happiness at work

Happiness at Work – How Mindfulness can help you

How can mindfulness and mental training help you become more successful and achieve happiness at work?

by André Genwa Daiyû Steiner

André Genwa Daiyû Steiner

Happiness comes not from doing WHAT makes you happy, but from doing what you do HAPPILY.” –André Genwa Daiyû Steiner

Practicing mindfulness is simple, but not easy. We become radically aware of the present moment, with all our senses. Mindfulness can be trained, like a muscle – but endurance and consistency are required.

In a time of quick and instant satisfaction – any information you want is available on Google, the craving for your favorite food can always be satisfied by 24h delivery service, muscles can be defined electrically without any active effort – a practice like mindfulness that requires practice may seem unattractive.

As in sports, a small step every day has a more lasting effect than a large step once. Fundamental attitude: There is no activity more important than the present one – being mindful is not racing off to try and find something better. Practicing mindfulness means returning to life in the present moment: 

“When I sit, I sit; when I walk, I walk; when I eat, I eat.” (Zen Master Nansen).

One aspect of mindfulness can be to turn our attention consciously to our senses or to our own body. We expect our bodies to do their job, day after day, but we seldom pay them any attention unless they hurt.

Everything we take in in terms of input and food needs to be processed. Everything we do, our posture, movement, tension, leaves its mark. Everything we feel emotionally has a physical equivalent. The body has its own way of knowing. A knowledge that little has to do with logic and much with truth, little with control and much with acceptance.

The practice of mindfulness can free us from the jail of perfection and release us into the gentle beauty of our imperfect yet wonderful human body.

So it is about being attentive. In doing so, we become aware of all our daily habits – we experience them consciously and with presence in every action, in every movement, in every word. A well-known Zen saying sums it up perfectly: “Make every moment the best moment of your life.” This is the path to success and leads to a fundamental feeling of happiness and ease.

What are the benefits of mindfulness in a business context?

mindfulness in the work place

The benefits of mindfulness have been studied scientifically for years, and multiple benefits have been discovered when it comes to regular mindfulness practice in a business context:

  1. Improved memory: Keep the important stuff fresh in your mind.
  2. Improved concentration and attention: Pay attention in meetings, stay in the zone when working.
  3. Stronger decision-making skills: When we understand ourselves better, we see more clearly, feel more courageous, and make better choices.
  4. Greater self-esteem and self-confidence: When we’re not worrying about how the world sees us, we are free to act boldly.
  5. More serenity: Less friction… more trust and cooperation… new pathways open up.

4 tips that help you when acute self-doubts and anxiety come up at work

About recognizing anxiety in the mind

When expectations and reality differ, anxiety and self-doubt result in our mind. All of our biological systems strive to establish a calmness – called coherence – in which everything that is going on inside and outside work together as effectively as possible. And when we fail to establish coherence, the deeper layers of the brain are activated. This leads us into fight-or-flight mode.

Typical behavior patterns are anger or aggression on the one hand and withdrawal, sadness or depression on the other – and if both modes do not work anymore, we go into shock/freeze.

Anxiety and self-doubt can be difficult to combat even in the best of times. But with the world constantly changing and new problems popping up every day, it’s even harder to find moments of calm.

Exercises to cope with anxiety and self-doubt

Here are the most effective, breathing and relaxation exercises for anxiety and self-doubt compiled. 

Manipulating breathing on purposes is a small change that can have a big impact. Moreover, it can be done at any time and anywhere (for example, when you feel a panic attack coming on at the office or during a family dinner).

1) Box Breathing

Box breathing is an effective relaxation technique. The idea is that you imagine a box (with four equal sides, like a square) while doing the breathing exercise.

  • Breathe in through your nose while counting to 4.
  • Hold the breath for 4 seconds.
  • Exhale through the mouth for 4 counts.
  • Hold the breath for another 4 counts.
  • Then repeat this exercise. Try to continue until you feel your heartbeat and mind begins to slow down.

2) Deep Belly Breathing

If you are looking for a more meditative breathing technique, this exercise is great because it requires mindful concentration.

  • Inhale and focus on filling your belly, then your lungs, then your chest.
  • Hold your breath at the top.
  • Breathe out in reverse order: from the chest, the lungs, then the belly.
  • You can repeat this as many times as it feels good.

3) Body Scan

Doing a body scan can be helpful if you feel very tense during the day or if you feel too restless to sleep.

For this exercise, lie on your back and stretch out your legs and arms in a comfortable position. Focus all your attention on each single part of your body, one at a time, starting with your feet.

You can either do a scan of any sensations or emotions associated with your body, or simply relax each part as you come to it.

4) Writing a diary – Journaling

 Write to your inner you about worries, wishes and hopes and start a dialogue in which the writer is also the reader or listener.  In the Mindshine app you will find many journaling exercises to help you find inspiration and the right questions. However, you can also write “freely”.

To write freely, set a timer on your phone. Try to start with 5 minutes, but feel free to adjust it until you find the right amount of time for you.

During this time, you can write anything that comes to mind. When the timer goes off, put the pen down and leave the writing for a while.

If you want, you can come back to it later and read it and go over your thoughts and feelings.

About the author

André Genwa Daiyû Steiner is a ZEN master and sensei, a keynote speaker, management trainer, author, expert in the fields of mindfulness, meditation and mind training. 

He has been practicing the Zen way for 30 years under the guidance of Japanese Zen masters. He runs his own Zen school and several Zendos in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Experiencing the present moment with all senses leads to ease and serenity – that’s what drives him. 

Download the Mindshine app (iOS or Android) for additional mindfulness and happiness exercises. Check out “Worry Less” “Journaling for Joy” and “Say it to Yourself”.

Check out how defining your values can help you make better decisions, or how to turn positive stress into personal growth.

online learning

How to motivate your homeschooled kids: start by adding fun

It seems that young kids will need to continue learning remotely for at least some more months in 2021. Here, Tara Eddy, a licensed educational psychologist, CEO of Feelings in Motion and creator of Stomp it Out, gives us some tips to help our homeschooled kids survive the remainder of online learning.

Tara Eddy

Young kids respond consistently well to two things: fun and connection.

If your child isn’t doing what you want them to do, it may very well be because they are bored, or they need a few minutes with you

When kids are bored, the threat of future consequences won’t help them to pay attention. In fact, threats and consequences will cause more meltdowns. That is because, they don’t see into the future with goal directed behavior like adults. They want to play. To get kids to do their work more easily, they have to enjoy doing it more.

Start by adding fun

stomp it out

Find a way to make their online schooling assignment more silly or playful. For older kids, tie in their interest areas to make it more fun.

For younger kids, if they don’t want to break down a writing assignment, find a ridiculously large pencil or pen for them to use. If doing a science video, recreate the actual experiment at home. If they’re doing math, bring in some fun manipulatives (objects) from your house, such as toy cars, pom poms, stuffed animals, etc. This will make the work more tangible.

For the much younger ones, they might even have one of their stuffed animal friends help them come up with the answers to questions by sitting near by. Kids aren’t meant to look like small business people on computers all day and an injection of fun can do a lot of good

When your child wants you to do their work for them: do it absolutely terribly, really exaggerate. Make stupid mistakes. They’ll find it hilarious, they’ll correct you, and do the work themselves. They’ll quickly show you what they can do and will probably do it smiling.

If adding a bit of fun and playfulness doesn’t improve their motivation, here are a few other ideas:

• Make sure they aren’t hungry: a lot of behavior can be quickly resolved by meeting basic needs that kids don’t describe well.

• Give your child a movement break: kids need much more movement than adults. They’ll focus better when they receive it. Have a dance party to their favorite song, run around outside, do a 5-item scavenger hunt in their room (see how fast they can find 5 blue items), or do a race from one end of your living room to the next.

• Make sure they actually know how to do what they are being asked to do.

• Emotional Check-in: ask them how they’re feeling. They may be frustrated about something being difficult or length, or may need a little help with something they don’t understand. When kids are stressed they often don’t have the words to tell us, so they behave in ways parents tend not to like. Ask and find out more.

For reference, average attention spans are approximately:

• 2 years old: 4-6 minutes

• 4 years old: 8-12 minutes

• 6 years old: 12-18 minutes

• 8 years old: 16-24 minutes

• 10 years old: 20-30 minutes

• 12 years old: 24-36 minutes

• 14 years old: 28-42 minutes

• 16 years old: 32-48 minutes

You can find more about Confidence, Productivity, and Happiness in our Magazine.

Download the Mindshine App (iOS or Andriod) and check our personalized goal plans that give you the tools you will need to stimulate and maintain motivation.

relationship problems during covid

7 tips that will save your relationship during Covid-19

Is Covid-19 sabotaging your relationship?

With coronavirus keeping us at home many of us have taken a long hard look at our relationships. Our relationships have been stripped back. The scaffolding of support that relationships normally rely on are simply not available.

Our partner has had to be our gym buddy, confidant, extended family, best friend, work colleague and a constant companion with nothing new to bring into the relationship.

Our intimate relationships have been put under a huge amount of stress. This doesn’t take into account the uncertainty and high anxiety that we have all been living with. People are emotionally exhausted. Add to that home schooling, support bubbles and financial pressures.

We have the perfect storm of life events that can derail even the most solid relationships.

relationship issues during covid 19

This is a time to recalibrate ones relationship. The relationships that have weathered storms in the past or faring better than those that haven’t faced pressures. Navigating through this crisis needs support and it would be sad if a perfectly good relationship fails because one doesn’t have the skills to negotiate the changes needed.

The one thing that we hear at The Relationship Practice is that we keep on arguing. How do we stop? The truth is all relationships have disagreements.

Conflict is not necessarily a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Even the most successful relationships argue. Unless we are in a relationship with our clone we are likely to have disagreements. It’s honestly not surprising to have arguments and in truth it’s not the arguments that are the undoing of a relationship it is how we manage it.

We also need to be aware of the impact the level of anxiety we are living under. Health anxiety has shrunk our window of tolerance and our brains are wired for fight and flight. In truth we are already primed to pick up on anything we may perceive as threatening and that includes issues within our relationship. As a result,  we may find our partner more readily irritating.

Here are 7 steps you can take to support your relationship over this time

1) Accept that disagreements are inevitable.

2) Take full responsibility and decide to recalibrate the relationship. Changing times requires changes to how your relationship operates. (Try the Mindshine exercise “Journaling for Joy”).

3) Have “we” conversations. E.g. “We are struggling with X, how shall we manage this?” works better than “You are doing X, and it’s a problem”.

4) Focus on a solution. Research has shown that solution focused discussions create harmony (Try the Mindshine exercise “Uncover Anger”).

5) Give each other space. Go for a walk apart or have a conversation separately, this literally brings air into a relationship. (Try the Mindshine exercise “Mindful Walking”).

6) Start and end the day well. Five minutes of undivided attention at the beginning and the end allows a couple to feel reconnected.

7) Seek support. A non-judgmental conversation with a counsellor can help turn a relationship around.

Article by Pam Custers, founder of The Relationship Practice.

You can find more about Confidence, Productivity, and Happiness in our Magazine.

Download the Mindshine App (iOS or Andriod) and check our personalized goal plans that give you the tools you will need to stimulate and maintain motivation.

Personal growth and mental training helps to be happy

“My saviour and anchor in times of need” Yoga and Mental Training

Personal growth. Development. Achieving goals.

My life is shaped by the longing for self-fulfillment, realizing plans and letting reality develop the way I imagine it. However the path to this goal is not always easy and even today we achieve it with great effort.

Holistic work

Yoga has been my faithful companion for a long time, my saviour and anchor in times of need.  Working with my body supports me, enabling me to pursue my goals in a healthy way and live my dreams in a gentle way. Feeling the body, giving space to the soul and calming the mind – this is the goal of yoga. 

When I opened the yoga studio Om und Company in Munich in February 2020, I wanted to create more than just a platform for physical exercise, and I wanted to offer more than just yoga classes. I want to share my experiences with my students and take them on a journey of balance, health, and self-realization.

Physical practice and mental training 

For me, contentment has always been one of the biggest challenges in my life. It is not always easy to accept myself as a human being and to accept the external circumstances as they are. But allowing change often costs me strength and energy.

A big and helpful part of my spiritual work is also mental training. Since my second yoga training, which I completed in 2019 in India, meditation and pranayama (breath work) have become a big part of my daily routine. I start the day with a self-love practice, in which I learn through physical exercise and also mental alignment how I am doing and what I need. Every day I learn through listening to myself, but I also get help and support from outside. I find possibilities to develop myself mentally and emotionally. 

Creating a space and conveying understanding

My yoga studio is a place where physical practice plays a major role, but the mental guidance is not to underestimate. The yoga classes are also characterized by a holistic approach with a focus on self-love and positive thinking. I teach my students that a healthy body can only function with a healthy mind – and vice versa. I experience this every day anew, and it is important to me to pass this on. 

Offer support and coaching

After the crisis, digital interaction will probably play a greater role than before – especially in the field of yoga. Digital helpers can provide perfect support in this respect. 

I offer my participants this wonderful, digital coach as a valuable product to complement my yoga classes. The combination of bodywork and mental training is an important interplay in everyday life today.

With the possibility of a daily Mindshine training in connection with a valuable yoga practice, I create a great added value for my customers.

Achieving goals in a healthy way

For me, yoga is one of the most effective ways to feel yourself physically – the Mindshine App is a wonderful supplement for the alert mind.

For my participants a big benefit, for me a great opportunity to offer an additional bonus for personal growth. 

A connection that helps you to become physically and mentally strong. The perfect combination of physical and mental movement.