Mental Fitness Snippet: Walking & Breathing

The snow is crunching under my feet. I breathe in while I take two steps. I breathe out while I take the next two steps. My mind chatters. I think: “In” (and take two steps), “out” (and take two steps). I let go of the thoughts that want to bubble up. “In…. out” (crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch).

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness and Nature Coach

The 3-To-1 Positivity Ratio

Research shows that our brains are hard-wired to over-emphasize the negative experiences we have. Due to an evolutionary survival mechanism called the “negativity bias”, the human brain holds on to and amplifies the negative much more than the positive. It was more essential for our distant ancestors to remember the experience with the dangerous bear, than the beautiful field of flowers.

According to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson (University of North Carolina, 2009), we need three positive experiences for every negative emotional experience in order to keep a positive mindset. According to her, we can actively build a collaborative relationship between our survival minds and our thrive minds. This 3-to-1 ratio should be maintained both in thoughts and feelings, as well as in interactions with people that matter to us.

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What are a few ways to build that collaborative relationship between those two parts of our minds?

It starts with awareness: Pay attention to when you are having negative thoughts and feelings, including stress, anxiety, anger, disappointment, blame, guilt, shame, self-doubt, regret, etc. These thoughts might happen in response to yourself, to others or to events and circumstances. When you notice them, counter by commanding your mind to come up with at least 3 positives:

See the adventure around the challenge: Can you learn something new? Can you explore something exciting? Can you grow a new skill?

Look for opportunity: What is a positive aspect of a negative event? What could be a positive consequence of the negative circumstance?

-Zoom out and broaden your view: What does the big picture look like? What do you see now that you have not seen before?

Take small risks that take you out of your comfort zone.

Practice self-compassion: See the beautiful essence in you! Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend.

These thoughts could be quick and simple, and they will start to shift your brain activity to the positive side.

If you are curious about this and many more Mental Fitness exercises, I would love to meet you in a non-binding chat.

Book your

Here is a Link to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson’s Positivity Self-Test

Coaching with #ManuCoach4You

I work with people with a strong environmental conscience, who want to live a sustainable and responsible life without sacrificing what they love doing and thereby creating and strengthening their authentic self.

My target group feels stuck between the responsibilities of (mid-)life, while yearning for more self-determination and connectedness to the natural world and the freedom of their younger years. There might be stress, anxiety, burn-out, and other internal or external conflicts that seem daunting.

Through mental fitness training and coaching in, around and with the help of nature, I assist them in carving out time and energy to step into their full potential and experience their autonomy and authenticity. I do that by assisting them in reframing the problems into opportunities for growth.

I have a long history of living in very close proximity with nature. My background as a sociologist, a teacher, and a homesteader (always making the most of the limited means at hand), as well as my very analytical and empathic nature make me the ideal coach for my target client.

What sets me apart from others in the field: I am authentic in the way I live in and around nature embedded into our modern world. I am empathic, intuitive, and honest. I use metaphors and stories. I incorporate a systemic view in my approach, and I advocate for (and coach toward) mental fitness. And very importantly, I respect the power of the human mind.

I am looking forward to meeting you in your

The Magic of Persistence

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On!’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

― Calvin Coolidge

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Many times our inner critics keep us from achieving our fullest potential. Imagine what you could do if you were not concerned about failure, but if you saw every failure as a teachable moment that can only advance you toward your goals?

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Authenticity & Mental Fitness Coach

Animal Communication

For many people, animal communication is something that only the ‘gifted few’ can achieve. This of course is entirely untrue as we were all born with the ability to talk to and hear animals.

Holly Davis, Animal Communication With All Species

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Challenge: Communicate with the next animal you see. Then drop me a note! What have you learned?

“Starlings”, by Manuela Zeitlhofer, May 28, 2020

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Authenticity & Mental Fitness Coach

Animal Teachers

How frequently do you interact with animals in your daily life? – Chances are that those interactions are scarce, or limited to pets. Our societies might have separated humans from animals, seeing humans as superior to animals. Yet, we admire certain qualities in specific animals. What can we learn from animals?

How about patience, living in the Now, connectedness with the intricate web of life we are part of, responsibility, attentive listening, living in tune with the natural world, and sticking together.

(inspired by 10 Important Life Lessons we can Learn From Animals)

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Can you guess which animals possess then traits listed above? – This can be a rewarding activity to do with your child! Also, you might want to observe animals around you to see which traits they display!

“Master of Camouflage” by Manuela Zeitlhofer (July 28, 2022)

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Authenticity & Mental Fitness Coach

My Wealth

Do you associate wealth with money? I do struggle with the concept at times. Then I remind myself that I have enough. For me, it comes down to making the conscious decision to be happy in the Now. Because NOW is all we have. The past is a memory and the future is an imagination. Most of the time, I have all I NEED in the very moment I am in. It is often the WANTS that I want (!) to pursue.

To remain still and just be, let the moment be all I want – that is happiness for me. My wealth is my happiness, the feeling of being enough, and of having enough (or more than enough), right now.

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How about you? Where lies your wealth? And what are your thoughts about this week’s posts?

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Authenticity & Mental Fitness Coach

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(photo by Anton Luzhkovsky, Unsplash)

What is Wealth?

Once there was a wealthy father who was concerned that a privileged upbringing might give his son a limited view of life. He decided his son needed to see how the other half lived. To do this, he asked his personal assistant to find a very poor family who would be willing to allow him and his son to visit and stay with them.

After weeks of searching she found a very poor farming family who lived in an impoverished country area and organized for her boss and his son to live with them for a couple of days and nights. At the end of the visit, as they were driving back to their expensive suburban mansion, the father asked his son, “What did you think of our stay on the farm?”

“It was great, thanks, Dad,” came the reply.

Keen to see if he had achieved the mission of his visit, the father asked, “Has it helped you to see how poor people live?”

“Sure has,” answered his son.

“Well, tell me about it. What did you learn?” enquired the father.

“I learnt,” his son responded, “that while we have a swimming pool fenced into our backyard, they have a creek with swimming holes, a Tarzan rope hanging from a tree, and rapids they ride on old car tubes.”

“We have one dog that lives in a kennel. They have four that live with them.”

“Our large house stretches almost to the borders of our small piece of land. They have a small house on open fields that stretch beyond sight.”

“Our patio looks out on a neatly mown lawn whereas they view their garden, fields, trees, and hills to the very horizon.”

“Spotlights turn our yard into day at night. They have nothing but thousands of twinkling stars to light their night.”

“We have to drive to the supermarket to buy our vegetables but they grow theirs right outside the back door.”

“We have servants to serve our meals and clean our house. They serve each other and clean up together.”

“Our property has walls that fence others out and us in. Their fences contain milking cows and woolly lambs.”

“We have security alarms, barred windows, and locks to protect us while they have family and friends to protect them.”

The father looked at his son in absolute amazement.

“Thanks Dad,” the boy added. “I never realized how poor we are.”

(101 Stories for Enhancing Happiness and Well-Being Using Metaphors, p.208)

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Question: How does this metaphor compare to your perception of wealth?

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Authenticity & Mental Fitness Coach

(photo by Guilherme Stecanella, Unsplash)

In My Own Way

Have you battled internal obstacles – problems that were entirely created by your way of approaching the world in your thinking and actions? – I have!

For more than a year I had been bothered by a digestive issue: There was a knot in my intestines, always in the same spot. It never went away. The intensity of the discomfort varied. I consulted my family doctor. I consulted an Ayurvedic doctor. Nothing. I researched online. – A partial breakthrough was achieved when I found a useful video how to alleviate the symptoms temporarily. But no solution appeared. I started to despair.

Then, we went on vacation and I did not drink my tap water. The discomfort was gone.

I had stumbled upon the solution. The problem – or obstacle – had been too close to me to be visible.

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Question: What is an obstacle you have come to live with, because you do not perceive there to be a way around or over it?

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Authenticity & Mental Fitness Coach

(photo by Ethan Dow, Unsplash)

Changing Course Fluidly

Flexibility is the key to common sense and success

A battleship had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. The captain, who was concerned about the deteriorating conditions, stayed on the bridge so that he could keep an eye on all activities. One night, shortly after dark, [the fog was getting even thicker] the lookout on the bridge suddenly shouted, ‘A light, captain, bearing on the starboard bow.’
‘Is it steady or moving astern?’ the captain asked.
The lookout confirmed that it was steady, which meant that the battleship was apparently on a dangerous collision course with the other ship.
The captain then called to the signalman, ‘Signal that ship: “We are on a collision course. Advise you change course 20 degrees north.”’
Back came the response from the other ship: ‘You change course 20 degrees south.’
Annoyed at the arrogance of the response, the captain said, ‘Send: “I am a captain, change course 20 degrees north.”’
‘I am a seaman second class,’ came the reply, ‘you had still better change course 20 degrees south.’
By this time, the captain was furious. He shouted, ‘Send: “I am a battleship. Change course 20 degrees north.”’
Back came the flashing light: ‘I am a lighthouse.’
The captain changed course. (Tales for Coaching, 133)

(photo by Ethan Dow, Unsplash)

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Questions:

What cannot be moved? What CAN be moved?Answer (?)

What represents the ‘fog’ for you? How could you lift this fog?Answer (?)

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Authenticity & Mental Fitness Coach