How to thrive as a highly sensitive person

Do you know someone who reflects on things more than everyone else, is very “hangry” (hungry when angry), and who avoids parties and noisy environments as often as possible? Chances are you might know someone with a “highly sensitive personality” (HSP). In 1996, Dr. Elaine Aron, the author of the book “The Highly Sensitive Person” stated that 15-20% of the population are highly sensitive. While it seems to be a quite common personality trait, it was not until recently that psychologists examined this new and unique trait.

As a psychologist, I get to meet individuals with different personality traits in my practice. Some of them state that they have always felt different from other peers, and it was difficult for them to be in certain busy environments. They may have HSP and they did not have a name for it to help them understand why they felt different growing up. Having a highly sensitive personality can make life challenging, but not impossible if you know how to deal with it.

What is a highly sensitive personality?

HSP means that individuals react hypersensitive to stimuli, ranging from emotions, people, noise to food and caffeine consumption. Dr. Aron says that people with HSP have an increased sensitivity to stimulation and that they are more aware of subtleties and process information in a deeper, more reflective way.

If you are an individual with HSP, you probably heard it before: “Toughen up”, “Just get over it” or “You’re too sensitive”; especially men with HSP have to deal with statements like that and it can be quite hurtful. However, it is important to note that HSP is not a mental disorder! It has to be distinguished from shyness, sensation-seeking, sensory processing disorder and autism. HSP’s can be found in both introverts and extraverts; HSP can be related to introversion, but it is not the same as being introverted. According to Dr. Aron, about a third of individuals with HSP are extroverts.

On a biological level, HSP seems to be connected with a deeper sensory data processing. Individuals with HSP may have a hypersensitivity to external stimuli, combined with a greater depth of cognitive processing and a higher emotional reactivity – they process sensory on a deeper level which explains the higher probability of feeling overwhelmed in noisy environments. A lower perceptual threshold also means that an overstimulation by external stimuli can happen faster.

However, there seems to be an increased responsiveness to not only negative, but also positive influences. Many individuals with HSP are great to be in a relationship with. They pay close attention to details and what their partner wants. They figure out quickly what other people want and act on it; this behavior not only makes them good partners, but also good friends. They figure out quickly if other people are feeling overwhelmed. When fighting with partners, people with HSP usually tend to see the other person’s perspective. A high level of empathy allows them to put themselves in other people’s shoes. If you know that you or your partner have HSP, you can act on it to give HSP the time and space to deal with other people and noisy environments.

Therefore, it is important to note that HSP does not mean anything bad, quite the opposite – being highly sensitive carries a lot of positive characteristics. Highly sensitive people may frequently cry or become emotional in another way which is good – they are able to show their emotions (and not to swallow them) and be authentic. If you have HSP, you are emotionally more reactive (showing a higher level of empathy), you’re more intuitive, you take your time to make decisions (because you’re weighing every possible outcome), and you are used to being a deep thinker. It makes you an excellent colleague to go to before making decisions because you are used to weighing pros and cons. Being highly conscientious also makes individuals with HSP more likely to be considerate and show good manners.

How to deal with HSP

How to deal with feeling overwhelmed: If you have HSP, you probably know the feeling: you feel overwhelmed when you have too much stuff to do. It can be a struggle to stay on task when there are multiple things going on at the same time. Stress can lead to anxiety, and a high level of anxiety can make people with HSP feel even more overwhelmed. I recommend to learn body relaxation methods. Then, it is easier for individuals with HSP to step back, breathe, and get things done slowly, one after the other.

Avoidance of noisy environments: Due to the hyperactivity to external stimuli, individuals with HSP usually try to avoid noisy environments (like busy restaurants, mass concerts or parades, …). If you know that you have HSP, give yourself the right to decline initiations to crowded restaurants or concerts. It is totally fine if you want to see people at home or in quiet environments only! If you know someone with HSP, try to invite them to your home or quiet restaurants.

Get enough sleep: A lack of sleep can be damaging for everyone. However, for individuals with HSP it can be even more irritable, and they are more likely to be cranky in the morning; it is harder to deal with sensory overflow. Getting enough sleep helps to process thoughts and deal with emotions.

Plan your meals: Do you know people who get “hangry” (hungry and angry at the same time)? Individuals with HSP tend to get hangry more than other people. They may feel cranky and irritated, especially during morning hours. Therefore, if you have HSP and you feel cranky and you’re taking it out on your partner, make sure you eat regularly throughout the day to keep your blood sugar level steady (especially nuts, fruits and veggies).

Give yourself time: Adjusting to changes is not easy for anybody, e.g., a new work place, new colleagues, a new place to live, a new relationship. For individuals with HSP it can be even more difficult to deal with changes. Also, if you have HSP and you know that you have a busy day ahead with a lot of meetings or meetings in busy and noisy restaurants, schedule time to decompress. Accept the fact that you need more time to adapt to changes, and allow yourself to take the time you need to adapt to changes.

Create your personal quiet space: If you know you have HSP, you can make sure that you create your own quiet place with low lighting, just for yourself. For example, a dark bedroom can be the perfect place to recharge after being exposed to a lot of people and noise. It is important to have a safe space where you can retreat to, to get away from noise and people.

How are counseling and therapy different for people with HSP?

Counseling and therapy are not different for HSP; however, if I as a psychologist am aware that an individual might have HSP, I discuss it with him or her, and adapt counseling sessions and/or the treatment plan accordingly. It is important to keep in mind that individuals with HSP’s can have a hypersensitivity to external stimuli, combined with a greater depth of cognitive processing and a higher emotional reactivity; certain life events or even daily hassles can have a greater impact on them. It can make life challenging, but not impossible; I recommend clients with HSP decompress in quiet places as often as possible and schedule time to do plenty of mental and physical self-care.

 

 

About the author: Dr. Mario Lehenbauer-Baum is a Franklin, Tennessee-based clinical psychologist, and the founder and director of Thrive in Life Counseling and Therapy LLC. He earned his PhD in Clinical Psychology in Vienna, Austria, the birth place of psychotherapy. He completed several pre- and postdoctoral fellowships in Austria and the US, and is the author of several peer-reviewed papers and book-chapters about internet gaming disorder, internet addiction and anxiety disorders. He is able to offer services in English as well in German. Dr. Mario Lehenbauer-Baum diagnoses and treats individuals, couples and groups with a wide range of challenges in their lifes, such as internet addiction, video game addiction, ADHD, shyness, social anxiety disorder and other anxiety disorders, phobias, diversity, relationship issues, men’s issues, career and life challenges, marital and couple issues and other challenges. He offers psychological assessment services for children, adolescents and adults.

Rumination – when you can’t let go of your past

“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”

Anonymous quote from the Internet

 

We all may know someone who seems to live in the past. Someone who is always talking about past experiences. Someone who claims they learned a lesson from past experiences, but somehow they cannot stop talking about it – or maybe it is even you, and you recognize some of the patterns in your own behavior. It is called rumination, and today’s blog talks about people who cannot let go of the past, the reasons for it and – if you are affected by it – what you can do against it.

What is rumination?

Imagine you are sitting at home and your thoughts keep circling around some negative experiences. It can be a conflict with someone, bad experiences in your childhood, or the end of a relationship or divorce that happened months or even years ago. For some reason, you keep reviewing what has happened to you, over and over. You talk to your friends about it, maybe you even write about it to get it out of your head. Congratulations, you did the first step to take on negative thoughts! But what happens if you think (or talk) about the same old stuff over and over again? Then you might suffer from something called “rumination“.

Did you ever see a cow in real life? They appear to be constantly chewing on something. That’s because they’re ruminating. Technically speaking, the cow regurgitates previously consumed food and masticates it a second time. It’s literally chewing on the same thing over and over again. Luckily for the cow, the food is digested at some point. Humans however, do not need to ruminate food, but some people have a similar process going on with thoughts in their head. Some people dwell on negative thoughts because their mind is literally STUCK. If you are a ruminator, you keep repeating and re-living the same negative experiences in your head over and over, but you can’t do anything to change it.

The problem with ruminating people is that they truly believe they are “doing something”; however, they are not pursuing any goals, there is no progress happening in their life, they are literally stuck in the same train of thoughts – it like writing your own autobiography over and over again but nothing is changing for years.

Examples of rumination

Imagine if you broke up with someone or had a divorce one or two (or even more!) years ago. Usually, the healing process is done, and people move on. Ruminators have a problem with moving on. If you are a ruminator, you can’t stop talking about these things, even if it was years ago. You talk about how it affected you, how bad it was or maybe even how unfair it was. Instead of focusing on your future, you focus on your past, and that would keep you from finding real happiness with a new partner – that would be sad!

Examples of rumination include replaying conversations that you had in your head, dwelling on a divorce or the end of a relationship that happened a long time ago, talking to your friends about the same things over and over, about all the “injustices” or “injuries” that happened to you, and how you were able to rise from it and move on. But did you really? Is it really moving on when you still think and talk about the same old stuff that happened a long time ago?

In my home country Austria, we have a saying: you either HAVE something or you TALK about it. If you’re self-confident you don’t need to talk about it all the time. If you’re really happy, you don’t need to post it on social media over and over. And if you really moved on from something, you don’t need to remind yourself all the time. If you need to talk about it all the time, then you are stuck. You are a ruminator.

What is rumination doing with you and why are people doing it?

There seems to be a correlation between ruminating and patterns of depressions (according to some recent studies). This makes sense, because how can someone feel good or happy if he or she is always thinking about negative past experiences? That’s like scratching on a wound over and over again (instead of letting it go and heal).

Psychological studies state that rumination seems to be correlated to “cognitive incompetence” and “cognitive consciousness“. It means that ruminating individuals are very well aware and conscious of their negative thoughts. They think about past experiences over and over again – up to a point where the thoughts create their own reality, sometimes exaggerating or even differing from what really happened. Ruminators often believe that their rumination will lead to solving a problem, but it really creates a loop where they are stuck in their own thoughts. Cognitive incompetence means that they cannot find they way out of the loop.

What can you do against rumination?

There is a quick and easy way to find out if you are a ruminator. If friends and family are telling you that you always complain about the same things, or if they even withdraw from you because you seem to be telling the same stories over and over again, you might be ruminating.

The first step would be to think about your “needs”. Very often, people cannot let go of their past because they need something to be “solved”. If you need “clarity”, “certainty”, “resolution” or “fairness” for something that happened a long time ago in your life, then these needs are holding you back. The key is accepting the past and truly move on (and not talk about it excessively anymore).

Sometimes we live in a world that isn’t fair. There will always be someone who is prettier or more handsome than you. There will always be someone who makes more money than you do. You cannot change it. Bad things happen. Breakups happen. Divorces happen. It is painful and sometimes it is unfair. For example, it might seem unfair when you suffered a painful divorce six months ago, and your ex-wife or ex-husband is already married again and so much happier than you. It might seem unfair, but who said that life is fair? You are only hurting yourself if you cannot let go of the past; the truth is that we are all responsible for our own good.

The sooner we accept that life can be unfair, the sooner we can accept to take our own fate in our own hands and embrace the present moment. The past already happened, we cannot change it. What we are able to change is the future – and that is truly yours.

So stop ruminating and blaming other people for your misery, and start living your own life – you deserve it.

Summary

We all may know someone who seems to live in the past; someone who is always talking about past experiences or someone who claims they learned a lesson from past experiences, but somehow they cannot stop talking about it – this is called rumination. The problem with ruminating people is that they truly believe they are “doing something”; however, they are not pursuing any goals, there is no progress happening in their life, they are literally stuck in the same train of thoughts – it like writing your own autobiography over and over again but nothing is changing for years. The first step would be to think about your “needs”. Very often, people cannot let go of their past because they need something to be “solved”. However, the sooner we accept that life can sometimes be unfair, the sooner we are able to let go because we simply cannot change it. The past already happened, we cannot change it. What we are able to change is the future – and that is truly yours.

It is time… to connect with yourself

“I think somehow we learn who we really are and then we live with that decision.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

DSC00884

I really like this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. It basically says that who we really are is a matter of our decisions. It is not something god-given and unchangeable, it is something we decide for ourselves. Therefore it is important to know what we want and to connect with ourselves to know who we want to be!

I had the idea for today’s blog today. I was sick for almost two weeks; it started with a minor bug, a minor cold, it got better, then it got worse. Long story short, it was “only” a severe cold. On the bright side, I had a lot of time to do something I didn’t do in a long time – connect with myself.

Today’s blog is about the one person, the one most important person in your life, that is yourself. How can you expect that somebody loves you if you’re not able to love yourself? How can you expect that anybody treats you with respect and takes care of you, if you can’t take care of yourself or if you can’t respect yourself?

Connect with yourself

Are you connected with yourself? When somebody asked me this question for the first time, I was a little bit surprised. My first reaction was “Yes, of course!”. On second thought, I hesitated. I mean, I lived with myself every day, but it didn’t mean that I knew me (it sounds silly, doesn’t it). But do you know yourself? Do you check with yourself often?

To get to know what I want, I learned to check in with myself regularly. So, every once in a while, I have a little hiatus, a break from every-day life, a few hours just for myself. I am not online, I am not checking the phone, I am not listening to music, I am just there. Existing, breathing, practicing mindfulness; I watch my train of thoughts, my mind wanders around, and it is the best feedback I can get about myself, my thoughts, my desires, and what is going on with my life.

Start with little steps

To connect with yourself, start with little steps, baby steps. Practice mindfulness, and try to sit quietly in a room for 5 minutes. No Internet, no mobile phone, disconnected from the world, but connected with your inner self. Now, watch your train of thoughts. Don’t judge, just let it flow, let it go. Whatever comes into your mind, observe it, but don’t judge. It won’t be easy, but it will get easier every time you do it. The next time, try to do it for 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, until you have the amount of time you are comfortable with.

Something I can not repeat often enough – get a journal! Write down anything that came into your mind. Psychological studies state that once you write something down, it is out of your mind (i.e. “taken care of”). Over time, you will see a pattern, your desires will become more clear, and you will get a feeling and an idea for your goals in life. This is truly important because once you know your goals, you can take care of your goals to connect with yourself.

Take care of your goals – and reward yourself

If you don’t know what you want, how can you ever expect to get what you want? An important step in connecting with yourself is to think about your goals. What do you want? Write down some of your main goals, either short-term or bigger long-term goals. When you write down bigger long-term goals, I recommend breaking it down into smaller easily achievable goals; it is always helpful to think of small steps towards something big. Do not forget to congratulate yourself when you achieve your goals. For example, when your goal is to go to the gym regularly, and you made it through week 1, reward yourself!

Once you have set goals, you need to think about your next steps. Be as clear as possible why you set a certain goal and how your life will be different once you achieved your goal. Think about help, support and resources you need to achieve your goal. Be not afraid to ask for help!

I have to repeat it one more time – get a journal! All my clients who started a journal stated that their life changed significantly after a while. Backed up by science, daily logging into a journal helps us shape our mind and focus on our goals. There is nothing that you can’t do today to take the first step towards your goal (and if it is just buying a journal for logging your progress)!

So what?

Of course you know about eating healthy and going to the gym, of course you know about how exercise helps you to feel better. My question is – why aren’t you doing it? The problem is, we probably aren’t doing enough of it, we don’t feel connected with ourselves.

Our life, our day is filled with our decisions we make. Instead of sitting in front of the TV, we could make the choice to meet with somebody. Instead of playing the game in front of the computer, we can cook a nice dinner for our partner and cuddle afterwards. Instead of eating chocolate as a snack, we can choose to eat an apple. It sounds simple because it IS simple. Life is about our decisions. It is not the big decisions that change our life permanently, it is the small decisions we make every day. Changing these small decisions, one by one, towards our goal, we will find ourself in a better place after some time.

I hope you have an interesting and insightful time with connecting with yourself! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

 

About the writer: Dr. Mario Lehenbauer-Baum focuses on positive psychology to help people live a better life with greater happiness and authenticity. Currently, he is a Visiting Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Vanderbilt University in Nashville/Tennessee, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna/Austria. He is a Clinical Psychologist and Health Psychologist as well as a certified Industrial-/Organizational Psychologist (certified by Austria and the Board of Organizational Psychology – Austrian Psychologist Association), a motivational speaker and coach as well as a researcher concerning positive psychology. He is a passionate gamer and uses new technology frequently. His research work combines (Clinical) Psychology/Organizational Psychology and new technology (e.g. online-based social skills trainings) as well as the “side effects” of using new technologies, such as being addicted to the Internet, games or smart phones.

 

 

New year’s resolution- be authentic!

IMG_0958-2.JPG

Three years ago, an incredible journey started for me. I was not unhappy, but I was not happy either. I wanted to change things in life, but I did not know how. So one of the first things I did, I made the resolution to be more authentic, to be more my “real” self, no matter what other people think. Over that following year, I watched amazing things happen… I built new relationships, got a new job, found new friends, and even found myself getting married to an incredible human being – something I would have never even imagined happen to me three or even two years ago. With my post today I want to tell you why it is so important to be the REAL you, to be authentic. Once you start being authentic and take care of your needs and your real self, everything will change, and I will tell you why.

How we lost track of our real self

When we were little kids, we had flaws, we had a personality, we had qualities that defined us as human beings. However, while growing up, society influenced you and molded you into your today’s self. However, very often we ended up flexing our behavior; when we grew up, we learned to flex our personality to fit what we think others expect from us. This is a very natural thing. Think of ancient tribes – it was important to be good with everybody, it was vital for your survival; the more people like you, the more they help you survive. However, being grown-up, this can lead to serious issues. When you fake your personality or do not have the courage to stand up for yourself, you only hurt yourself.

Once you are aware of who you are, what you want and what you deserve, and start being yourself, it will be an amazing journey for you!

You will attract the right partner!

Something that happened to me too… When you are able to show your real personality, your flaws, your worst and your best sides, you will attract certain people. Sure, when you fake your personality and are not able to face your fears, you may attract someone… But I can guarantee you that it won’t make you happy. It is exhausting to fake a personality 24/7, to be not able to just be yourself. You might feel unhappy, exhausted, resentful or even guilty when your needs are not met. When you are authentic, you automatically create a consistend experience for other people; just be authentic and real, and you will attract someone who is truly meant for you.

Relationships change – you will find your right clan!

I had different relationships and friendships three or even two years ago. I was not surrounded by people who really supported me, who wanted to see me succeed. Quite the opposite, they projected their fears onto me, and tried to hold me back. However, the minute I focused on myself and started to be authentic, I lost some of these “friends”. It was a painful process, but trust me: once you are your real self and not subconsciously faking your personality like others want you to be, you will find other friends and colleagues.

You will find people who inspire you, who want to help you; you will attract other authentic people who are in line with your flaws and strenghts.

You will be healthier

Faking your personality (even if it happens subconsciously) is extremely exhausting. Subconsciously, you are always worried about other people’s thoughts, you try to impress almost everybody. It takes a lot of energy, and of course all these worrying can affect your immune system and your health.

Once you stop faking and start being authentic, all the worrying stops. You will have a lot more energy for authentic positive things, and you will gain confidence by just being present and yourself. It feels good! Being with the right people will boost endorphins. You will feel good, you look good, and you attract good. Over time, it creates major positive energy in your life!

You will be more successful

It is true – people do not want to buy fake experiences. When you are authentic, people can trust you, that you’re always you. It will be painful for some, and you should not be afraid to hurt some people with your opinion; however, you will be respected when you are able to speak your truth in a polite way.

When you’re not faking something, you are able to connect to people on a deeper level and you are able to build real relationships. Once people feel secure in your relationship, they will trust you and your opinion. You will attract people who want to spend time with you, and you will attract customers and clients who respect you.

Summary

Faking personalities is vital during adolescence; you experience and try different roles. However, as an adult, it is truly exhausting to fake a personality 24/7, at work and at home. You don’t attract the right partner or the right circumstances at work. Once you start to listen to yourself, to who you really are and your needs, you will be authentic. Being authentic creates real happiness, because you will find yourself surrounded by completely different people: Colleagues and friends who will want to see you suceed, who support you and uplift you. Most important “side effect” – you might find your real love, the one partner that is meant for your and who fits your flaws and your strenghts! You experience real and authentic happiness – just like you deserve!

Feel free to talk to me when you need assistance or coaching in finding your real inner needs and live an authentic life.

About the writer: Dr. Mario Lehenbauer-Baum works as a Life Coach in Tennessee; he focuses on positive psychology to help people live a better life with greater happiness and authenticity. Furthermore, he currently is a Visiting Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Vanderbilt University in Nashville/Tennessee, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna/Austria. He is a Clinical Psychologist and Health Psychologist as well as a certified Industrial-/Organizational Psychologist (certified by Austria and the Board of Organizational Psychology – Austrian Psychologist Association), a motivational speaker and coach as well as a researcher concerning positive psychology. He is a passionate gamer and uses new technology frequently. His research work combines (Clinical) Psychology/Organizational Psychology and new technology (e.g. online-based social skills trainings) as well as the “side effects” of using new technologies, such as being addicted to the Internet, games or smart phones.

 

My grandfather’s golden watch

“What day is it?” asked Pooh.

It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.

My favorite day!” said Pooh.

A.A.Milne

Have you ever thought about not wearing a special shirt or not putting on that cologne in the morning, because it was too expensive? You wanted to “save it for later, for a special occasion”? You shouldn’t. You should feel special every day, and it is in your hands to accomplish this feeling. My article today is about my grandfather’s golden watch and how it can teach us a lesson to embrace and welcome every day. Many of us save things for later and forget to live today.

My grandparents’ “war” generation

I spent a lot of time with my grandparents at their house. As a kid, I never wondered about the fact that my grandmother had “good silverware” and “every-day silverware”. She also had the “good cups” and the normal cups for everyday use. All the good silverware and dishes were stored in another room and only taken out for special occasions. I grew up with this, and it was not until later that I realized that this was a special way of thinking, inherent to the old war generation.

My grandparents grew up during World War II; my great grandmother even survived both world wars. They had to learn how to survive with a minimum of resources. After World War II, there was an economic boom in Austria. People were able to buy stuff they never had before, such as TV’s, special silverware or dishes – luxury. My grandparents grew up with almost nothing, so they had to learn how to plan ahead. They wanted to save the “good stuff” for later, for special occasions. However, with all the “saving up for later” my grandparents forgot something important – to live in and embrace the moment.

My grandfather’s 60th birthday – the golden watch

I remember my grandfather’s 60th birthday, I was 13 or 14 years old. We celebrated my grandfather’s birthday with the whole family, and he got a lot of presents. One of these presents was a golden watch, from my grandmother and my great-grandmother. They didn’t have a lot of money, so they had to save some money for it. It was a nice watch, with a golden clock-face and a fine leather band. When he got it, my grandfather opened the case with the watch in it, looked at it, said “This is nice, thank you” and put the watch back in the case.

He probably never opened it again until the day he died.

My grandfathers death – the good-bye

My grandfather died a year ago, three weeks after I went to the United States. He was sick for a long time; his death wasn’t a surprise. But even if it was the end of a long suffering, the whole family was devastated.

However, I am glad that I had the opportunity to say good-bye before I went to the U.S. He suffered from several strokes; he was not able to move his hands anymore. He also was not able to speak anymore, and was almost blind. But you could still see some light in his eyes when he recognized something.

Saying good-bye was hard for me. I knew that I would never be able to see him again. I went to his room, he was in his bed. I took his hand and I said goodbye. His eyes were always closed, but as I gave him my last kiss on his cheeks, he opened his eyes. He saw and he recognized me. I told him that I have to go now. He looked at me, I saw it in his eyes that he heard what I said. He stared at the ceiling. I saw a tear in his eye, and I am sure he knew that this was the final good-bye. I didn’t want him to see me cry, so I swallowed my tears; I cried a lot after that.

The golden watch

A couple months after his death, I spoke to my grandmother. I totally forgot about the golden watch; when she told me about it, I remembered it. She took care of my grandfather’s belongings after his passing, and she found the watch. She wanted me to have it, to have something from him when I am in the U.S., something to remember him. My grandmother told me that he was never wearing this watch, always waiting for a special day.

The next time my mother visited she brought me that watch. And there it was – the golden watch in a case; it looked like a brand-new watch. I had to get a new battery, but still – after almost 25 years it looked like a completely new watch.

Live and embrace the moment

I love the golden watch. It reminds me of my grandfather and where I come from. And it is a reminder to live every day. My grandfather waited for a long time to wear his golden watch, but he never did – until it was too late.

Unlike my grandfather, I do not want to wait for special days to wear my watch. I also do not wear for any special occasion; I wear it every day if I choose to. And this is the important lesson this watch teaches me: When I wait to for a special day, I will probably never wear it. The same goes for “expensive” clothes or “special” shoes or “fine” fragrances – I wear it every day I can. Every day is special, because it is YOUR life! You are still alive, and you should feel worth it – wear your best cologne, your best clothes, eat that special dinner, because you deserve it! Celebrate and embrace your life in this very moment!

Take away message from my grandfather’s golden watch

We never know how long we live; we never know what tomorrow brings. Of course, it is good to save some money for later! However, it shouldn’t stop us from living, enjoying our life today. Think about yourself: What are the things you don’t wear, don’t do, or don’t eat because you want to wait for a special day? Why can’t you do it today? You can wear your best clothes, order  that special dinner just for you, have a bath with that special bath salt, nourish your skin with that special body lotion, wear that special cologne when you go shopping… it is your list. Feel special and don’t wait for a day in the future far ahead because it might be too late some day!

 

About the writer: Dr. Mario Lehenbauer-Baum wants to help people to thrive in life. He is a Clinical Psychologist and Health Psychologist as well as a certified Industrial-/Organizational Psychologist, a motivational speaker and coach as well as a researcher. He is a passionate gamer and uses new technologies frequently. His research work combines (Clinical) Psychology/Organizational Psychology and new technology (e.g. online-based social skills trainings) as well as the “side effects” of using new technologies, such as being addicted to the internet, games or smart phones. In his coaching and therapy work he focuses on positive psychology to help people live a better life.

Be your own best friend, for happiness’ sake!

“Happiness Is When You Feel Good About Yourself Without Feeling The Need For Anyone Else’s Approval”

Unknown

IMG_839420140519-194405-71045750.jpg

As a Psychologist and Coach, I meet a lot of people; furthermore, even after meeting with clients, I can’t help to see some things with my psychological eye. Some people are really talented with overthinking situations, dwelling on the past, and be their own enemy. They just can’t help themselves.

However, you – with reading my blog – can help yourself! Therefore, I’d like to introduce you to your worst enemy in today’s post – yourself. Right, yourself… I try to outline some rules for happiness, so you can stop being your own enemy, dwelling on the past, and start designing your own brilliant future!

Overthinking and second guessing

Yes, we all made mistakes, we all said things we wish we didn’t say, and we all made decisions we regret. Nevertheless, we also had situations where we helped somebody, wrote kind words to someone, made a phone call to encourage somebody. Instead of dwelling on negative situations, why don’t we dwell on the positive ones, where we helped somebody?

It is amazing how some people are able to focus on negative things, and overthink it how they reacted, should’ve reacted differently etc. Life is full with ups and downs. As I said before, we all make mistakes. How can you expect that somebody forgives you if you can’t forgive yourself? Make the first step and forgive yourself.

Mistakes made you the person you are now, they shaped you. You would react differently today – so the past was an excellent teacher, and you learned from your mistake. Just hold your head up, live through the mess of your past, and keep focusing on the present and designing your fantastic future.

Let your past be a teacher – and nothing else

We all made mistakes. We all made decisions we regret. Nobody is perfect. We all have good days, and we all have bad days where we dwell on the past, full with feelings of regret or remorse. And this is okay – it is okay as long as you do not let it stop you from designing a better future, beginning in this very moment.

Every mistake can inspire you towards success, every decision you made, made you the person you are today. You cannot change the past, but you can change your future.There were reasons you made a decision, there were reasons why you made a mistake, you just didn’t know it better that time.

Don’t be too hard on yourself, let the past be a teacher instead of a weapon to hurt yourself. Ask yourself what this situation taught you, and take it with you into a better future. Yesterday is gone, the future not here yet – all you have is your present.

Allow every past moment to be an investment in designing a better future, your future!

Don’t be your own enemy and listen to lies in your head

I am pretty sure we all have this voices in our head. This nagging voice “You could’ve done better”, “You don’t deserve it”, “How can people love you”, “You’re ugly”, “You’re a failure”, and so on.

This is the part that amazes me a lot – instead of being your own friend, most people are their own enemy and let these voices guide their life. Yes, we all have lazy days where we don’t feel like we are up to do what needs to be done.

However, feeling guilty because you didn’t do something, or because you didn’t do it well enough doesn’t serve you. Guilt is a strong feeling, nagging deep inside your soul, petrifies you until you’re not able to do anything else anymore.

Just don’t listen to your inside voice that tells you that it doesn’t matter if you skip a day at gym, drink that one more cocktail or smoke that one cigarette. It’s the voice of laziness that keeps you from flourishing.

Try to be your best friend, your best coach and motivator. Replace old, disempowering thoughts with uplifting and encouraging thoughts. You can do it! And what keeps you from doing it right now?

Thoughts of encouragement

It was Gandhi who said that “your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”

If you want to start shaping your future and your destiny, you will have to start with your beliefs and thoughts. Your words have power, not only for you but also your environment. Therefore, be very careful what you think and what you speak; are your words encouraging? Do they help you or anybody else in fulfilling their dreams? Happiness comes with words of encouragement; happy people speak words of encouragement not only to other people but also to themselves.

I strongly believe in the law of attraction. If you start speaking words of kindness and encouragement, it will attract other helpful, encouraging and kind people into your life. Just be careful – very often you are surrounded by negative people who want to drag you down.

Don’t listen to them, and seek out for encouraging people. You will see that you will awaken in others the thoughts and beliefs you hold in yourself. Always be your best friend, and live your life always aware of the fact that your beliefs and thoughts are your future and your destiny. If you want a better world for yourself and others around you, you have to start inside.

I sincerely hope that you find yourself in my words, and you find something you can include in your own life. Just remember, that most people are their own enemy – no one else is to blame but themselves. Therefore, instead of heading into the direction of a future with happiness, they dwell on the past, with overthinking and second guessing situations. Let your past be a teacher for you!

Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow is not here yet – all you have is the present, and it is a present. Thoughts of encouragement will help you to shape your beliefs, your actions, your habits, and in the end – your fantastic future!

About the writer: Dr. Mario Lehenbauer-Baum is a Clinical Psychologist and Health Psychologist as well as a certified Industrial-/Organizational Psychologist (certified by the Board of Organizational Psychology – Austrian Psychologist Association), a motivational speaker and coach as well as a researcher concerning positive psychology. He is a passionate gamer and uses new technologies frequently. His research work combines (Clinical) Psychology/Organizational Psychology and new technology (e.g. online-based social skills trainings) as well as the “side effects” of using new technologies, such as being addicted to the internet, games or smart phones. In his coaching and therapy work he focuses on positive psychology to help people live a better life.

 

Stop.Breathe.Think. Daily happiness

“Love and happiness are not something ready made. They come from your own actions.” 

Dalai Lama XIV

Everybody wants true love and to be happy – I assume that there are only a few people in this world who want to live on their own. Nevertheless, this quote from Dalai Lama already points out to something I want to say – true love and happiness do not come from the outside; rather from your own actions and from the inside.

I heard this a long time ago, “Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” In other words, do what you love and love what you do, because this is the only way to live happily.

There only a few rules for true happiness

1. DROP THE THOUGHT: A lot of people tend to overthink certain matters. Try not to overanalyze other people’s reactions or words. You are not sitting inside other people’s head, therefore you construct your own reality by assuming what he or she might have meant by saying this or that – and your assumptions are in most cases not true. Therefore, try to “drop the thought” and go on living.

2. UNPLUG FOR QUALITY TIME: We are wired 24/7. Even with my iPhone and iPad, I can always be online, giving everybody the opportunity to speak to/with me. Sometimes I need to unplug, and my own space – and so do many people. You have to learn to let go. Set aside your phone and laptop, and spend some real quality time with friends. At the end of the day, they really matter. Imagine yourself in the last seconds before you die – you will probably NEVER say “I should’ve checked my Facebook timeline more often“; instead, most people regret missing time with friends.

3. KEEP ON LEARNING: I finished my PhD roughly some years ago.  Nevertheless, I never stopped learning. You have to feed your brain with some new stuff every now and then. Why don’t you lean Japanese calligraphy? Enroll to some sushi cooking lectures? By rough estimation, it takes 5 years to learn a new “profession” or to be excellent in some area. Therefore, you have plenty of time to learn new skills even if you are “older” than the usual 40/50/60 crowd you see in media. Challenge yourself; you are never too old to do something new.

4. FORGIVE AND LET GO. I used to believe in some kind of “revenge” for a long time, but I realized over the last years that this was some sort of negative energy inside of me. We all have people in our lives that use us, hurt us or test us somehow, but feelings of revenge do not serve any purpose for happiness. I learned to let go, and to trust “Karma”. If somebody hurts you or uses you, he will likely do this with other people as well – and there are good chances that life will teach him or her a lesson. If you are lucky enough (like me), you can even watch how it happens; just remember that everything you send out (love, happiness, negative thoughts) will come back to the sender. If you forgive and let it go, you learn and move on. Never regret a single part in your journey. Everything happens for a reason, and made you stronger somehow.

5. GIVE BACK: “Random acts of kindness”. Psychological studies reveal that real happiness comes from sharing with other people. If you believe in Karma or god, or a higher power, everything you send out will come back to you somehow. Just trust “god”, “the universe”, “karma” or whatever you believe in.

6. MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS: At the end of the day, only friends or family can help you when you are feeling down. Having a successful career and a lot of money in your wallet can make you feel safe, but it does not make you feel happy. Only a truly loving partner teaches us to become better people.  He or she supports us during our ups and our down moments. Be grateful when you have someone like this in your life. I found my spouse and I am daily grateful and consider myself blessed to have my spouse in my life.

7. BE AUTHENTIC. Don’t be a fake version of yourself. Try to be somebody who feels comfortable just the way you are. At the end of the day, it’s about who the inner you is. If people love you just because of your fake version, you’re not being true to yourself or to society. Always surround yourself with people who want you to succeed. It seems simple on the surface but I found myself working with people rooting for me to fail. It was a hard lesson because I just did not believe that there are people like this out there – but they exist. Therefore, stay away from them. Authentic people are hard to find; if you found them, hold onto it.

“Simple” rules, my foot, you might say. And yes, they are not that simple, but nevertheless – these are proven ways to improve your happiness. True love and real happiness are something that have to start within you. Do your part, and you will see that life changes for the better immediately…

About the writer: Dr. Mario Lehenbauer-Baum is a Clinical Psychologist and Health Psychologist as well as a certified Industrial-/Organizational Psychologist (certified by the Board of Organizational Psychology – Austrian Psychologist Association), a motivational speaker and coach as well as a researcher concerning positive psychology. He is a passionate gamer and uses new technologies frequently. His research work combines (Clinical) Psychology/Organizational Psychology and new technology (e.g. online-based social skills trainings) as well as the “side effects” of using new technologies, such as being addicted to the internet, games or smart phones. In his coaching and therapy work he focuses on positive psychology to help people live a better life.

About the law of attraction…

20140111-165308.jpg

“Thoughts don’t become things; thoughts ARE things.” Eric Michael Leventhal

I really like this quote, basically because it sums up something I already do on a subconscious level, following the law of attraction, but I found that many people have problems with this point of view, saying it is not a scientifially proven fact. It may be true, but nevertheless, I found myself wondering about the fact why so many people are used to make they life harder for themself by negative thoughts, not being able to break out and create positive things in their life. I also wondered about how the law of attraction might work, if there is really something like a “force” attracting things in our life. This is what I found over the last years.

Interested in Quantum-physics as well as in Psychology, I found the outcomes of several studies in the last decade very astounding. If you break down matter, from molecules to atoms to electrons, neutrons and protons, you find even smaller parts. An important theory of Quantum-physics is the string theory. It basically states every matters consists of strings, sized a millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a centimeter. It is said that they are made of nothing but little lines of energy. Therefore, according to this theory, everything we see, your living room, the text you are currently reading, your body, is made of pure energy. YOU are made of energy. Therefore, from a scientific perspective, it doesn’t make any sense to differ between fantasy and reality, because both things are real somehow. We are really living in exciting times, when science is basically confirming ancient points of view that thoughts create reality (like Buddhism, …).

As I pointed out before, I strongly believe in the law of attraction. When I am in a positive mood, I attract positive situations; vice versa, when I am in a bad mood, more negative things seem to happen. In the beginning, the rate of good and bad things may be the same for positive or negative people, but positive people focus more on the positive aspects in their life. One positive experience can lead to another one, like a chain reaction. But to make good things happen, they have to be somewhere before – in your head, as thoughts. When all life around us including us is made of energy, including our thoughts, then why don’t we focus on good things? Why not channel our “energy”, our thoughts, into a desired direction?

Of course, things do not change instantly. What you are now, where you are living and working now, your current life circumstances, the people you know, everything is the product of thoughts you had and decisions you made in the last years. Be patient with yourself, if you find yourself trapped in unhappy life circumstances.

Why am I writing this? As a Psychologist and as a coach, I get to know a lot of people who are not happy with their life. I want to help by stating some facts about changing the life by changing one’s thoughts. I do not say that it is easy to change one’s life – but it is possible. Instead of channeling energy into negative views and complaining, your energy should go into positive things, summed up by “Do and think more of what makes you happy”. You are the creator of your own reality, and only you are responsible for your life. Maybe you had a rough childhood, an unhappy marriage, you met the wrong people in your life, you made some wrong decisions… it is okay, nobody is perfect. Everybody has his or her own story, but it is solely up to you how you live your life, to make changes, starting with your thoughts in this very moment.

I always recommend writing down your thoughts. You would be stunned how many negative thoughts are crossing your mind every day. This is a given fact, how can you be happy with unhappy thoughts? By writing them down, you (maybe for the first time in your life) make yourself aware about how you treat yourself and your surrounding. Once you wrote them down, it is up to you to find better thoughts for yourself. Think about better thoughts and write them down. Also start to think about your goals, and write down how you want your life to be. Psychological researcher found that people who wrote down their goals instead of just saying them out loud where more likely to reach their goals. This fact is true for both negative and positive things. For example, studies suggest that when people wrote down their thoughts on a piece of paper and then threw it away, they also mentally discharged these thoughts. People who were told to carry around these thoughts in their pocket were found to be more likely attached to these thoughts. Therefore, to start a change in your life, write down your goals, your desired changes in your life. I recommend using sticky notes, and put them somewhere where you can see them as often as possible. The more energy you channel into a desired direction, the more likely you will see outcomes. Just be careful about goals, they should be realistic. Winning a billion in a lottery is possible, but unlikely. Loosing more than a pound per week is possible, but not very healthy. Getting to know your future husband next week if you are single may be possible but unlikely. Set your goals realistically when you write them down. Writing down what you want is a good way to be more clear about your intentions, and I believe that this somehow activates the law of attraction.

Dr. Mario Lehenbauer-Baum is a Clinical Psychologist and Health Psychologist, a motivational speaker and coach as well as a researcher concerning positive psychology. He is a passionate gamer and uses new technologies frequently. His research work combines (Clinical) Psychology and new technology (play a special game to overcome depression or use an app to provide positive psychology) as well as the “side effects” of using new technologies, such as being addicted to the internet, games or smart phones. In his coaching and therapy work he focuses on positive psychology to help people live a better life.

Life changing habits

“Ego says, “Once everything falls into place, I’ll fell peace.”

Spirit says, “Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.”

Marianne Williamson

I get to hear following sentences a lot; like “I want to change my life”, “I want to change this” and “I want to change that”… After all, the good thing is, we are all creatures of habit. The bad thing is, we are creatures that stick to old habits. Another good thing is, habits can change! For example, I made it a habit to work out frequently and I made it a habit to eat healthy. It was not easy in the beginning, but once you made the first steps, it gets more and more easy to include new habits into your everyday life.

Most important of all, I made it a habit to think positive. You might say that these steps are difficult – they are! If you want to change everything in your life at once, it is difficult and you will most probably fail, to be honest. It is better to stick to baby-steps instead. For example, if you want to eat more healthy food, start with small steps like a healthy breakfast or a healthy lunch every day. It is mandatory to make a plan of things you want / write it down, make a 30-day plan for habits you want to change, and put it somewhere where you can see it (on the fridge). Commit to your plan, publicly, and log your process! Furthermore, do not forget to reward yourself. For example, whenever I reached a certain goal with my work out plan, I rewarded myself with a new outfit. And – be proud of yourself, even if you fail. At least you tried it. Fall may fall down and might nearly give up, but this is part of the process; you try, you fail, you learn something, and you try again!

There are some habits I included in my everyday living, for example:

Think positive

Positive thinking is important to form habits. Even if you fail: with an optimistic way of thinking you will try it again and succeed. Start by detecting your negative thoughts first, by recording your negative self-talk. Find some help with my other blog article about positive thoughts here.

Stop multi-tasking

Over the past years I made the mistake of multi-tasking. In our world it is so easy to get distracted, you have your smartphone and tablet on your desk, your laptop and your PC turned on, and you switch every 10 minutes, when a new message on Facebook pops up or someone wrote you a message. I felt super productive this way, but I realized that even when I did a lot lot things during the day, I didn’t get anything essential done in time. Multi-tasking is not productive. Therefore, stop it. Make it a habit to fully commit to the work you currently do.

Follow the 1-hour rule: fully commit to a work for exactly one hour. Set your phone on silent, do not open Facebook, concentrate on your current work for 60 minutes. Stop phubbing. After that, evaluate. Was it enough time? Are you able to put another hour into it? If so, do it. You’ll see, you get more work done more efficiently if you fully commit to it, and just IT.

Exercise!

Yes – you will roll your eyes, you hear it the x-thousandst time. Well then – why aren’t you exercising? What are your excuses? Too much work? No time? Instead of wasting time in front of the TV, there is always time for work out. And trust me – 30 minutes on the treadmill will relax you more than 30 minutes on the couch, watching TV or playing games or whatever you usually I do.

Exercise helps you to think positive, you gain more self-confidence. You will feel better – and this is definitely a life-changing habit! I enjoy my work out times not only for physical reasons: it is one time for me and me only. I have my best ideas and brain storming during work out times… I put my workout times in my calendar, this my time for me and for me only.

Simplify your life

You would be surprised how many time you lose with non-essential things during the day. So as a first step try to identify things in your life that are essential. Things, activities, people that are important to you, that you love the most. Then try to identify the rest.

Spend more time with things you love, and less time with things that are non-essential. This can change your life because it simplifies your life in general and it helps you to focus on what’s important.

Be kind and friendly

I strongly believe in Karma in a way that friendly and kind people get more back from life itself than grumpy and selfish people. Kindness, being friendly and smiling are habits that can be cultivated. If you focus on it, for example do one kind thing a day (bring some sweet surprise to work, pay for someone else’s coffee at Starbucks, etc), you will notice changes in your life. I believe in the law of Karma and attraction. With being kind you start to attract other kind people and episodes in your life. People will react to you differently and treat you better!

Even if you have some grumpy and negative people in your life – do not let them bring you down to their level. Try to smile and imagine being in a kind of positive cloud that filters negative comments away. You will be surprised about changes in your life if you do this constantly.

Identify your best hours during the day

Start a daily routine and identify what’s the best and productive hours during the day for you. For me, for example, it’s the morning hours before noon where I am at my best and get the most things done. Obama is known to work in the evening hours. Other people work best in the afternoon. Try to create a daily routine with everything – your work, your exercise, your dates with your partner: this will help you to root new habits, and it helps you to focus on what’s important and not whatever comes along your way. Use any app for time-management and a calendar. It helps you to get the most important things done and to eliminate non-efficient things.

 

About the writer: Dr. Mario Lehenbauer-Baum is a Licensed Psychologist, and the founder and director of Thrive in Life Counseling and Therapy LLC, his private practice in Franklin/Nashville, Tennessee. He is a researcher as well as the author of several peer-reviewed papers and book-chapters about internet gaming disorder, internet addiction and anxiety disorders. He offers services in English and German. Dr. Mario Lehenbauer-Baum diagnoses and treats individuals, couples and groups with a wide range of challenges in their lives, such as internet addiction, video game addiction, ADHD, shyness, social anxiety disorder and other anxiety disorders, phobias, diversity, relationship issues, mens issues, career and life challenges, marital and couple issues and other challenges. His research work focuses on “new” technologies, such as online-based social skills trainings as well as the “side effects” of using new technologies, such as addiction.

Mindfulness – be there where you are

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” (Thích Nhất Hạnh)

Since I was a teenager, people where asking me why I appear so relaxed, so grounded, and happy. They’ve been asking me what my secret is. I didn’t know what they were talking about, it seemed natural to me. It’s not a big secret, but I guess, being born with a hearing disability made me automatically more aware of where I am. I didn’t know what my “secret” was until I studied Psychology and came across the concept of “mindfulness”. I found a word for my secret, and I want to share that “secret” of mindfulness with you.

In general, it’s all about the current moment. You have two options to be aware of that moment, let me describe this for you with my current situation:

Option 1: I am stressed; I just delivered the kids to school and decided that I want a coffee at Starbucks. I have to work later; I should drink my coffee in the car.

Option 2: It is 8am in the morning now. I just delivered the kids to school and decided that I want a coffee now. I earned it! Instead of drinking it in the car, I decided to have a seat. I am sitting in the background at Starbuck’s, my laptop on a wooden desk. I am sitting on a metal chair. I see almost ten people, waiting in line for their coffee or breakfast, most of them playing with their phone. I smell freshly brewed coffee, and the perfume of the lady sitting next to me. The coffee smells like… hazelnut? Walnuts? It definitely smells like roasted coffee beans (duh!). The perfume smells like lillies, and jasmine. Maybe like roses? Sipping on my pumpkin spice latte, I can taste the spicy components of my coffee. I can taste (of course!) coffee. It reminds me of my childhood, and brings back warm memories of my mother and grandmother. I can taste some pumpkin spice. It brings back warm memories of being together with friends and family, Thanksgiving. I automatically start to become more happy, thinking of my next thanksgiving, my first one in the US with the family.

What do you think – which option sounds more relaxing? Which option is able – by just reading it – to paint a picture in your head? I bet it is the second option. And that is very much how I live my life. Mindfulness. To be aware of where I am, and to enjoy that very moment. The BIG secret. But what exactly is mindfulness and how can it help you in your life?

Mindfulness (or awareness) is a psychological construct; it comes from (Zen-)Buddhism and there are several definitions of the word. Roughly, it describes an actively watchful mind, combined with special breathing techniques – it is a special kind of mediation. It is widely used in modern psychological interventions (I use it regularly in my own practice). In general, research about mindfulness has a strong connection to positive psychology. Results show that practicing mindfulness can have a strong impact on your brain (after two weeks only); with improvements in your mental health and general happiness.

I am (almost) always aware of where I am. Sometimes I am in a rush too, busy, distressed. But then I try to find a mindfulness moment. A silent moment. To bring me back “to life”, to be aware of my presence, where I am. With this ability you feel like the eye of a tornado; no matter how stormy things are in your life, it is peacefully relaxing in YOUR center within you.

There are several mindfulness techniques in cognitive-behavioral therapy, and some of them are very useful for you to improve your mental health and happiness in general. Just start with one simple exercise and include it in your daily routine (as described in option 2 above):

Instead of rushing through your life, your head full with ideas about the future and the day, your next meetings, kids stuff, your work, the to-do list, and and and .. STOP! Make a break. Right now, no matter where you are. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Be aware of where you are. Where are you at the moment? What are you doing?
  • Start breathing into your stomach. It calms you down automatically.
  • Are you standing, walking or sitting? What are your physical sensations? When you walk: Walk like your feet are kissing the earth. Feel the physical sensation.
  • What do you see around you? Watch the people, what are they doing? What do you hear?
  • Breathe deeply. What can you smell? Do you have any memories connected with that smell?
  • Be aware of where you are. Try to enjoy the moment. Stop phubbing (using your mobile phone) and look around you. Smile at someone. Enjoy the moment.
  • You are here, your presence, and it is the only moment you have – the past is gone, and the future is not here yet.

If you start being aware of where you are and what you are doing, you bring more mindfulness in your life. If you are attentive, you will realize that you find joy in your very current situation, no matter where you are (sitting in a car, in an elevator, waiting in line at Starbucks, etc.). Have fun experimenting with your awareness and including mindfulness in your life. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me via email or leave a comment.

About the writer: Dr. Mario Lehenbauer-Baum is a Licensed Psychologist, and the founder and director of Thrive in Life Counseling and Therapy LLC, his private practice in Franklin/Nashville, Tennessee. He is a researcher as well as the author of several peer-reviewed papers and book-chapters about internet gaming disorder, internet addiction and anxiety disorders. He offers services in English and German. Dr. Mario Lehenbauer-Baum diagnoses and treats individuals, couples and groups with a wide range of challenges in their lives, such as internet addiction, video game addiction, ADHD, shyness, social anxiety disorder and other anxiety disorders, phobias, diversity, relationship issues, mens issues, career and life challenges, marital and couple issues and other challenges. His research work focuses on “new” technologies, such as online-based social skills trainings as well as the “side effects” of using new technologies, such as addiction.