3 Habits that Help Me to Live in the Present Moment

Do you know this feeling of losing control over your time and energy? This feeling of being controlled by external forces? If not I envy you. These days I feel like I’m burning out a bit.

Jobwise but also socially a lot of commitments gnaw away my energy – finishing video projects in one job, long nights at the bar-job, mulled wine at the Christmas market ;), family meetings and so on and so on. Plus: I stress myself out in order to finish my personal goals for this year. The end of the year should be the time to hibernate or at least recover and reset, but somehow it is the opposite – busy as f***.

Of course it is up to me, but somehow I can’t help myself right now. Well, there is something I can do in order to reclaim control: Aiming for a life in the present moment!

Time to pull the handbrake – Another threesome is overdue! 😉

1. Breathing Actively

Yes, the good old breathe. Without it our whole body wouldn’t work. It doesn’t only provide every cell in our body with oxygen. It also relaxes us. If we pay attention to our breathe we become aware of our body. And as soon as we focus on our body we forget our daily and mainly trivial problems.
That’s why I started to breathe more thoughtfully. Especially in stressful situations a few rounds of deep inhalation and exhalation release a lot of tension.
I always imagine how clean air is flowing into my body. From my nasal wings the air flows into my lungs, where it spreads out into every tiny fibre of my chest. All of a sudden my chest is filled with fresh air which starts circulating through the rest of my body. It wanders through my arms into my fingertips and from my belly into my legs and toes. Every part of my body gets subserved with oxygen. Through this image I arrive in the present moment as my thoughts become obsolete. Just try it yourself.

2. Acknowledging My Location

Well, often the breathing goes hand in hand with locating myself: On the way to the subway I acknowledge my surrounding – the trees, the sky, the colours, the air. I try not to think about my tasks at work.
The other day I read something interesting about “stress”, which made me realise that stress is just an invention of the western society. In Namibia for example the word stress doesn’t even exist. They divide time into rooms. In every moment you are present only in one room. You only act, live, love or work in one room. The next action will eventually take place in a different room. But now you exist only in this one room, so there is no need to be bothered about the next room.

Everything, every action has it’s time and it’s space. If you brush your teeth you don’t tie your shoes. If you tie your shoes, you are not at the subway. If you are in the subway you can’t be bothered about your job. If you experience the present moment – the room you are in – you can’t be bothered about the future.

3. Remembering that I am Not My Thoughts

We were born with the absence of thoughts. When we were born we didn’t have thought in our head. Basically we were the essence of life, pure existence, true love or however you want to call it. We didn’t have all these doubts and questions in our head. Sometimes in stressful situations I really like to go back to this place in my head. It helps me to take things more easily. I try to see my thoughts just as something temporary that can’t effect my mood.

Just give it a try and drop all your thoughts. Remember that your thoughts are just something superficial you can easily leave behind. Feel the relief and the freedom. This is meditation too.

“That is the simple secret of happiness. Whatever you are doing, don’t let past move your mind; don’t let future disturb you. Because the past is no more, and the future is not yet. To live in the memories, to live in the imagination, is to live in the non-existential. And when you are living in the non-existential, you are missing that which is existential. Naturally you will be miserable, because you will miss your whole life.”


Micro Habit Challenge 2.0

Hold on – this is a tough one! 😉 I already introduced you to the concept of the micro habit challenge a few weeks ago. The last time I challenged myself with three new habits, this time it is only one: I don’t want to drink caffeine for one week.

It all started, when a friend of mine told me to try Ritalin in order to work more concentrated on my projects. Methylphenidate – the chemical term for the commonly known Ritalin – is a central nervous system stimulant that is used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – better known as ADHS. It kind of “mutes” your incentive system by decreasing your level of dopamine in your blood. A positive effect is that nothing can distract you that easily anymore – a negative side effect (besides the physiological effects) is that you don’t feel much at all anymore. (Can you imagine that kids are forced to swallow this stuff?)

Well, I’m into productivity and I don’t want to leave any stone unturned, but I don’t support the idea of abusing drugs in order to get more productive. ‘Wait a second…’ I thought to myself and I figured ‘I am already abusing drugs da fuck???!!’. Nearly everyday I have at least two to five high doses of caffeine!

Caffeine acts as a serious central nervous system stimulant as well. As soon as it reaches your brain it puts your body in a state of alterness – you feel more awake and your heartrate is increasing. At least for a certain time this might be useful, but when the caffeine level drops, you are even more tired than before and your body wants mooore.

Why do I want to reduce my consume?

  1. I noticed that the monkey in my head breaks free after too much coffee. Sometimes I can’t even focus on chores like washing the dishes.
  2. Usually I have a strong coffee in the morning. It puts me instantly in a good mood but it can instanly switch into anxiety or small panic attacs – especially if I’m not in the best mood. Sometimes I even get a bit aggressive.
  3. The crazy monkey in my head hinders me from going to sleep at times.

Of course – probably there are concurrent causes of these issues, but I believe that caffeine has a massive impact on my psyche. And because I like to adopt brutal measures I decided to cancel all sorts of caffeine (coffee, mate, green tea, guarana, energy drink,…) from now on for one week and see how it goes.

Now you might ask: “Why do you even drink coffee??” Well, mainly because I’m an addict I guess. But I also because I like it. If you don’t drink coffee this sounds like a baby challenge, but I am definitely a “coffee person”, so it is hard for me.

What happened so far?

Today is actually already day four of my challenge. I want to continue until the weekend with this challenge. So far I already feel the positive side effects of my cold withdrawal: I was in a better mood today. My midday low was not that heavy and my mood didn’t drop the bottom in the afternoon as it every so often does. And: It is nearly 10 pm and I’m sitting here writing this article.


I keep you updated by the end of the week…

Days of Clarity

It’s just one of those days. It’s one of those days when the fog is lifting and you can finally breathe again.

It’s one of those days when you see the truth behind your contradictions. It’s one of those days when you acknowledge your strengths and you accept your weaknesses.

It’s one of those days when the whole world is sorted. You finally arrive in the presence. You finally get to feel yourself again. You feel like life is right in front of you. You just have to grab it. Nothing can stop you anymore.

It’s one of those days when you are endlessly happy. This feeling of joy warms your chest. You are as happy as a child awaiting christmas or its birthday party.

It’s one of those days when the mosaic of your experiences, the snippets of your memories, the fragments of your emotions create one picture. Every failure makes sense, because every stumble led you in the right direction – where you are now. Your inner judge stops judging your frailties.

It’s just one of those days of relief – when anxiety yields security and monochrome turns multi-coloured.

In these moments of clarity you breathe in the energy of the universe. Try to conserve it in your emotional memory as an island of peace. The next time when you feel down, when the fog of self-doubts is clouding your clear sight again, you can come back to this peaceful gem in your chest.

Love life <3

Confusion Coma

My perfectionism disables my productivity – the fear of failure makes me powerless. Paralyzed I scrape around – unable to get started.

When decision making becomes a torture every idea turns into a burden.
When opportunities become obstacles, openness closes doors.

I don’t see the wood for all the trees, because my senses are occupied by self-consciousness.

There is no way forward – as long as I don’t “make way”. Unfortunately nobody can help me with this.

Deep inside of me I know that I have to push through. Deep inside of me there is wisdom beyond that pain. The pain that is part of humanization. The pain that demands to be felt.

But from time to time and often enough I ask myself: Why? Why do I ask all these questions without answers?

Saying Yes

Yes, I’m struggling.
Yes, I’m lonely at times.
Yes, I don’t know, where I’m going.
But at least I’m free.

Wake Up Call

Our human nature had turned into a monstery “thing” headed by technological progress, productivity and consumption. From early on we are programmed to act “economically”. Productivity became our purpose, “consuming” our occupation and “being busy” our obsession – Thinking became a rarity.

We consider ourselves to be safe as long as we “fit in”, but in reality the system oppresses us. It oppresses us until we feel nothing but fear – let’s call it “glorified slavery”. Our inability of feeling something else than fear makes us unable to make our own decisions.

We live in fool’s paradise. Instead of learning to think for ourselves we are getting lost in diversion. Like an addict we jump hand over hand from one temporary satisfaction to another not noticing, how we are already trapped in a vicious circle.

We fill our lives with a lot of responsibilities, but we forget to take responsibilty for our own life. Instead of listening to our inner voice we are only listening to the call of duty. We are working at least eight hours a day for dubious purposes, we are saving money for our pension hoping for a happy end, but do we live in the meantime? Are we truly alive?

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Albert Einstein

We disregard our nature. This way we will never reach our full potential as a human being. What do I mean by that? I’m not talking about our economical potential. I’m talking about our potential to spread love, care for each other, to make each other smile, to ease each others pain.

Between industrialization and digitalization we lost one essential thing: Love. We lost our ability to truly love and truly be loved.

There is not one person, one government, one country, one continent responsible. We are responsible – it is up to us. Do we want to keep on carrying the destructive heritage of our forefathers? I don’t.

“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”

Carl Jung

Let’s share our knowledge and become experts of life again. Let’s rediscover our senses and finetune our intuition. Let’s update our consciousness instead of our mobile phone apps. Let’s cherish our human relations, patch our social network (in the real world), stop exploiting our planet like there is no tomorrow and finally cure our own lives.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

R. Buckminster Fuller

We can only change the world, if we change ourselves first. It all starts with positive thinking. This is the reason, why I’m willing to change my destructive behaviors. Self-destruction is the beginning of the end. A new world order arises from positivity not from productivity.

Let’s stop following the beaten track and leave our own footprints.


Collective Burnout

Red eyes – blinded.

Faces like wax.

Lips pressed to a pale line enclosing fears.

Back bended dragging a heritage.

Distracted by diversion we are sliding into non-existence.

Soul-destroying lovelessness is soaking up our energy.

Iced-hearted we are burning out – collectively.



Sometimes I feel like I’m not experiencing the world, but I’m absorbing it. It feels like all the external influences are dissolving my body and my whole existence into nothingness.

3 Habits That Make Me Happy(ier)

I still suck at meditating. I’m far away from being a non-smoker (after announcing “I quit smoking” several times.) Sometimes I even leave the house without brushing my teeth (luckily I store a toothbrush at the office). I feel so ill-disciplined in many ways.

BUT in order to stay motivated in the process of incorporating positive new behaviors, I want to share even my small successes and learnings with you. (That’s the whole idea of growthbuddy). There are some healthy things I integrated (nearly) without any effort into my everyday life that improve my day.

I figured that “three” is a good number to skim through. 🙂

1. Showering Cold

In July I read a facebook post about cold showers. This friend was literally raving about the revolutionary effect of cold showers on his life. I was fairly impressed. The benefits of contrast showers in “Kneipp” manor in order to increase the blood circulation were not new to me. In the past I experienced cold showers as an unbeatable hangover-cure. So I gave it a go.

The water in Munich is freezing cold, but luckily it was boiling hot summer during that time. “Why not have this feeling of jumping into a mountain river every morning?”, I thought to myself and ever since I’m finishing (not beginning;) my showers cold.

What can I say? The effects I’ve noticed after three months are staggering:

  • I feel more awake – also during the whole day. No coffee can unleash this level of energy.
  • I feel stronger and happier, because I already master a challenge before I even leave the house. 😉
  • My body is toning automatically: Hot showers increase the blood circulation too, but cold showers are also triggering the so called “brown adipose tissue”. In other words: They burn more fat! Besides that cold showers help draining fluid retention in the body.
  • My hair is more healthy as cold water treats the hair structure.
  • Hungovers are easy to tackle as cold showers help detoxing.;)

2. Stretching and Squatting

During the past ten years I’ve been trying different sports: Yoga, Functional Training, Parcours, (Russian) Martial Arts, Qi-Gong, Running. During the last years I went to the Bouldering gym regularly, but the gaps between my visits vary a lot.

I still exercise as often as I can, but I just don’t really stick with anything. But there is something I found out, that helps me to improve my over-all well-being during the day: Stretching!

What do I do and why?

  • Before I go to bed and in the morning I do back stretches like a forward bend, some qi-gong movements or tricks of my favourite youtube fitness trainer in order to relieve stress and sleep (or wake up) easier.
  • Bridge or downward-facing-dog or even practicing handstand at lunchbreak before the afternoon-low is kicking in (or to cure it).
  • Writing an e-mail or brushing my teeth or doing whatever (sometimes even waiting for the bus, if not too many people are watching) in deep squat position.

Stretching is good. We all know that. The trick is, that I try to integrate it into my day-to-day life as often as I can. I don’t need to “find the time”. But these small exercises help me to relieve stress or tension in my back and my whole body feels more refreshed. I can’t really give you the scientifical reason for it, but it feels like my feet are warmer as well.

3. Walking Different Ways Home

Even if I live in the self-pro-claimed “bike city” Munich, I prefer walking to riding the bicyle. Sometimes I move my ass on the seat of my mountain bike to cruise down Isar – the river in Munich, but I avoid the city traffic completely.

Mainly I’m just lazy, but also I’m afraid of dying – it might sounds ridiculous, but I’m paranoid because of the traffic and the other bikers (because they are so fast and rude, haha.) Instead of stepping into the pedals I read books in the subway and go for extensive pavement walks across the city.

After work I’ve started to drive one station too far or I take a different line to a different area from where I can reach my home within a 20 minutes to two hours walking distance. (depending on how much time I have).

On Sundays the “left-right-left-game” became my favourite occupation. Instead of choosing a route, I navigate into a rough direction and turn left and right alternately. It always leads me to suprising places. I discover new interesting restaurants and meet different people.Sometimes I even walk home 10 km from the city centre just to get “a better feel” for the distances.

What are the benefits?

  • Walking calms my nerves down, when I feel over-exerted or brain-wrecked and improves my over-all well-being.
  • An additional plus to the physical and mental benefits is the fact, that I get to know the city much better. Sometimes I even walk slow intentionally to acknowledge my surrounding.
  • I walk between 8 and 15 km nearly every day.