Constant new appointments, always in a rush – other people, objects or feelings just flash by us without our even truly noticing them. With simple mindfulness exercises, you can effectively decelerate your day and even prevent illness.
Lean back in your chair and take a look around. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? Pay attention to the details. What is this about? This simple observation is an MBSR exercise. MBSR is short for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction – stress reduction through mindfulness, a vacation for the body and soul. This training method was developed around 40 years ago by U.S. molecular biologist Jon Kabat-Zinn and is now experiencing a renaissance.
In their daily lives, a lot of people have trouble keeping up with their thoughts: While we shower, we think about making coffee and that phone call we need to make as soon as we reach the office. We switch on autopilot and this navigates us through the day but makes us blind to everything that could distract us from our racing thoughts in a positive way. This releases negative stress in the body that can result in burnout, depression, panic attacks, pain and anxiety. “In this sense, mindfulness means turning off the body’s autopilot and consciously living in the moment by noticing, smelling, tasting, seeing, hearing,” Lara Drockner, spa staff member at the Romantik and Wellness Hotel Deimann in Schmallenberg, explains. Here, guests learn different meditation techniques that foster self-healing and that can be integrated into everyday life. “It all begins with conscious breathing,” says Drockner, “From there, which mindfulness exercise will work for which guest is highly individual.”
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More mindfulness every day
Three simple exercises for a more relaxed, healthier life
Breathe stress away!
“Conscious breathing is our anchor in stressful situations!” says Lara Drockner. Focusing on your breathing in difficult situations is relaxing and calming. This is an exercise you can integrate almost anywhere in your daily life: Sit down with your back straight, relax your shoulders, place one hand flat on your stomach, close your eyes. Now breathe in deeply through your nose. Feel how the air flows into your body, distributes itself, how your abdominal wall extends. Exhale just as calmly. Feel the air flowing back out of your body and how the abdomen falls again. Repeat this sequence ten times. “We recommend that our guests set a reminder on their smartphones so that they remember to do their breathing-anchor one to three times a day,” says Lara Drockner.
A mindful start!
Getting up too late, racing into the bathroom and to the coffee machine in order to get to the office somewhat on time – this is how a lot of people start their day and the stress often continues on into the evening. Mindfulness in the morning can help us stay focused and relaxed all day. We can train ourselves to start the day mindfully: After waking up, stay lying down for a few minutes and look at the room’s ceiling. What does it look like? Is the light casting shadows? Are there spots or anything unusual? Then sit up, stretch, feel your body. Where does the body feel tense? What thoughts and feelings are arising? Just notice them without evaluating them. Now your day begins – peaceful and relaxed.
Scan your body!
Healing processes and relaxation are fostered when the body is more frequently perceived in a conscious way. Lara Drockner says, “Half an hour you have to plan for the body scan.” This conscious exploration of the body can be done lying down or sitting in a chair. What matters is that the body and mind find peace. Begin by gently breathing in and out. While exhaling, close your eyes and concentrate on the individual body regions – from the feet to the head. How do your toes feel? Which muscles are activated for the motion? The aim of this mindful exploration:
a deeper sense of the connection between the body and mind,
to reduce tension, and to prevent stress-related illness.