A Mindful Week 35: The New Year's Issue
Hi, I am Nikolas. This is “A Mindful Week”, an almost punctual "inspiration letter" about creativity, awareness and leadership.
2023 - Your Year of Relationships that nourish you
Hey, Niko here.
We often greet the new year with fancy resolutions. But it is strange that the most important measure of our happiness rarely makes it onto the list.
If you want to increase your health & happiness, make the following year the year of nurturing & developing relationships.
Nothing is as important as the quality of your relationships, short “social fitness”.
Our "social fitness" shapes the quality of our lives often even more than our physical fitness.
Think of your social fitness as a muscle: Neglect brings atrophy. While exercising this muscle brings compounding benefits.
Why does my "social fitness" matter?
Here is proof: Prof. Waldinger from Harvard Medical School conducted one of the world's most comprehensive study on happiness.
His insights show how much impact strengthening our social system has on our life quality:
People who are socially connected live longer.
They are more protected against stress and depression.
Even your memory and language skills benefit from more social fitness.
What can you do to strengthen the quality of your relationships?
Prof. Waldinger and the Harvard Medical School recommend reflecting frequently on a few questions. Here are five questions from his questionnaire:
Do you feel satisfied with the number of close friends that you have?
Are you comfortable striking up casual conversations with people?
How many family members do you have close relationships with?
How many people could you call in the middle of the night if you need help?
Picture your closest family member. If you could never talk with them again, would they know how you felt about them?
Below you find my little cheat sheet to make this the year you get serious about improving the quality of your relationships.
Wishing you a wonderful year,
PS. Below you will find my favorites of last year. I hope they bring you the joy and inspiration they brought me.
Best Series of 2022: The Bear
The Bear is everything I want from a series: Raw. Honest. Inspiring. And it is a love declaration to my favorite three “f”s – food, friends, and family. I watched it one go, it was that good.
Best Album of 2022: Paolo Nutini - Last Night at the Bittersweet
I’m sorry music journalists, but Paolo Nutini made the album of the year. And you failed to take notice. Nutini’s new album is timeless. It is a great wine - it gets better with time. It is poetic. It feels self-made. And it has range - from 70s rock to under-the-skin hymns - yet feels like one album. Last Night at the Bittersweet is a testament to the evolution of an artist who grew up from music’s everyone’s darling to a grown musician who has zero fucks to give.
Best Movie of 2022: Everything Everywhere All At Once
Remember the times when you were watching a movie and you knew: this is iconic! Iconic like: When Neo bent facing bullets. When Tyler Durden took the punches. When that fat rat sat on to the head of that shy clumsy cook. Remember the feeling those movies gave you? Everything Everywhere All At Once gives you that feeling. Now go and watch it.
Poetic tunes for self-exploration
一 Workshops and retreats:
It’s been a full year. Last year I facilitated over sixty leadership workshops/off-sites, many meditation and awareness workshops, and my first silent meditation retreat on a nature reserve on a German island. Now I’m bending and pretzeling my head over how to do a little bit less this year and still leave the impact I wish for.
If you are the nostalgic type, or if you are new - here you find the last twenty-nine „Mindful Week“ inspiration letters. Let me know what you think.
三 Mind travel:
The sign-up for my next year’s meditation retreat is open (May 3rd - 7th). As usual, it will be an intimate group of fewer than 12 participants, which is unusual and rare in the world of meditation retreats. My wish is to create a space of care, nature, food, science, and deep training for you to cultivate this beautiful mind of yours. If that resonates with you, I would book rather soon, as many places are filled already.
If you want to greet the year by training your mind here is an opportunity. Soon I will facilitate my first “Art of Meditation” weekend retreat (February 4 & 5) at OHIA studio in Berlin. The Art of Meditation is an interactive workshop helping you to understand and train in the various forms of meditation for mental well-being. Here is what you can expect:
Taking advantage of your mind’s capacity for change you will learn which types of meditation exist and how to practice them.
Charting your own unique journey you will learn models to assess and understand your progress.
Finding your own answers on how to live a more reflected life you will explore meditation through the lenses of modern neuroscience, contemplative wisdom, and contemporary psychology.
This workshop is suitable for beginners and experienced meditators, who want to integrate their experience in a wider context of contemplative training and advanced types of meditation. And usually, we laugh (and cry) a lot. Which is why I love hosting those workshops.
Quote, I’m reflecting on:
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