, we set ourselves goals, get going and do our best until the first resistance arises, success doesn’t come so quickly or we realize that in fact not everything is possible.

What is often neglected in all the euphoric success stories is the stony path to get there – and the proven skills that are needed to walk this stony path: Perseverance, Impulse Control, and Need Deferral.
That is, to keep going even when things aren’t going so well and to forgo things (the urge to fullfill needs) now because I know that saying no now will enable me to achieve the reward that success will bring along.

If I want my sports activities to bear fruit, I should refrain from “treating” myself to a big meal as a reward.
If I want to be the first on the ski slope in the morning, I have to give up sleeping in.
If I want to successfully run a marathon in a healthy condition, I have to give up various foods – and probably also some meetings and parties with friends, because the training schedule does not allow it.
If I want a certain job, I will certainly have to take jobs along the way that I don’t think are so great – but that bring me closer to my dream job because of the contacts or skills they hold.
If I want more freedom, I will have to sacrifice security.
If I want to gain an additional qualification, I will have to give up free time for a while in favor of learning.

Sometimes, by the way, it is also necessary to give up cherished convictions (“I am not a morning person”) or habits (alcohol at the end of the day) or feelings (e.g. inadequacy).

If you are not willing to give up something on the way to your goal, then that something is more important to you than your goal.

And if you REALLY want something, you can tell by the fact that you can easily endure the deprivations (and reactions of others to them) – because you know what for.

Of course, you can also refrain from refraining – but then be strong and please also refrain from complaining about the fact that success does not show up 😉
In psychology, this is called the ability of doing a “reality check” and “self-actualization” – the competence to accept the consequences of one’s own actions – and to adjust one’s actions if necessary.

Success needs congruence of thoughts, attitude and action – and the ability to renounce.

So the next time you set a committed goal, don’t forget to do a reality check:
What hardships will you have to put up with along the way, and – are you ready for them?

If you can answer the latter with a clear YES, then go for it!

Good luck & Take Care!

Birgit

Always On

Photo: Pixabay

Two experiences last week inspired me to bring up this article again, which was one of my first here on the blog.
During a seminar on “Media Competence and Behaviour on the Internet”, a lively discussion arose between my participants about whether life without a mobile phone is even possible nowadays and to what extent we have already developed an addiction. And during an event I attended, the comedian mentioned a feeling that still existed in the 90s – but seems to be completely unknown (but at least unpopular) today: boredom.
In fact, we always seem to be “on”. Optimising every minute, every second.
Busyness is popular.
Filling every moment – with impressions, activities, movement. Through input from outside or through our own agitation.
The TV is running in the waiting room at the doctor’s, selling the latest services. Small idle moments – e.g. waiting for the bus or in the queue at the bakery – are filled with looking at the mobile phone again. Reading a book on the train, listening to a podcast, working through emails or quickly making that important phone call in the crowded underground (experienced live yesterday) … At home, the radio or TV is blaring and in everyday working life, colleagues and bosses help to make sure that every moment is filled.
Because we let them.
We quickly numb our hunger with a sandwich we brought along on the way to the next meeting.
One after the other, we work through the duties, tasks and activities.
As if in a trance.
As if remote-controlled.

Our head always seems to be one step ahead or at the next item on the agenda. And although it’s physically present on our neck, it is so often in a PRESENT state.
And if an unfulfilled moment seems to emerge, it feels strange. It almost seems as if we numb ourselves with this activity trance because silence has become unfamiliar to us.
In the worst case, our system is then so overdriven that it is no longer able to shut down on its own. Then it’s not unusual that alcohol comes into play.
Direct transition from mental anaesthesia to physical.
Don’t get me wrong – a delicious wine in a cosy atmosphere – how nice! Only if you find yourself reaching for it regularly to make the atmosphere cosy should you give it some thought.
As if conditioned, our mind continuously asks itself – and now what?
Nothing.
Just nothing.

“…and then you have to have time to just sit there and look in front of you.”
Astrid Lindgren

When was the last time you just sat there?
Can you still remember the feeling of boredom?
Why not allow silence and see what wants to emerge.
No music in the background, no smartphone, tablet, e-reader or book in your hand.
Just be.
Take a break. Notice what is here and now. Feel it. Listen in. Let it work.
Input-free time.

To get back in touch with yourself and your needs.
If you want to hear your inner voice, you have to give it the chance for air time.
It may not always be pleasant what it has to say, but it should always be heard. (Otherwise it will complain in another way to your back muscles, your stomach, your head or other parts of your body that cause you problems if you ignore your needs ;-))

Besides, it is paradoxical: we are convinced that we get the best out of our brain if we use/fill every moment. Yet our mental capacity and performance decreases with the duration of the stress. Even more: our brain demonstrably needs idle time to be creative.

So….
Just rest.
Treat youself to some boredome.

Whatever you do – be kind to yourself!

Birgit

Projection – a mirror of myself

Photo: Pixabay

This week, too, my article starts with a story, because I think it is the perfect introduction for today’s topic. The story is not from my pen, but reproduced as I had once heard it myself.

Once upon a time there was a couple who lived in a large house with several floors. One evening, the husband was preparing dinner in the kitchen on the ground floor, while the wife was busy with other tasks in the study on the first floor. When the meal was ready, the man called his wife to the table as agreed. “Dinner is ready,” it sounded through the house. Then silence fell again. While waiting for the wife, the man began to arrange the plates. Then he tried again, “Hey, would you please come down for dinner before it gets cold?” Again, silence followed his words. That’s when the man noticed anger slowly creeping up inside him. Lately they had talked about the woman’s obviously deteriorating hearing. With no results. She had done nothing since then, no visit to the doctor, no check-up at the acoustician, nothing. He decided to call for his wife again – but this time from the stairwell. When he opened the door to the stairwell, he was startled to see his wife standing right in front of him. “You really should see an ear doctor,” the man barked – “didn’t you hear me?”
“Yes, I heard you,” the wife replied, “and I answered you three times, ….”

There is no better way to describe what psychology calls “projection”.

Projection means that I get upset about another person’s behaviour or characteristics that I withhold from myself, do not admit to myself or am not yet at peace with myself. You could also say that I get upset BECAUSE I withhold them from myself. This “being upset” can come in different forms. As a disparaging comment (“How can somebody be so selfish and go home on time …”), as a know-it-all statement (“At that age, it’s better not to wear such funky clothes anymore …”) or as an over-emphasised distancing (“That would never occur to me!”). Especially the latter shows very well what projection actually is: a defence mechanism. We project our own inner issues and conflicts by imputing to our counterpart our repressed emotions, affects, desires and impulses, which may be in contradiction to our or society’s norms. In this way, we automatically distract from ourselves – and from the unpleasant feeling that we should actually be dealing with the issue ourselves.

By the way, projection also works in a positive sense: In this case, I project onto my counterpart everything I wish from him/her. It is not uncommon for disappointments to arise when my “positive assumption” does not come true (and sometimes it then turns into a negative one).

In this respect, projection is a killer for true dialogue with my counterpart – because I stop really seeing the other person but use him or her as an arena for my own issues.
If I am aware of this, however, projection can at the same time be a helpful indication of an inner dialogue that I should still be having with myself.
For example, if I have really decided for myself that I don’t want to wear funky clothes any more at my age, I can do that – and I don’t care how others handle it. As long as I’m convinced of my decision, it’s all good, right?
(The only exception is if the other person’s behaviour or characteristics actually affect me personally in some way).

So – the next time you get upset or outraged about someone or something, see it as an exciting invitation to look behind your emotions and ask yourself: what does that reveal about ME?

Use the look in the projection mirror to “improve your look” and then put it aside so that you can make a real connection with the other person.

Be good to yourself,

Birgit

Happiness is a shy deer

Photo: Pixabay

This week I would like to start by thanking all those who have taken the time to give me feedback on my blog. I have heard you and I will also give time and text to the requested topics in the coming weeks!
The blog articles continue – today, however, in a slightly different form, because after a somewhat longer time, a short story has once again flowed from my fingers.

My thoughts on the questions “What does happiness mean to me?”, “How can I create conditions to invite it?” and “Will it stay?” have made this story emerge.

Enjoy reading and stay happy!

———————-

Once upon a time, not so long ago, in a place not so far away, there was a little boy whose greatest happiness and greatest wish was to one day spot a free deer.
So from then on he thought day and night how he could succeed in doing so. He studied where deer could be found, when the probability of seeing them was particularly high and what they particularly liked. In a short time he had become a true deer specialist. He knew everything about them – the only thing that was missing was really spotting one.
So he set off into the forest with all his knowledge and looked for a suitable clearing. When he found it, far away from the footpaths, he prepared everything. He layed out food in a suitable spot – well visible and yet not too far away from the denser bushes. When he had everything ready, he sat down next to it and waited. When it happened, he wanted to be close to it. And so he waited. Patiently. For three days. But nothing happened. Not a single deer showed up. Not even any other forest creature approached the feeding place. When the little boy finally, sadly and somewhat resignedly, turned his back on the feeding place at dusk on the third day, he heard a rustling in the bushes and felt a slight swaying of the forest floor. He held his breath. He stopped and carefully turned his head, his feet still rooted to the same spot.
There it was, indeed, at last! A magnificent roebuck. Tall, gentle, in a warm brown, with a shy look and an upright posture. Despite its weight, its steps seemed springily light. It lowered its head to eat and raised it again after each bite to observe its surroundings. Fascinated by its appearance and flooded with happiness, the little boy wanted to look at it more closely and took a step towards the feeding spot.

The loud cracking of a branch under his feet abruptly interrupted the perfect situation. In three great leaps the deer fled into the bushes and was gone.
“So short a moment and yet so wonderful!” thought the little boy. Now his longing was aroused all the more. He wanted to try again, to see it once more – and not let it jump away so easily again! He now knew how to do it.
And so he made a small change, went back into the forest to that clearing and prepared everything with much patience and diligence. He waited until dusk – but this time in a hidden spot.
And indeed, there it was again, the rustling, the magnificent creature, the shy look. The little boy’s heart leapt with happiness! He wanted to come closer to it, to touch it, to hold it forever. This time it would not escape.
And just as the deer was nibbling another bite, the little boy dropped a cage on it that he had built earlier. The animal flinched in fright and wanted to flee – but there was no escape. Now the little boy could approach it without it running away. He looked at it, its shiny fur, its big eyes, its wet nose, its delicate limbs.
When he reached his hands through the cage bars to pet it, it backed away. It will get used to me, the little boy thought, and sat down next to the cage.

Patiently he stayed there for a day and a night. At dawn the next day, the boy noticed that the deer had indeed become calmer.
But a lot more had changed. What he perceived was not a trusting, confident calmness. The whole animal had changed. Even seeing it no longer filled him with happiness but with deep sadness. The fur seemed to have lost its shine, the light-footed hooves had sunk heavily into the forest floor and a grey veil of resignation had settled on the deep brown eyes of the beautiful animal. They had stopped shining.

At this point, the little boy realised it was time to let go.
Happiness did not belong to him alone, it belonged to no one – and it could not be captured or held.
And so he opened the cage and released the deer back into the wild. He watched it gallop away, at first a little hesitantly, then in stronger steps – without looking back.
But the little boy stayed behind. He smelled the earthy scent of the damp, freshly churned forest floor, felt the slight vibration of the ground produced by the fleeing hooves and looked longingly after his luck.
Would it ever come back?

You don’t learn how to swim while on land

Photo; Pixabay

Every now and then I give relaxation courses in an environment that has a certain background noise during the sessions.
In the beginning I asked myself: is that possible? Can my participants relax if they are not completely surrounded by silence?
And quite soon I thought to myself:
If my goal is to help people maintain calm in the hustle and bustle, doesn’t it make sense to practise calm in the hustle and bustle?

Sure, you can retreat to the quietest place possible for relaxation – be it meditation, autogenic training or a fantasy journey. And it certainly helps to recharge the batteries.
But what happens if back in everyday life and my batteries are empty before the next rest period or a place to rest is in sight?
Shouldn’t I then be able to carry on in a “healthy” way?

In principle, relaxation methods can have two benefits:

  1. Slowing down, switching off and recharging my batteries
  2. Getting to know and practising techniques and method so that my batterey does not drain so quickly in everday life.

The first point is important, the second is sustainable.
In order to benefit from 2. it is important consciously expose yourself to situations in which you wish for more calm and serenity – in order to practise how you can handle this situation.

If you really learn to how to swim, you have to get wet.

And if we succeed in integrating the methods and techniques into our everyday life, we are much less likely to feel empty and stressed.

So, take the time to recharge your battery but don’t forget to practice what you have learned under the conditions for which you have learned it.

Good luck with your “swim training” !

Yours, Birgit

The Upper Limit of Happiness

Photo: Pixabay

“Don’t take away my problem!”
“I don’t think she is able or even wants to be happy…”
“And what would you do if someone suddenly stood in front of you who was authentically loving and appreciative of you? Who admires you and expresses it?”

These are all sentences that I have come across the last weeks and have reminded me of the phenomenon of the “upper limit of happiness”.
Sometimes we get stuck at certain points in our lives, things don’t get better, because we sabotage ourselves. This usually happens subconsciously – we’re just facing the results and are wondering why we have ended up in the same place again.

How comes?
What we believe and consider possible is shaped by our socialisation and our experiences. It starts when we grow up and continues in the job and in society.

Here is one of my favourite metaphors relating to that phenomenon:

The circus bear
Once upon a time there was a circus bear. His home consisted of a small cage. He had already been born in such a cage and spent his free time taking ten steps forward in this cage and ten steps back again.
At some point, the director decided to give up the circus. He drove the bear into the forest, put the cage down and opened the door before leaving. The bear stuck its nose out of the open cage door. Now the world was open to him for a life as a free bear. He jumped out of the cage. He stomped one step forward, four, six, eight, nine… But after the tenth step, the bear went backwards again ten steps….
(Bert Hellinger)

From the bear back to us:
The upper limit of happiness is the self-made barrier that prevents the “eleventh step.” That can’t be, that mustn’t be, that doesn’t exist … (as children, by the way, we don’t have that yet).
On the topics of joy, money and relationships, several examples come to mind here:
Is it allowed/can one earn a lot of money with joy and few hours of work?
Is it allowed /can something be easy – or do you have to work for everything first? Affection, income… No pain no gain?
Am I allowed to be happy at all? What happens when I am able to authentically answer “I’m doing great!” to the question of how I’m doing. What do we talk about then, when there is nothing left to complain about? 😉 (here we go with “Don’t take away my problem.”).

Self-sabotage can come in different shapes. The good news is that once recognised, it can be resolved. It’s not always easy – but it’s worth it, especially if you want to explore the world outside your self-made cage.

Shape 1: “The safe dream”
We wish for something – but honestly don’t really believe that it exists. E.g. Earning more money with fewer working hours and having fun at work.
Sabotage: We keep on dreaming, watch the wish like a movie in order to get a better feeling in the short term, while being able to remain sitting on the couch (comfort zone).
Solution: Be honest with yourself, listen to yourself – what do you really think about the subject? Do you really believe it exists? And if you don’t believe it, are you ready to act and see if you can find examples or maybe even create new ones? (Attention, exhausting! ;-))

Shape 2: “Program not found”
What we wish for is in front of us – but we don’t recognise it (never seen or experienced it). Imagine you have never seen a car your whole life. You have always been on foot or on a bicycle. Sometimes you think about how you could get to your destination faster. You think about the distance, about a faster gear, about something you could change on the bike. And when you pass a parked car for the first time, you would never think that this could be the solution!
Sabotage: Lack of knowledge.
Solution: Find people who have already lived, experienced or seen what you want. Let them show you from different perspectives what it looks like, what it feels like, etc. This will give you a first picture of what you want. This will give you a first picture.

Shape 3: “Free Falling”
What we want is in front of us – and we get scared. In this case, we recognise it, but suddenly feel helpless, afraid, distrustful – because we have never learned to deal with it.
Sabotage: Thoughts like “Is she really nice to me or is there a catch?” or “This is too good to be true.” are the starting point. We even sometimes prefer to stay in problematic but familiar situations (even if it’s stupid, but what we know is predictable and gives us a feeling of control) – instead of boldly plunging into new territory and learning new steps (to stay with the bear image).
Solution: Stand the unpleasant or strange feelings that may come up when you are faced with a new situation. Notice them and be happy – they are a sure sign that you have reached the end of your comfort zone and can now make history and learn! And then dare to take the eleventh step.

Shape 4: “The flipside of the coin”
We wish for something but secretly carry negative beliefs about it. An well known example is having a lot of money in the bank account.
Sabotage: Beliefs like “Money destroys character.” “You can’t legally get a lot of money quickly.” …
Solution: Check your beliefs. And then question them. Is that really true? What evidence do you know to the contrary? In our example: What does a “good character” mean to you and what could you do with the money to live it?

Where is your upper limit of happiness and in what shap does it appear?

Bear in mind you’re not a circus bear! Take the eleventh step and explore the world!

Take care,

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
  • Dancing delivers happiness!

Mental benefits

  • 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

Inner change – the danger of quick or pending achievements

Photo: Pixabay

One of the biggest secrets to success in achieving goals and changing habits is consistency, i.e. sticking with it. Easier said than done. The articles of the last few weeks have already highlighted some obstacles that can lead to us not tackling the desired change or losing fun halfway through.
Today I would like to add two more aspects to this list:
Quick first achievement and pending achievements.

  1. The danger of fast achievements:
    If we start the change and after a short time the first achivements take place, it can be very motivating. But it can also lead us to think: “Oh, if it’s so easy, I can slow down. After all, I’ll get there again quickly.” Then we stop to take our project seriously enough, we get sloppy – it slips down the priority list and…in the long run we lose sight of it again. It was just a flash in the pan. In fact, in this case, we don’t even get to the real endurance test – that’s the stage where further success takes longer and is harder to achieve them. Sometimes we even get setbacks. In sport, this is called the plateau phase. At this point, it becomes clear whether we really want it – namely, if we keep at it despite standstills and setbacks. To do this, however, we have to continue after the first achievements. Furthermore, when we achieve success too quickly, it is worthwhile to check whether we have perhaps made things too easy for ourselves? Could we do more? Did we start with the requirements just above our competence? If not, take it up a notch 😉
  2. The danger of pending achievements: This can also happen. We are very proud that we have started to integrate the new habit into our lives, but nothing happens. This quickly leads to a “there’s no point in doing it anyway”. Seriously? In most cases, nothing has happened yet because we haven’t kept at it long enough. How long did you hold on? Patience! A habit that we have cultivated for several decades can hardly be changed in a fortnight! I know this well. When I had just got my motorbike licence and was on tour with a group of people who all had over 20 years of riding experience, I wanted to ride just as fast and confidently straight away. And became impatient with myself. Impatience can lead us to overexterd ourselves, wanting too much at once and then stopping because it’s not good for us. So, stay patient but consistent and keep observing what is changing.

Whatever you want to change – I wish you patience, stamina and the right amount of challenge. Then the rest will fall into place!

Be kind to yourself!

Birgit