Why mindfulness is not a panacea. - Lifecoach München

Why mindfulness is not a panacea.

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Alexandra works in the media industry. Recently, however, only on autopilot. She lacks mindfulness. She says there is a healthy amount of stress, but she hasn’t experienced it in a while. She has had a new boss for three months, who is rather conservative and has so far prevented any initiative on her part. He calls her “Fräulein” in the old-fashioned way and then usually jokes with her a bit.


without motivation

She does not like this way of dealing and communicating and it hurts her. Alexandra longs for her former boss back. The tone was appropriate and self-determined action was required on the job. Alexandra was very motivated and felt fulfilled. She doesn’t work any more today than she did then, but she doesn’t enjoy it anymore. The work no longer fulfills them. Since Alexandra often feels blindsided by her new boss, she only does duty by the book and follows instructions. But actually, it’s not her style at all to keep things bottled up and just endure a negative situation. She is even toying with the idea of looking for something else. Her colleagues think that she is lucky to have a job at all in these times of crisis. It should become more relaxed, looser.


Mindfulness course

A colleague recommends a mindfulness course to her. The Mindfulness Meditation for Stressed Professionals course used to help her herself. As a result, Alexandra takes the mindfulness course, twice a week. She had high hopes for this course. Above all, she longed to feel serenity and joy again. The hope is not fulfilled, instead the mindfulness exercises cause her even more stress. Because that makes her circle around her problems even more and she can’t get away from them at all.


Negative spiral

Even walking with her colleagues in the park during the break doesn’t help her relax and get her mind off things. Rather, she notices how much the others rant and rave about the job and the boss. This only reinforces Alexandra’s negative spiral. She wants to finally find herself again, that is, the former balanced and positive person she once was. So she decides to give life coaching a try.


Overview Blog Mindfulness

Blog history

1) Assistance Life Coach regarding mindfulness
2) What is mindfulness?
3) What does mindfulness do?
4) 12-point mindfulness test. How mindful am I?
5) Evaluation of the 12-point mindfulness test.


Assistance Life Coach


Mindfulness is not a panacea

Already in the first session, Alexandra realizes that mindfulness is not a panacea. The deeper problems at work do not disappear by going through life more mindfully. Alexandra tried to fight the symptoms of her negative job situation with mindfulness and failed. For them, mindfulness meditation was not the right tool. On top of that, she’s a bit of an introvert. So never really felt comfortable in the group of the mindfulness course.


Overview and strategy

In life coaching, Alexandra first obtains clarity about terminology and subject areas. Even though meditating was not her thing, she wants to incorporate mindfulness into her life as a positive value. She wants to act more actively again, experience herself as self-effective, and finally leave autopilot mode. Above all, she is looking for a solution to the unspoken conflict with her boss. She understands that she is at risk of burnout if she just keeps going. But she also doesn’t want to drop out completely and possibly look for a whole new field of activity. Even if her job is not her calling, she wants to remain true to the work itself and rules out changing careers. She remembers how happy she was in her early years, with the former boss. That’s why she wants to stay.


Three goals regarding mindfulness

In the course of the life coaching Alexandra works out three goals for herself and formulates them as follows: find suitable mindfulness exercises improve communication with colleagues resolve the conflict with her boss and above all become more self-determined


1. appropriate mindfulness exercises

We experiment with different breathing exercises, from the very simple to the complex. Alexandra prefers a simple exercise for “emergencies” and the breathing exercise according to Wim Hof, when she can practice at home in peace. These exercises are a means to an end for Alexandra. Mindfulness for them means instrumental value. In Buddhism, on the other hand, mindfulness is an intrinsic value. It is chosen for its own sake. For Alexandra, however, the pragmatic version of mindfulness is enough.


2. improved communication

Alexandra is never really on her own during breaks. We agree that from now on she will still have lunch with her colleagues, but that from now on she will go for a walk on her own, leaving her cell phone out. In addition, we practice how Alexandra can positively influence negative conversations with colleagues. At the same time, this leads to her appearing less shy and more self-determined in the conversations and thus participating more actively. The time Alexandra now takes for walking does her a lot of good. In this way, she can switch off better and no longer feels controlled by others. Your mindset changes and you are more motivated again, professionally but also privately.


3. resolution of the conflict with the supervisor

We discuss how Alexandra can face her new boss with more confidence and rhetorical skills. In a non-judgmental conversation, she makes a few things clear to him in a friendly but also determined manner. She starts with positive feedback, telling him she appreciates his humor and good humor. At the same time, she makes it clear to him that being called a miss hurts her . She also bravely tells him that she would like to take on more responsibility, as she is used to working independently. Contrary to her fears, her boss reacts positively and promises her more freedom. From then on, the word “Fräulein” rarely slips out. The conversation has strengthened Alexandra’s self-esteem immensely, because on the one hand she has shown courage, and on the other hand she is now getting recognition again for the way she works.



For some time now, Alexandra has felt in control of her own life again. She feels that she has become more resilient. She has found a more relaxed approach with her boss and colleagues. She has found that she needs much more time for herself overall. That’s why she has resolved to go out without her friends in her free time. As a result, she is able to better understand their needs and how they feel. She can now live the value of mindfulness. She has managed to go from autopilot back to self-driving mode


Definition: What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness originally comes from Buddhism and is psychologically the conscious, unintentional and non-judgmental perception of what is being experienced in the present moment.


Specifically, this means:

– without questioning
– without holding on to thoughts
– Without the desire for change
– without wanting to act actively


Difference psychological/Buddhist mindfulness

The psychological version of mindfulness focuses on the following topics: becoming more calm, being able to regulate emotions to a large extent, and getting the body under control through precisely executed breathing exercises. The focus is not on thoughts and feelings, but on value-free experience. In Buddhism, on the other hand, mindfulness through mindfulness meditation is a way of life. It is a goal in itself and a philosophy of life. The focus of this philosophy is the profound spiritual experience.



What does mindfulness do?



Mindfulness improves self-regulation. We are no longer exposed to countless stimuli and can more easily switch from autopilot to normal mode. Mindfulness reduces stress, promotes happiness, makes it easier to regulate emotions, and even changes the structure of the brain.


Stress Relief

The most important aspect of mindfulness is probably stress reduction. If you focus (mindfully and non-judgmentally) on the present, you block out your worries. The focus is on direct experience. Through mindfulness we can learn to accept thoughts and feelings as they are, without judging them. This non-judgmental attitude brings about positive things in us, it increases well-being and happiness.


Emotion regulation

In everyday life, situations arise again and again that cause anger and irritation. Through mindfulness we learn to pause. We do not immediately see red, but can calm down. Neuropsychologist Ulrich Ott calls this delayed reaction time. Mindfulness, Ott says, puts a kind of buffer between the stimulus (e.g., a critical remark) and the reaction (e.g., anger).


Training for the brain

Mindfulness even changes the architecture of the brain in the long term, according to neuropsychologist Sara Lazar. Those who focus their mindfulness more on their present actions train their thinking skills permanently. In people who do mindfulness meditation, Lazar even found a five percent thicker cortex in one study.



How mindful am I? – The 12-point mindfulness test

1) I often do several things at once, I am a multitasker.
2) When I read something or hear an opinion, I usually already have my judgment ready and can hardly hold it back.
3) I consciously build in quiet moments on both weekdays and weekends.
4) I know my needs and take them into account to a large extent.
5) In my thoughts I am almost always already somewhere else, rarely in the present moment.
6) I consciously take time for myself, personal development is important to me.
7) When I move or exercise, I notice my body and pay attention to my breathing.
8) As soon as I communicate with other people, I notice facial expressions and gestures.
9) I know what I need to do to calm down, rarely have stress.
10) In case of inner conflicts, I manage to stay friendly with myself.
11) I am a perfectionist, I only come to rest when something is completely finished.
12) I know my strengths, my values and my goals in life and always include them in my actions.


Evaluation of the 12-point mindfulness test

Correct answers:
1) no, 2) no, 3) yes, 4) yes, 5) no, 6) yes, 7) yes, 8) yes, 9) yes, 10) yes, 11) no, 12) yes

You have answered less than 4 questions positively: You are not very attentive. It would be wise to consider how satisfied you are with your life and possibly seek help.

You have answered between 4 and 8 questions positively: You have a rather average mindfulness. It would be worthwhile to become even more mindful.

You have answered at least 8 questions positively: You probably have enough mindfulness to calm down even in stressful situations.


© Timo ten Barge 9.10.22

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