Pets for Happiness

Photo: Birgit Baldauf

In the light of the current situation I would like to remind all pet owners: Congratulations! You live next to happiness 🙂 Your pets are the best compensation for the currently missing personal social contacts.
I guess this is no new news for you – however, living with pets, that’s scientifically proven, is good for your health. And this is for several reasons:

  1. Petting your pet lowers your blood pressure. Petting animals releases the so-called bonding hormone oxytocin – not only in humans, but also in our pets (at least in dogs). Oxytocin causes a reduction in blood pressure and cortisol (stress hormone) levels and delivers a feeling of relaxation and confidence. By the way, it also supports the fat metabolism – so it helps loosing weight (unless you eat sweets at the same time ;-))
  2. Pets strengthen the immune system. If you have a dog, e.g., you need to walk it – no matter what weather. Yes, that’s not always nice – but it strengthens our body’s defences – as does the fact that every walk in daylight boosts vitamin D production. Vitamin D protects our nerves, strengthens our bones and has a positive effect on our mood. Pets can also relieve allergies. This sounds like a contradiction at first because you might rather think of animal hair allergies. However, it has been proven that children who have grown up with pets develop fewer allergies than children from pet-free households.
  3. Animals live in the here and now and do not evaluate or interpret. Animals act, experience, learn, act, experience, learn. They always act upon the situation. Although they do remember past experiences, they do not know anything like regretting, pondering or worrying. They live the moment and act in the moment. They can interrupt our numerous houghts and if we are open to it, we can discover the world through their eyes – in the present moment – which is both enriching and relieving.
  4. Animals can strengthen our self-confidence. Animals are very adaptable and fit into the social pack with humans. They are dependent on us – which gives us the responsible – and meaningful – task of taking good care of them. Our actions are important and we feel important and are more self-confident. Moreover, the routines and reliability that our pets need give us a feeling of stability and order.

So my friends – enjoy the company of your pets!

And for those who don’t have a pet – maybe there is someone in the neighbourhood who needs help walking their dog?

Take care of yourself!

Best regards,


RAOK for Happiness

Photo: Pixabay

Psychologists agree: we are hard-wired to kindness and the desire to help.
If you look at what is happening in the world, you may be surprised.
However, if you consider that your view of the world depends massively on what News you expose yourself to, it might give you a different perspective.
Why not taking your our own experiences as a reference – and start shaping the world you want to live in?
When I take a look at my professional and private environment and evaluate the encounters and situations that I am grateful to experience every week on my travels, it feels like friendliness really matters.
And it works best, if you are the one to initiate it.

Try it out with RAOKs. RAOK stands for “Random Acts of Kindness”.

The nice thing about it: doing good for others (without expecting anything) makes yourself happier and more satisfied. This is because generous behavior activates a brain area that is closely linked to our reward center. It also changes our self-image – we perceive ourselves as a person who is capable, competent and able to help others. This view enhances self-esteem and serenity.

Everyone can contribute to more joy in the world with those small gestures of generosity. And since joy is contagious, it is not only the receiving people who benefit from it but also all the others who will meet the happy receipients of kindness.

RAOKs could look like this:

  • Bring some self made cakes or cookies for your colleagues
  • Smile at a stranger on the street – preferably at one who seems to need it
  • Declutter your wardrobe and donate the clothes – preferrably hand them in personally
  • Leave a book your finished reading with the message: “Gift to the finder, have fun reading” on the train.
  • At the bakery buy for yourself and for the person behind you in the the row
  • Write a “thank you” card.
  • Give the postman a cookie or candy
  • Express your gratitude
  • Give honest compliments
  • Buy a ticket for public transport and leave it behind in the vending machine
  • Buy a lottery ticket and put it under the windscreen wipers of an old Looking car.
  • Buy a few bars of good chocolate and put them in the mailboxes of your neighborhood
  • Write a positive review about a restaurant or a bar you liked
  • Donate old sheets and towels to an animal shelter

I am pretty sure you have many more beautiful ideas!
More inspiration can be found under the Hashtag #randomactsofkindness.

By the way, do you already know the initiative “Suspended Coffee”? Meanwhile over 300 cafés in Germany, Austria and Switzerland take part in it ( You simply buy a coffee or another product, which you don’t use, but donate. The donation is noted as “to pass on” – and given to a person who cannot afford it. All they have to do is go to the shop and ask for the “passed-on item”.
Maybe you would like to encourage your favourite café to take part in this initiative?

How about one RAOK day every week?
A day on which you consciously do something good?

Pass it on!


Your Birgit

PS: and don’t forget to include yourself in the circle of people to whom you regularly do something good 🙂

Curious beginner’s mind – the raisin exercise

Photo: Pixabay

The raisin exercise originates in mindfulness training. It is also a nice first step to start meditation.
But this exercise is also excellent for training your beginner’s mind and perception. Do you still remember your first raisin? Or the first bite of a fruit you have never eaten before? When we experience something for the first time, our perception is more diverse and intense. Body and mind are adjusted to learning, our senses sharpened, we are full of open curiosity.

Today I would like to invite you to consciously activate this open curiosity – to enrich your perception and focus your mind. This finally enables you to switch off and relax more easily.

In the exercise you will consciously look at something that has become a matter of course in your everyday life and that your mind routinely takes for granted in a new way – which is with the eyes of a beginner.

Today we will use a raisin for the exercise- but it also can be pracitised with other food items (e.g. a fig) or transferred to everyday routine situations, such as opening a door.

Prepare a raisin, make sure you will not be interrupted for about 10 minutes, and then proceed as follows:

  1. Watching – Put the raisin between your fingers or place it in the palm of your hand and look at it from all sides as if it were the first raisin in your life.
    What does it look like when you hold it against the light? What do you notice? What details? What thoughts come up?
  2. Feeling – Touch the raisin and move it with your fingers in the palm of your hand. Place it between your fingers, press it a little, feel it consciously. What do you feel?
  3. Smelling -Place the rasin close to your nose, close your eyes and smell it. Focus on the aroma. What does it remind you of?
  4. Hearing – Place the the raisin close to your ear and move it between your fingers. Press it a little or put it in your closed hand and shake it. What kind of noise does it make?
  5. Taste and Feel – put the raisin on your tongue and concentrate on how it feels before you take the first bite. Move it in your mouth. What do you perceive? What do you taste?
  6. Eat and Taste – take a first bite and be aware of how the texture of the raisin changes and what taste spreads in your mouth. Chew slowly, taste, feel, swallow consciously.
  7. Reflection – What do you perceive now? Would you like another raisin or rather not? How would you describe the experience of eating a raisin like that?

A week full of open curiosity, awareness and enrichment.

Warm regards,


Inhale, smile, exhale

Photo: Pixabay

Frequently I am asked how to regain relaxation in moments of anger or tension. Most of the time I hear myself answering: “Breathe”. Sometimes I also say “inhale, smile, exhale”. That’s the moment, when a lot of people look at me in disbelief. Yes, it sounds simple – and so it is. And our greatest benefit is, that breathing is always with us. And far too rarely we actively use it to put ourselves into a better state.

Our breath is vital and fortunately works automatically and without our active involvement. And it’s exactly because of it working all by itself that makes us most if the time paying too little attention to our breath. Your breath is the perfect companion for relaxation.

Normally, breathing rhythm and intensity adapt to the circumstances. If we are tense, excited or need more energy for some other reason, our breathing becomes faster and shallower. If we relax in bed or on the couch, we breathe deeper and slower. The amazing thing is: the mechanism also works the other way round.

When we breathe slowly, consciously and deeply, we send a signal to our body telling it to relax. This works both – in tough situations, e.g. when I get upset about something, and during relaxation exercises after a demanding day.

Why don’t you give it a try? Take some time to devote yourself to your breathing. Find a quiet place with no interruptions for the next 2-3 minutes.

Choose a comfortable position, sitting or lying. Make sure that your stomach and chest can expand freely while breathing. When you are ready, close your eyes. Now pay attention to how your breath flows in and out all by itself. Let go of all thoughts and everything that still occupies your mind in this moment, relax more and more with each exhalation. Feel how you become calmer with every breath and how tensions in your body slowly release. Now put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Next time you breathe in, consciously feel how the air first fills your chest and then your belly – and how both relax again when you breathe out. Now enjoy two to three breaths in your own pace. If you like, pay attention to the breathless moments at the end of each inhalation and at the end of each exhalation. Enjoy for three more conscious breaths and give them loving attention.
Now slowly return attention to your environment. Stretch yourself, yawn if you feel like it and slowly open your eyes .

Enjoy the relaxed mood, take it with you into your day and stay calm.


Go Create!

There is something very relaxing and deeply satisfying about devoting yousefl to a task that you enjoy, in which you can really sink into, and the result of which you can see, taste, hear or feel in the end.

It doesn’t always have to be a very demanding task. It can also be something that allows you to switch off or let your thoughts run wild. For example when painting or drawing. It’s for a reasing that coloring books with e.g. Mandalas for adults are top sellers at the moment. If you also like to paint and relax – just dig out the old coloured pencils and print out a mandala to colour in. Or even better, grab an empty sheet of paper and get started. Just like when we were kids and we didn’t care whether one colour matched the other, the proportions were right or you could figure out what the result supposed to look like. Let your heart guide your hand.

But maybe you are more interested in music and you have a neglected instrument somewhere in your apartment that you once played but haven’t held in your hand for a long time? Now is the best time for it!

Or maybe you are more of a hobbyist and craftsperson?  With a tool room that helps you escaping time?

Or how about dedicating yourself today to the preparation of a delicious meal and treat yourself to it afterwards? Either alone (you are worth it!) or together with friends?

Cooking, handicrafts, painting, drawing, making music, photographing – the list can be extended endlessly.

I am sure you will find the right thing to awaken the Creator in you!

Have fun with it,

Your Birgit

Greet your feet

We stress them all day. In the morning, we hide them in socks or stockings and in nice shoes – that are very often far too tight. Sometimes we get blisters (I always think my shoes make my feet fit them and not the other way round …). Most time of the year they live in darkness – but despite all this, they walk us through our lives.

Our feet are a masterpiece of nature. They help us keep our musculoskeletal system in balance, and even though we strain the soles throughout the day, they contain many important and sensitive points that are related to our energy channels (meridians) in the body. A professionally performed foot reflexology massage can also help reduce stress by stimulating nerve paths and muscle relaxation.

This way, being kind to your feet also has a positive effect on the rest of your body and your well-being. And there are many ways to do your feet good:

  • Treat your feet regularly to a relaxing foot bath
  • After cleansing, cream your feet with a foot lotion and massage them lightly. Make sure to include all areas of your feet (including the heel and toe ends).
  • To relax, massage your both feet consecutively for 20 minutes each with a good massage oil. If you are under stress, try this: in the middle under the ball of the foot is the midriff-solar-plexus-zone. A gentle massage of this point reliefs nervous tension.
  • You can also apply a simple foot reflexology massage by using spiky massage balls. Sit upright on a chair and roll your bare feet alternately with light pressure over the massage ball.

And my last tip: free your feet and walk barefoot more often!

When walking barefoot, we perceive the underground much more and can reconnect with nature more easily. In addition, walking barefoot trains the muscles (not only those of the foot) and can thus help to alleviate postural deformities, back problems and flat feet.

By the way, if you walk barefoot regularly, you have less cold feet. Why? Because walking barefoot stimulates the blood circulation (which is often hindered in shoes and socks), and your feet get used to being naked – just as your hands are used to.

During summer, you can also visit barefoot sensory paths or create your own:

So, greet your feet an enjoy!