Top Experience for Stronger Mental Health: Anima Mentis Seminars
Admittedly, we were rather excited to return to Anima Mentis, after our comprehensive tour last year (take it with us here). To refresh our readers’ memory, Anima Mentis is a unique fitness center for the soul, aiming to strengthen mental fitness, to expand awareness and, most relevantly, to help its visitors connect to their inner self again.
The familiar friendliness and the welcoming aura were uncanny. The 650 sqm. center is the same oasis we fondly remember, with a reception left of the entrance, where the lovely staff is eager to help you and make you feel as comfortable as possible.
A lovely fresh scent wafts through the air inviting you to a tranquil space in your mind. The light lingers on the earth-toned décor, cradling your every move and inviting to slow down your paces and to recharge within your own inner nature. The atmosphere of tranquility does not permit any disturbances to come in through the front doors, so with all this newly acquired sense of peace, we proceeded to leave our things in the lockers.
This visit to Anima Mentis was a rather special one, as we had the opportunity to get a comprehensive introduction to the seminars offered here and even to join in a first session. It simply needs to be restated how friendly, welcoming and accommodating the staff is. They will patiently and enthusiastically answer all your questions and address your concerns compassionately. There is an air of reassurance, devoid of pressures of all kind, inviting you to open yourself up to new experiences and mental dimensions.
With the same calmness and love for the important work they are doing, the psychologist kindly provided us with all the information we needed to know about the Anima Mentis seminars. After the theoretical input, we had the pleasure to be invited right away to join in and to immerse ourselves in one of the most recently added seminars:
If our readers are under the impression that this term is very familiar, it would be on account of the surge in interest in meditation and self-awareness.
The 8 modules of the seminar strive first and foremost to teach you to focus on the present, to actively practice awareness and to develop the capacity to reflect on situations without lingering in the past. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn techniques to center yourself, to return to the present and to reconnect with yourself. Having experienced first-hand the opening seminar, this was definitely the main takeaway for us, and we were amazed how simple it was to integrate these techniques in our busy schedules.
We learned from the beginning that this was not going to be a lecture, but an interactive session with clearly defined practical techniques. With a calm tone and a wise demeanor, the psychologist walked the group through the hour-long module, provided us with a comprehensive overview and asked us about our relationship with time.
Why do we feel so busy? How do we perceive time? What are the things we make time for? How frequently is a slot allocated just to ourselves in quiet, relaxing contemplation? Why can’t we spare just 5 minutes to center ourselves and to take a moment of absolute silence? We are invited within the time-frame to share something about the programs and expectations in our daily lives, after which we settle into a comfortable position to begin the mindfulness meditation, the breathing method, which is the bridge to the present.
The basis is free breathing in a journey to one’s own body taking about 20 to 25 minutes, allowing the air to flow freely through the lungs. Does it stop anywhere in particular? Are we fully relaxed? How do we achieve that? Through stretching and small, circular movements, progressing from an emphasis of feet contacting the floor, moving subtly and stretching all limbs. Can you describe what you are feeling? Are these sensations familiar? What are the first words coming to your mind to describe them? So of course, depending on your present sensation, the description will vary from individual to individual. In our small group, this was definitely the case even though we were doing the same exercise.
As you progress through the module, you simply feel better, more relaxed, more attuned to your body. And yes, this is highly effective if you are seeking a good night’s sleep, as rest and recovery of the body and mind are emphasized on.
This first module alone had a power to instill in us a desire to return and to continue the course. The time spent here was an opportunity to reflect on the daily activities we prioritize and to completely disconnect from deadlines, work emails and all forms of social obligations we willingly impose on ourselves. We could only attest to the effectiveness of the method and can warmly recommend this seminar to everyone seeking the body-mind-spirit connection and harmonization, regardless of their ages or occupation. It is never too early or too late to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is one of the six seminars currently on offer. Let us walk you through what the other topics are and what we learned about them:
Lifestyle change (Lebensstilmodifikation)
It has become one of the most sought-after seminar topics at Anima Mentis — one can immediately understand why, it was conceived to support those persons that seek to change their lifestyle and the detrimental habits that lead to unhealthy patterns. Step by step, motivation is increased, needs are assessed, challenges overcome, and solutions identified to be incorporated into the everyday life.
The course comprises 8 modules, each module spanning 60 minutes dedicated to a very specific theme, starting from vision and finishing with strategies to transfer the new know-how into the everyday life. The seminar participants also receive various exercises to perform outside the center and to practice further. Nothing compulsory, these are excellent takeaways that participants do gladly, as the results are immediately perceptible. Clients have reported improvements in their daily routines, having identified the factors that were detrimental to their mental well-being, why those factors were there to being with, before removing them through regular practice and replacing them with healthy, positive habits.
Regardless if you are a student overloaded with assignments and learning materials, a dutiful employee whose responsibilities grow every day, an entrepreneur trying to grow his business constantly on the go, an overwhelmed mother juggling work and children’s schedules or a jobseeker down on their motivation everybody is familiar with one form of stress or the other. It is so ubiquitous in our daily life, we can easily identify constant stress or episodes of stress, but there is rarely a sustainable solution advertised. The causes are too complex to tackle by one method, whether it be tangible, like medication, or metaphysical, like self-help books. So, we typically end up treating byproducts of the stress, without addressing the root causes.
There is one solution though and one does not need to look too far it lies within yourself. How you connect with yourself to discover the root causes of your stress might be quite challenging though. Anima Mentis psychologists teach you techniques to explore your psyche and your emotions, and how to forge a deeper understanding of your fundamental needs. There is no one-size fits all, but the techniques are bound to do just that and bring you closer to yourself.
Over the course of 8 modules, you are encouraged to identify and examine your stressors, to explore your inner longings, encoded in “I must/have to/need to” types of formulations that you impose on yourself or deeply-rooted wants of being loved, appreciated or needed, with all their ramifications in your speech and behavior. As the sessions progress, you will learn to handle and respond to what you perceive as stressful situations, to manage your time effectively, to further your professional and social competencies and finally to include new patterns in your daily life, meant to sustain a developed sense of resilience.
This seminar addresses everyone that undergoes a period of stress, even going as far as being on the verge of a pre-burnout stage. This seminar seeks to prevent burnout and to gradually reduce the risks of responding unhealthily to stressors. And best of all, you will learn that anyone is susceptible to feeling stress, but the way of the response and learned resilience will make the difference in quality of life.
Nutrition for well-being (Wohlfühlernährung)
The 6-module seminar is primarily focused on our relationship to nutrition and how it is molded on our body image ideals. In addition to key concepts about nutrition, the seminar goes over current dietary options, the effect of nutrition on the psyche and vice-versa and how to find balance and learn to consume healthy, whole, nutritious foods without feeling like being put on a regimen, to be reinforced with strong discipline and minute calorie count.
The unhealthy relationships we may have with food come to the forefront, so that we may understand why we sometimes binge, why we stress-eat, why we prize certain foods as rewards or even why we eliminate certain foods. An important element to consider is that the focus is to not coerce anyone to change. The seminar further explores satiety levels and even offers a segment of interactive shopping – what do our choices reveal about ourselves? What strategies can be used to improve eating habits? You will have all the tools to figure out which option is best for you.
Finally, smoke-free (Endlich Rauchfrei)
If the restrictive smoking laws in place are not sufficient to aid you in curtailing your smoking or vaping habit, consider the benefits of this seminar. It follows the primary structure of the Lifestyle change premise, but zeroes in on smoking, as it strives to understand what kind of possible needs it satisfies in a smoker. In addition to providing the relevant medical advice and information, the seminar seeks to help smokers explore their triggers of the urge to light up, and, with understanding and no judgment, to set them up for a successful and final quitting of the habit.
As this is one of the more difficult lifestyle changes to tackle, the seminar takes its time over the course of 8 modules and an additional reflection session. The medical information is presented succinctly, as a means to understand that, in essence, there is no health benefit to smoking and that it produces no positive change in the body. However, the dimension of the addiction is all-encompassing and so too is the need to understand the motivation to light up, which can range from boredom, stress, automatism, to deeper issues, like anxiety, the need to disconnect or, on the contrary, as a social connector. From the moment the root causes are identified, a tailored approach will be set in place, so that everyone feels supported and understood in overcoming this addiction, making the important step of quitting and developing mechanisms to discourage rebounding.
It goes without saying, the ideal seminar participants are those smokers that are finally committed to kick the habit or those who have been serial quitters but kept rebounding.
This seminar topic is becoming increasingly appealing, as it ties in with strengthening one’s mental fitness and has the added advantage that modules do not need to be attended chronologically. It is all about the ways of handling daily challenges, it examines those intrinsic qualities, which amount to what we can refer to as a strong person and why it is that, as individuals, we feel compelled to develop resilience in the face of adversity. Most importantly, you learn how can it be activated and accessed.
An important part of this process deals with self-acceptance, including those shadow aspects we prefer to not acknowledge. It deals with active resistance and the wider implications on thought patterns. Positive thinking alone achieves nothing. Some even claim to be incapable of such an ability, while many self-proclaimed positive thinkers do not quite understand their own mental processes. Regardless of your own stance on and experience with positive thinking, a module of the seminar will definitely be of interest, as it explains what preconceived ideas cause either polarity of thinking and how to convert thoughts to realistic expectations.
Relationships and the way we relate to others constitute another mechanism of resilience. Take most people: We have an inherent urge to help others, but not to be the recipients of support, lest we be perceived as weak. If you have been there too many times, this seminar will also address those programs running your life and will help you build better social networks. You learn to not only accept, but request support from others, who are best equipped for it. Finally, and most relevantly, you learn how to become responsible for your decisions and to take ownership for your feelings, responding in accordance with your truth and goals set for yourself.
The premise of the Anima Mentis methods and seminars are scientifically based concepts that support individual goal achievement and a deeper personal understanding of one’s own needs and motivation. The seminars are constructed on these principles, following a sequence broken down into chapters. The first chapter usually serves as a fairly direct induction into the topic, while at the same time putting you in a position to reflect on and address the topic-related conflict within you. Sparse meditative interludes enable you to create a brief a temporal space, where you can, at ease, center yourself, staying present and focused on your body. Finally, the exercises you receive at the end of the chapter would ensure the retention of the major takeaway messages and personal insights, if you continue to practice them outside the center.
To keep in mind before signing up
It needs to be noted that, presently, the seminars would be ideal for our German-speaking international crowd in Vienna, but with time and depending on the popularity with the expat community, the center will keep the possibility of bilingual seminars open.
There is also no need to worry about getting lost in a mass of seminar participants. Anima Mentis specialists appreciate having a number of 5-10 participants that would enable them to shift their attention to everyone. Contrary to potential expectations, the seminars are not about listening to a lecture, but active engagement. During seminars, attendees are encouraged to share their experiences, however the shy ones among you will be happy to know that it is not mandatory and that, as long as you have a takeaway from each session, you will not be pressed to discuss anything or more than you wish.
Companies are more than welcome to contact the Anima Mentis team, should they wish to invest in the well-being of their employees and consider corporate rates and packages. While to some it would look like another work outing, the seminars at Anima Mentis would foster more understanding and compassion on an individual level, that would create a ripple effect to their peers. Companies that have witnessed burnout cases among staff may be particularly interested in the mental fitness therapies and seminars that Anima Mentis provides, for example promoting health in the workplace or reintegration management following a period of stress-induced medical leave.
When it comes to individual rates, it is salient to note that following the initial one-on-one “mental fitness check” with a psychologist, the best packages are discussed to suit the needs of the client. As Anima Mentis goes against the stressful high-pressure tactics used by major health care centers, you can expect full transparency regarding the rates and the facilities included, as well as a customization based on individual needs. The “mental fitness check” is repeated every four weeks, as a means to assess the individual progress of the client and to use their newly acquired insights as the roadmap to another customized program.
Depending on the package you deem best suited to your needs, you can have a choice of one or more applications like VR experiences, bright light or color light applications or Snoezelen, seminars, coaching as well as access to the yoga classes and the cycling facilities. The packages can be easily adapted at any point, in accordance with the personal situation of a client, to best ensure the needs are met with the most suitable offer.
At any point in our lives, the mental landscape can look very desolate and inhospitable to healthy emotions and habits. It is wonderful to know that a center like Anima Mentis exists and lives by the mission of helping their clients become the best versions of themselves. In order to accomplish this mission, the team has developed the best applications and seminars to help you in your struggles and challenges, regardless of the arena of life in which they unfold. And true to their practice, they do not believe in become another “must do” in your busy calendar. Give it a chance for yourself and you will want to carve out that half an hour or hour for yourself, to reflect, to be centered and to understand yourself better. Or simply to be energized or change aspects of your lifestyle that no longer serve you. Whatever the motivation behind your visit, give it a try and select the applications and seminars best fitted to your needs. Your mental health fitness is worth the investment.
To book your appointment, we enclose the contact data of the Anima Mentis Center below:
Phone: +43 1 890 88 78
E-mail: [email protected]s.at