How do I achieve mindfulness meditation

Coping with stress: More mindfulness and "mindfulness" in everyday life

What actually is "mindfulness"?

Mindfulness means being completely focused on the present moment to concentrate - and learn to perceive physical sensations and thoughts, but not to evaluate them immediately. So if you notice that you are panicking again about your next exam, you register this, but do not immediately get ready for the fact that you still have not learned or will fail, or, or, or.

Mindfulness is about just accepting what you are feeling. An important part of this is "noticing how your body feels, what thoughts or stories go through your head, what your breathing is like," explains Mindfulness expert Marlies Sonnentag, who belongs to the board of the Institute for Autogenic Training and Group Work of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and gives MBSR courses (mindfulness-based stress reduction) herself.

And that can have quite positive consequences! For example, according to studies, meditating regularly - a kind of mindfulness - even change the structure of the brain. The part of the brain that is responsible for our memory grows, while our fear center shrinks. But that's not all. Mind-regulating brain matter also grows quickly if you meditate regularly, just like the gray cells - and these are there to decide how we react emotionally to situations.

Mindfulness has a positive effect on the brain

Many MBSR course participants say that the exercises help them not to put additional stress on themselves and by trying to stay anchored in the present, Recurring negative thoughts and ruminations can be turned off. "That is the aspect that causes stress to people of all ages. If we ruminate on problems or anticipate problematic situations without having made a decision, it simply creates stress," says Marlies Sonnentag. "The mental stress we put on ourselves is at least 50 percent of the real stress."

Because mindfulness has such a positive effect on the brain and can even change the hormone level and thus reduce stress, even health insurance companies are now convinced of the concept. Some health insurance companies offer MBSR coursesin order to fight burnout at an early stage, for example.

Four tips for mindfulness in everyday life

Don't worry, you don't have to move to the monastery and spend your days doing "oooohmm" cross-legged. In fact, quite the opposite! Mindfulness can be easily integrated into everyday life, it usually only takes a few minutes - and the results are worthwhile. But you also have to practice a little for that.

Marlies Sonnentag compares this to learning a sport: "If you want to have fun swimming, you usually take a swimming course first". And it is the same with mindfulness: "You first learn to direct your thoughts in practice phases", Staying in the present with attention is a basic mindfulness skill, but it also needs to be practiced. You can practice this, for example, when you are in the shower in the morning. When you realize what percentage you are actually in the shower and perceive everything around you and what percentage you are basically already at breakfast, at university or in a dispute with your best friend.

Mindfulness tip 1: put your cell phone away!

We hear it often enough and most of the time this advice comes out of our ears. If the stress level is already high, however, group messages in WhatsApp chats ("Have you already started learning?") Or Facebook notifications for holiday pictures from former classmates do not help at all. So do yourself a favor and turns off the smartphone and off for a few minutes and enjoy the silence!

But: "You can also sit carefully in front of the screen," says Marlies Sonnentag. "By knowing what you are doing. If, for example, one pays attention to the sitting posture, still feels whether one continues to breathe, but is still in the present. " to cook or eat mindfully and keep concentrating on what you are doing.

Mindfulness tip 2: take a deep breath!

Sounds too easy, but it's more effective than you think. Just take the time to focus only on your breath a few times a day. The best thing to do is to sit down and, if you want, close your eyes. Vask yourself to concentrate fully on the process of breathingIf your thoughts wander, that doesn't matter either. Just get back to your breaths and relax.

Mindfulness tip 3: the body scan!

One of the most popular exercises with MBSR trainers and course participants is the body scan. In doing so, one practices attentively perceiving the body and usually finds immediate rest. With the body scan, the body is mentally "scanned" from the feet to the tips of the hair, while one takes care to remain mentally only with oneself and one's perceptions. The Bodyscan not only relaxes, it relaxes also trains concentration on the here and now.

Mindfulness tip 4: meditate for a while!

If you really want to work seriously on your mindfulness, you can't avoid meditating. But that's enough at first two to three minuteswhere you look for an undisturbed place, sit down quietly, close your eyes and just take a deep breath.

There are now countless apps that offer guided meditations on various topics and make it easier for you to get started (for example: Calm - Meditation to Relax, Focus & Sleep Better, in English, free, offers in-app purchases, App Store, Google play). A special tip from our expert is Meditation for self compassionto develop a positive attitude towards yourself.

Mindfulness on the smartphone

The mindfulness app

If you are interested in meditation and would like to take a closer look at it, the MindfulnessApp offers you some free meditations as well as reminders, hints and an introduction to mindfulness. The app is free, but there is also a premium subscription.

App Store (iOS), Google Play (Android)

Flow calendar 2017

The app from Flow magazine offers a new saying, thought or tip on psychology and mindfulness every day - to simply pause in everyday life, find peace and enjoy the little things.

App Store (iOS): 2.29 euros


Problems putting your smartphone aside? At Forest, you plant a tree and set how long you put your cell phone down. If you leave the app before the specified time, your tree will not survive. Forest promises an interesting, aesthetic way to combat cell phone addiction!

App Store (iOS): 2.29 euros, Google Play (Android): free