Exercises


    Strengthening faith – giving up control – gaining courage

    Who believes in something is definitely better off during times of crises. No matter if you believe in a god, equality of justice, the good side in humans or in yourself. Faith can be releasing and take away the pressure of having to control everything as well as giving the needed courage to get things done and change something.

    Maybe the following prayer was written out of these thoughts. Please try it! And if you don't believe in an incarnated god, replace "God" for instance by "Gracious universe", "Dear mother earth", "Heavenly powers", "Higher self", or whatever seems appropriate to you:

    "God, give me serenity
    to accept the things i can't change,
    the courage to change what i can change,
    and the wisdom
    to differentiate between the two." 
     

    Please send me your experience with this or other exercises! 

    Creating a gratitude & Sorrow box

    This exercise helps to: 
    1. realize and extend strengths and ressources 
    2. release sorrows, reduce rumination, and gain confidence 

    Take some time to create a "Gratitude box": 
    In order to do this write down everything that you are grateful for: important people, work, material things, nonmaterial things, attitudes, thoughts, … 
    Write down each of these things on a small piece of paper and put it in a box. 
    Take 5 minutes each day to be grateful for everything that's in the box. if you want to you can also take single pieces of paper out of the box if you are especially grateful for it. 

    Make sure to put the box where you see it often. It will remind you that your life changes as soon as you express your gratitude. 

    Take some time to create a "Sorrow box": 
    In order to do this write down what you are worried about or what Problems you have in your life. Again, write every single thing on a separate piece of paper and put it in a box. 
    Now you give your worries, your problems, … to life, a higher power, the universe, god, … depending on what helps you and seems appropriate. Give them away with good wishes and the effort to let them go. 

    Every now and then check how things developed, take pieces of paper out of the box or add others. 

    Source: Boden, M., Feldt, D. (2008), Krisen bewältigen, Stabilität erhalten, Veränderung ermöglichen. Psychiatrie Verlag, S. 194.

    Please send me your experience with this or other exercises! 


    Where to start with relinquishing burdens?

    Relinquish burdens – make space for new things

    • Where to start with relinquishing burdens? Here are 10 useful questions that you can take directly to your burden problems area!
    1. Do you own clothes that don’t fit you anymore or shoes that are uncomfortable?
    2. Do you have beauty products that are dried out or that have only been used occasionally for years?
    3. Do you have old piles of paper that are waiting to be taken care of or filed?
    4. Do you have pin boards with more than one layer of paper on it?
    5. Do you keep old news papers or magazines because there is one article in them that you want to read?
    6. Do you have more books than space on the shelves?
    7. Do you own electronic devices that you rarely use?
    8. Do you have entire drawers of plastic bags?
    9. Do you keep things just because they were presents?
    10. Do you keep things in case they could be used one day? 

    Please send me your experience with this or other exercises! 

    5-Minutes To Clear Out Problemzones at Home

    Relinquish burdens – make space for new things

    ... few small steps to an enfranchised home:

    http://www.everyday-feng-shui.de/entruempeln-in-5-minuten.html

    Please send me your experience with this or other exercises! 

    What are my needs? What do I need for my well-being?

    The realization of one’s personal basic needs (which differ from person to person) is essential for maintaining balance and happiness. However, most people are not really aware of their needs. Before you can satisfy your needs, you need to figure out what they are.
    In order to address the question of your needs, I would like to recommend that you complete the following exercise:

    Exercise:

    1. It is often easier for us to say what we do not want instead of what we do want. To start, please grab a sheet of paper and write down 3 things you do not want to have in your life anymore, e.g. “I do not want to live in the loud and hectic city anymore.”
    2. Second, please go through each of your 3 “I do not want anymore” points and ask yourself “What do I want instead?” for each of them. Write down the answer right after the corresponding question.
      For example: "I do not want to live in the loud and hectic city anymore. Instead, I would like to live in the countryside, preferably somewhere where there is hardly any traffic and I am not constantly confronted with strangers.
    3. Now you know what you want. The next step is to determine which basic need is behind this wish. In order to find the basic need, you can ask yourself “Why do I want this?” or “What do I expect from this?” for each of your points. Write down the answer after the corresponding wish. For example: "I do not want to live in the loud and hectic city anymore. Instead, I would like to live in the countryside, preferably somewhere where there is hardly any traffic and I am not constantly confronted with strangers. That stems from my need for calm, silence and peace.
    4. The fourth step is to ask yourself what would have to happen for each of these needs to be satisfied. This step is essential if you do not want your needs not remain abstract concepts in your mind. You need a clear image of what each need means to you because that is the only way to ensure that your need gets met.
      Ask yourself: “What would have to happen for my need to be satisfied?” Write down the answer after the corresponding need. In our example it would look like this: "I do not want to live in the loud and hectic city anymore. Instead, I would like to live in the countryside, preferably somewhere where there is hardly any traffic and I am not constantly confronted with strangers. That stems from my need for calm, silence and peace. I should find a place in my everyday life where I can seclude myself and feel safe and secure.
    5. As a last step think of small, simple and achievable actions that help you get a tiny step closer to your needs. Ask yourself: “What would be the first step towards my goal?” In our example it would be: "I do not want to live in the loud and hectic city anymore. Instead, I would like to live in the countryside, preferably somewhere where there is hardly any traffic and I am not constantly confronted with strangers. That stems from my need for calm, silence and peace. I should find a place in my everyday life where I can seclude myself and feel safe and secure. My first step is to consider where this place might be.


    Using this pattern, you can review each of your 3 “I do not want anymore” points and establish concrete next steps to create space for the needs they represent.

    Source: http://www.zeitzuleben.de/13768-wer-bin-ich-und-was-will-ich/ 13.02.2012

    Please send me your experience with this or other exercises! 

    Training Mindfulness for our own needs

    A simple way to remember our intention to be mindful about dealing with ourselves is to put an object, for example a stone, where we will notice it several times during the day. Every time we feel or see this object, we can ask ourselves how our day has been going so far. Here,  it’s not about becoming a hypochondriac or to only pay attention to oneself. Rather, it’s about developing mindfulness, thus a form of attention, that shows us what we need and how we can take good care of ourselves. It even helps us to identify where in our inner life inconsistencies or even alarm signals exist. 

    Please send me your experience with this or other exercises! 

    Stressed but not able to exercise?

    Then try this simple exercise:

    There is a lot to do and plenty of stress at work. And yet there is no possibility to exercise and balance it all out? Or is there? You’re not really athletic but you want to do something useful in order to relax? Then the following breathing exercises might be for you:

    Sit or stand upright. Breathe through your nose deep into your stomach while silently counting “1, 2, 3”. Then breath out through a slightly opened mouth while silently counting “4, 5, 6, 7”. Make sure to use your diaphragm when breathing in. You should feel your abdominal walls lifting and falling with each breath. After a few breaths, you will be able to breath more slowly. After a few more breaths, you will feel how your stress levels are decreasing and you are relaxing.

    What the exercise achieves:
    This simple breathing exercise immediately helps reduce stress in taxing situations and can also help you calm down throughout a stressful day. When under stress, most people tend to take shallow breaths and constrict their chests with tension. This breathing exercise turns your attention to your exhalations by allotting one extra count for breathing out. It also rebalances your inhalations and exhalations. In addition, the deep breaths provide your body and brain with ample oxygen which in turn promotes better concentration and productivity

    More exercises:
    http://www.stresscoach.at/tipps/index.html

    Please send me your experience with this or other exercises! 

    Balancing positive and negative character traits and integrating them

    This exercise strengthens your self-confidence and gives the courage to be purely yourself.

    Step 1:
    At first you ask friends, relatives or acquaintances to write down what they like about you and if they are your friends why they are friends with you. Hereby it is important that you ask different people from your environment and not only your best friend or boyfriend. The best way is to ask men and women, it is especially interesting for people where you don’t really know yourself what they like about you and why they are your friends.
    Then you ask one or two really close people to also write down a couple of weaknesses that they think you have. If you are too uncomfortable with this, you can also come up with things that you don’t like about yourself and that you might want to change.

    At last you create a chart in which you list the named strength on the one side and weaknesses on the other side. You can also add things yourself.

    Step 2:
    Now you only look at the strengths separately and think about the risks that come with them. If one of your strengths is being friendly for example, it could be difficult for you to express valid criticism, to show feelings like anger and rage or you might often put your own interests aside in order to keep a harmonic atmosphere.

    Regarding the named weaknesses on the other hand, you think about the strengths that might be related to them. For instance, a lazy person will probably never experience a burnout or any other stress related disease. Possibly this person really gets done the important things in life because he or she doesn’t get hung up in odds and ends. Maybe friends also enjoy a relaxed attitude and atmosphere with this person.

    If it is difficult for you to also see something positive or negative in some aspects ask a person you trust to take a look at it together.


    What the exercise achieves:

    1. You realize your strengths and also that they are noticed and appreciated by others.

    2. You see that no trait is per se completely good or bad. For this reason it is also not about getting rid of bad traits and to only keep the good ones. We are always moving along a continuum, where a meaning usually leads to more balance. We can either accept negatively perceived traits if we see which positive aspects come with them or we move a little more towards the positive side on the continuum, that comes with this trait by moderating it. But there is nothing that you have to get rid of completely. Simply focusing more on the positive aspects can do wonders. :)

    3. These insights can support you to accept you the way you are, with all your peculiarities, that make up your personality.

    “If the strong wants to be loved, he may mellow his dominance through grace! If the weak want to be respected, he may help up his powerlessness through dignity.” – Friedrich von Schiller

    Please send me your experience with this or other exercises! 

    Gratitude and praise

    For this exercise get a small notebook and take 5 to 10 minutes every day for it. If possible, reflect your day at the same time each day for example always after dinner. Collect at least 3 points that you did well today, that you are satisfied with, for which you can praise yourself. The more points you can think of the better of course. :) Write them down in your notebook in form of acknowledgments for example:

    • Today I did … really well!
    • I am happy that I … today!
       
    • Today was a good day because…
       
    • Great that I … today!
    • I am proud that I … today!

    It is important that this does not have to be about great achievements or performances! Rather it is about realizing that I stayed calm in a certain situation for instance, that I was patient, took a break, helped somebody, got closer to my goal, took some time for something etc.

    If you can’t think of 3 things that you can praise yourself for, and if this happens more often I advise you to do this exercise with a person you trust and/or maybe consider talking to me or a colleague.
     

    What the exercise achieves:

    1. Training of consciousness: sometimes today we don’t know anymore what we did maybe three days ago. This exercise takes remedial action.

    2. Recognizing ones own strengths: since we are often so focused on always improving our performances and to optimize everything, the things that we already do well get lost out of sight. That has long-term but very negative effects on our self image and our self-esteem, that is negatively biased because of the focus on our difficulties. The exercise helps to steer in the opposite direction. 

    Please send me your experience with this or other exercises! 

    Seated Meditation

    The following exercises are intended as a lesson in mindfulness. They are taken from the book “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of modern mindfulness teachings. Zinn describes mindfulness as a specific form of cognitive steering that consist of three elements: (1) purpose, (2) being in the present moment and (3) non-judgment.

    Exercise I – Seated meditation with conscious breathing

    1. Spend 10 minutes a day fully concentrated on your breath. Do this in a comfortable upright position.
    2. If you notice your attention shifting away from your breath, notice what distracting thoughts/feelings you are experiencing and shift your attention back to deep stomach breathing.
    3. Extend your seated meditation by a few minutes every week until you can stay seated for a half an hour or longer at a time. But also keep in mind that time ceases to exist when you are really in the moment. The minutes ticking by on the clock are not nearly as important as your willingness to be aware and let go each and every moment.


    Exercise II – Mindfulness of your breath and body as a whole

    1. When you are able stay concentrated on your breath for a while, take the next step by trying to extend your field of consciousness “all around your stomach” in order to develop a sense for your body as a whole.
    2. Try to maintain a sense of your seated and breathing self. If your thoughts stray, bring them back to where you are and focus once again on your body and breath.


    [Exercise III – Sounds/Music]

    Exercise IV – Thoughts and feelings

    1. When your awareness is relatively focused on your breathing, try to steer your train of thoughts. Let go of your breathing and observe how your thoughts come and go, how they arise and then fade away within your field of consciousness.
    2. Try to envision your thoughts as events taking place in your mind.
    3. Notice the content and intensity of your individual thoughts without investing any additional thought into them. With this as your basis, observe your thought processes.
    4. You will realize that your individual thoughts do not last very long. They are unstable by nature. They come and go again and again. Be aware of this property of theirs.


    You’ll start to realize that individual thoughts like “I” and “my” pop up again and again. Pay attention to how you as the observer feel. […]
    Notice how you have all kinds of thoughts about the past, future […], feelings of anger or disgust. […] If you start losing the thread of your thoughts, return to your starting point, your breath.

    This lesson requires a high level of concentration and should not be practiced for more than two to three minutes per seated meditation when you first begin.

    Source: Kabat-Zinn, Jon (2010), Gesund durch Meditation. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, S. 79-81.

    Please send me your experience with this or other exercises!