Frequently Asked Questions
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What is vitality?
What is Vitality?
Vitality is the potential to meet all experiences constructively - and therefore all people cooperatively.
In order to be able to do so we employ our mental, physical, emotional and cultural resources. Combining these resources leads to experiencing our holistic vitality.
Vitality is not a constant but is subject to change: one day we feel more vital than on another day - or even from moment to moment. Whether experiences are depleting vitality or nourishing it depends on our interpretations of our experiences and on our habits of cultivating vitality. Are we allowing energy bandits to exhaust us or are we aware of and actively welcoming energy sources to restore us?
What are Energy Bandits?
When we interpret an experience as unwanted, it depletes some of our energy. What we don't like is very personal, it can range from weather conditions to major economic or ecological threats. For example by causing negative emotions that decrease our openness, or by triggering thoughts that diminish our creativity or by affecting our bodily sensations that lessen our phyiscal functioning or by moderating our passion and doubting our values.
Is is therefore paramount to recognize early warning signals that announce that deplete your energy and to banish bandits as early as possible: simply becoming aware is already a way to stop escalation of effects. Pausing and relaxing is an easy way to counteract depletion. Applying vitality habits that nourish you is a proven way to counteract exhaustion and to restore optimum levels.
What are Energy Boosters?
Whatever wholesomely replenishes your body, mind, feelings and passion is a source of renewal. Recognizing what restores your vitality level to optimum is a crucial step towards taking action for systematically building your vitality. When you know what rebuilds your energies you can act on an interval basis, not waiting until you feel exhausted, yet consciously choosing a healthy rhythm.
What are Healthy Rhythms of Energy Expenditure?
We reach our best performance when we start on a task refreshed, motivated and focused. Choosing a healthy rhythm means to be rested, fed, calm and connected to the meaning and objective of what we are involved in doing.
Typically a healthy rhythm starts with a short investment in optimizing our energy levels, for example fifteen minutes of rest, stretching, refreshing food and contemplating the purpose of the task we are about to start. Being thus energized we can burst into a ninety minute action to get the results we envisioned – then take another fifteen minutes of restoration.
Scientific research of Jim Loehr a.o. has demonstrated that humans perform best at intervals of intensive performance alternated with physical, mental, emotional and cultural replenishment. Not the marathon at our desk leads to the highest output but the burst of focused engagement. (Jim Loehr, The Power Of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is The Key To High Performance And Personal Renewal)
Thus alterating between investing energy in your creations and restoring your élan is a measure to prevent overexhaustion and burn-out.
What is Neuro-Plasticity?
Neuro-plasticity is the potential of our brain to change due to experiences, behavior, environment etc. and due to mental activity. During most of the 20th century, the consensus among neuroscientists was that brain structure was relatively immutable after early childhood. This belief has been challenged by findings revealing that many aspects of the brain remain plastic even into adulthood. The discovery of neuroplasticity has replaced the formerly-held position that the brain is a physiologically static organ.
Today’s neuroscientists are fascinated by exploring in which ways the brain changes throughout our whole life. Neuro-scientific research indicates that experience can actually change both the brain's physical structure (anatomy) and functional organization (physiology).
One field of research is investigating how the mind impacts changes in the brain, that is how intentional activity of the mind can change the brain. The impact of mindfulness practice on the brain has been made visible with MRi scans, among others in studies directed by Richard Davidson and Jon Kabat-Zinn. In other words, neuro-plasticity states that the mind influences changes in the brain and in turn the functioning of the brain impacts how the mind operates.
Mindfulness is a attitude of connecting to the present moment. "It means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally," said Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn - who developed the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
Fortunately, mindfulness is not something that you have to “get” or acquire. It is already within you — a deep internal resource available and patiently waiting to be released and used in the service of learning, growing, and living. Yet, often we have gone afar and need to awaken this resource .... by training.
What are the impacts of Vitality management
according to scientific research?
What is Participatory Vitality Enhancement?
Participatory vitality enhancement is a well-guided approach to transition into habits that better serve your objectives: freeing up mental space and energy to achieve what really matters to you.
It’s a participatory path in two senses: taking charge & teaming up.
Taking charge of the trajectory means that you - or in case of group programs: your organization - is constantly actively partaking in the creation and monitoring of the intended change instead of delegating objectives and surrendering relief to someone else.
Teaming up with a guide implies that you are not alone in this effort yet being supported by an experienced guide. A guide not only seasoned in transferring the tools but also applying them in her/his own life & work. A guide therefore knowledgeable also of our common struggle and of how to overcome hindrances - a guide walking the talk.
What is Mind-Fitness?
Building mind-fitness means to develop skills for improving resilience to stress and enhancing performance. With mind-fitness you maintain peak functioning despite the instability created by challenging situations, conflicting demands and uncertainty.
Neuroscientific findings have shown that we as humans are shaping our mind and brain and are capable of doing so in a way that serves us constructively to influence our brain and mind.
Research shows that the plasticity of our mind & brain can be increased through exercise -- just like physical exercise enhances bodily suppleness -- giving us more flexibility and control over our lives both at work and at home.
The promise carried by these insights due to latest neuro-scientific research is that we ourselves can reinforce our brain functions through mind-fitness and thereby have boosted brain capacity at our disposal for cognitive functioning.
What are Mind-Shaping Tools?
As humans we always shape our mind and brain. YET, to be more effective we can choose evidence-based tools for which constructive effects have been demonstrated through controlled and peer-reviewed scientific research.
Mindfulness-based and compassion-based practices have been shown to have effects on our brain, importantly e.g. enlarging the left pre-frontal lobe and reducing the activity of the amygdala. As a consequence the denser and larger parts of the brain are more engaged by our mind in order to arrive at wiser thoughts and actions.
What is a Mindfulness Training?
Mindfulness is a way of being simply and mildly aware in the present moment. Paradoxically without striving - mindful practice calms our mind to become more resilient: dealing wisely with any tensions and stresses while staying joyfully connected to the beauty surrounding us.
Resilience is the ability to function effectively during stressful experiences and to bounce back after such experiences. To develop resilience, we need to treat stressful experiences as training situations: consciously acknowledging the distress as an option for exercise means tolerating to be pushed outside of our comfort zone and then stimulating our body and mind to recover effectively instead of remaining in the rut.
Basically mindfulness training is offered as an 8-week training cultivating mindfulness skills with specific exercises. To begin with, these exercises build attentional control and concentration. Also they provide resilience training for coping with the physiological and psychological effects of distress especially if prolonged.
The first 8-week training ever was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn and introduced in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, USA. Since then many mindfulness-based trainings have been developed for a variety of needs.
What is the GAP?
When we pay attention to the present moment, we discover that there is space in all of all nature, in all our experiences and in every breath: there is a pause between breathing out and breathing in, just as their is a pause between the in-breath and the out-breath. Noticing the GAP reminds us of our freedom: there is choice between stimulus and response. Mindless behavior can lead us to react impulsively instead of responding wisely. Mind the GAP - choose freedom.
As Leonard Cohen put it: "There is a crack, a crack in everything - that's how the light gets in."