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Professor Dr. Petra Jansen, chair of sports science at the University of Regensburg, talks about how to control one's feelings with mindfulness, how to reach his goals and why the glass ceiling really exists. Professor Dr. Petra Jansen studied at the Johannes GutenbergUniversity in Mainz, anthropology, ethnology, Psychology and mathematics before she did her doctorate in general psychology in 1999 at the Gerhard-Mercator University in Duisburg on the topic "Cognition of distances". In 2005 she habilitated at the Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf in experimental psychology with the topic "Development of spatial knowledge". In 2008 she also completed further training in dance therapy at the Westfälische-Wilhelms-Universität Münster. Since 2008 she has held the chair for sports science at the University of Regensburg. Her research focuses on investigating the relationship between motor skills, emotion and cognition, including a neuroscientific Perspektive. Her research work has been funded in several projects by the German Research Foundation and has been published in over 120 peer-reviewed journal articles to date. Her Future sees you exploring the integration of heart and mind. prof Dr. Petra Jansen is Mother of three adult children.

Mrs. Prof. Dr. Jansen, please briefly change your field of research.

For a long time, my main interest was the study of cognitive processes People. Cognition includes the processes of perception, language, thinking, problem solving and e.g. B. also the processing of spatial Information.

In particular, I was interested in studying the influence of movement on cognition as well as possible gender differences in cognitive abilities. Today, I am increasingly exploring the connection between body, cognition, and emotion within the context of embodiment research and the influence of mindfulness-based training.

Can emotions be effectively controlled at all?

emotions can be regulated. Please introduce a small child to the cash register. He sees all the candy and may start screaming because he wants it. Even an adult can hardly calm the child.

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The ability to regulate emotions is not as well developed in the young child, but adults have mostly acquired the ability if you want something to react appropriately.

And what is more important: the IQ or the EQ?

First of all, the IQ is the theoretical that has been scientifically studied for a long time Concept. It is certainly undisputed that the IQ is essential for solving cognitive Tasks is. However, Checa and Fernandez-Berrocal (2015) were able to show that emotional Competencies important for human cognitive control. There are mutual influences, which are nicely summed up in a recent review by Okon-Singer and colleagues (2015): “Stress, anxiety and other kinds of emotion can profoundly influence key elements of cognition, including selective attention, working memory, and cognitive control. […] In turn, circuits involved in attention, executive control, and working memory contribute to the regulation of emotion.” I think it would be good to move from an "either-or" perspective to an "and-also" perspective.

In recent times, there are always criticisms of mindfulness, eg by the feminist Laurie Penny or even in Connect to Silicon Valley, What do you think of criticism of mindfulness?

The criticism relates in the first Article in my opinion more on the “trend towards Self love”, whereby the author in the end self-care into Conversation brings and in the second article more on mindfulness as a kind of diet from the digital Welt.

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In my opinion, neither describes mindfulness aptly. In my Eyes mindfulness means being aware in the present moment. I cannot find anything critical about this striving; with the awareness I think it's important to be where you are Objective for every human. What I find critical is that many people feel they need to do yoga, meditate, or attend mindfulness seminars. For me, mindfulness refers - and I emphasize for myself - in addition to being present in the moment, to finding your own way of life that suits you, it is a step towards self-love. Self-love has nothing to do with wellness at all, but with recognizing and appreciating your own life. And I completely agree with Laurie Penny that, for example, the way to self-love for socially disadvantaged people is not via "self-love seminars", but rather initially through thoughts on changing the social situation.

In my opinion, we give far too little consideration to the individuality of the individual. People differ individually in their emotional, cognitive, physical and spiritual development and of course also in their social situation and cultural integration. Mindfulness means to include these facets and to be present from this situation. It is clearthat here the ways are different and that not everyone can be on the way, perhaps because they are involved in a stressful social situation. That too must be accepted.

There is a lot of criticism of digital media. Is cell phone and internet consumption less mindful? And what about newer technologies like augmented and virtual reality?

There are reliable studies regarding the disruptive effect of using Jandy on the road, not only when driving but also as a pedestrian. In general, using cell phones while we are performing a cognitive task draws our attention away from the cognitive task and Performance then becomes worse in this task. A recent study has even shown that the auditory signal alone that a message (voice call or SMS) has arrived disturbs attention without the mobile phone being used directly. From a scientific point of view, it has been shown that cell phone use draws attention away. It is a great challenge and very difficult to examine this from a societal perspective. So it would have to be answered what it means that we are in a Society live who has learned to be easily distracted. It is probably for this reason that the longing for a mindful life in the present moment is very great.

There are numerous studies regarding augmented and virtual reality positive effect in the Education, in training and also in rehabilitation. In my opinion, there are still no studies examining the influence of Technology on the Brain prove. This is also methodologically clean and, in my opinion, not easy to examine ethically.

Is mindfulness also able to achieve goals? What strategy do you recommend to people when it comes to achieving goals?

According to my colleague Britta Hölzel from Munich and her colleagues (2011), mindfulness affects: a) the regulation of attention, b) body awareness, c) the regulation of feelings through the perception and non-evaluation of the feelings that arise and d) the change of one's own self. Since the ability to regulate attention is a basic component of achieving goals, the exercise of mindfulness at this point. Many coaches also advertise with it. However, in my opinion, there are no studies that actually prove this with the help of a controlled pre-post test design and a control group.

I personally recommend that people who want to achieve their goals first look within themselves to see what their real goals are and what they really want to achieve. Sometimes this is very difficult to separate from the expectations of the environment. The psychologist in me is definitely speaking here. Then setting realistic goals is just as important as that Background order and accepting setbacks.

As far as career goals are concerned, women are often talking about a glass ceiling. Can you confirm that or not?

In January 2016 was the share of Professor4% at German universities in a C3/W17.3 professorship, and it has grown continuously since 1994 - averaged across all salary groups from 7,5% to 21,3%. These numbers certainly speak for themselves. Progress is taking place - but slowly. A Problem is that the young scientists cannot be appointed to their own university after their habilitation. Even if this is very important from a scientific point of view useful is, it is of course difficult from a family point of view.

And how do their own experiences as women and mothers look like?

My very personal Opinions to the glass ceiling is, "YES - they exist". But perhaps not only in relation to gender but rather to the human characteristics of authenticity, transparency and honesty. In my initial naivety, I thought that universities were about the pure value of knowledge. It was only slowly that I realized how much university life is shaped by power and political behavior – and since there are so many men in the leading position there, from the male claim to power.

Personally, I think that's a shame and doesn't make much sense. If I've ever said something, I've been told I'm being too pointed. Actually this is one compliment, but it seems to be an undesired property. I am now concentrating very much on my work at my chair. There I can convey the values ​​of sincerity and authenticity that are important to me. And for that I am very grateful.

How do you create a professorship in a conservative science company?

As it turned out, this was not as easy as I had imagined - especially not the move from North Rhine-Westphalia to Bavaria. The children, in particular, initially had difficulties at school, but these then changed again. And then the pitying looks of my colleagues - “How are you alone with the children? - But I'm sorry ”. I did not know how to classify this statement, as I was used to it from NRW that it did not surprise anyone.

Also the organization of job and Education naturally placed high demands on me: on the one hand, the children needed more attention due to the move, on the other hand, a chair had to be set up in a subject that was foreign to me.

I think there are only three things that enable one to achieve this: 1) a great love for the children, 2) a great passion for science and 3) a lot of strength and resilience.

What do you advise young mothers who are looking for a scientific career?

For me, the answer is simple: There are two factors that I mentioned above that can make this work well: unconditional love for the children and passion for science. When you feel that, there is no other Choice and everything else can be done somehow to organize, even better today than 25 years ago.

I wish all the young parents in science that you have bosses and bosses who will give them the freedom to work when you want. The most important thing from a professional point of view is the performance and the well-being of the employees and not the place and time of the work.

Speaking of new forms of work: celebrities like TV star Manuel Andrack or LinkedIn founder Konstantin Guericke do a part of their work while hiking and keep the movement for creativity and productivity.

Can you confirm that?

There is evidence that movement affects the so-called executives Features, which means the working memory, the ability to inhibit and the cognitive flexibility has a positive influence and also on the visual-spatial Intelligence, i.e. the ability to mentally imagine things upside down (Jansen and Richter, 2016). These are basic cognitive skills that are also essential for the creativity are.

In a study by Atchley, Strayer and Atchley (2012), it has been shown that hiking in nature has been creativity-promoting. However, the authors contend that they can not say exactly how far this influence is due to the abandonment of mobile phones and other digital media.

Do people under pressure feel better and more productively, or should they be more relaxed?

This is a very difficult question because it does not define exactly what better means. More effective? Happier? More quickly? More accurate? Certainly you need a certain amount of arousal, that is, activation to be productive. Then, for example, in sports there are many theories that deal with what the right amount of arousal is.

There are the theories that say there is an optimal zone of performance or the theory that there is a certain point at which there is practically too much arousal and alsoAnxiety” and the performance deteriorates. In sport there is also the phenomenon of "choking under pressure", which means that you cannot perform under pressure. Psychological regulation techniques and a relaxed attitude can help here. A highly recommended book is ""Choke"" by Sian Beilock.

How do you define happiness or flow at all?

Differentiating the term happiness is certainly difficult. Esch (2011, pp. 169-171) lists 31 keywords for the Term of happiness (from “bliss”, “coherence” to “wellness”). In general, a distinction can be made between hedonistic and eudaemonic happiness. While hedonistic happiness refers to the assessment of one's own life, including the associated happy emotions, eudaemonistic happiness means a happy life through adhering to certain values ​​that lead to a fulfilling life in the long term.

Thus, eudaemonic happiness includes the factors of self-efficacy, personal development, social connectedness, and Significancethat the individual has for society. Tobias Esch distinguishes between a lucky type A, B, C. The lucky type gets their happiness more from the fulfillment of an anticipated achievement, the lucky type B from the avoidance of unfortunate situations and the lucky type C, for example, when they can act caring. Depending on the different happiness type, different brain areas are activated.

Flow (Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000) is a state of consciousness, flowing without thoughts or emotions, flow can be described on the axes of the challenge and the skill Challenge is high.

Which sport would you recommend to increase flow, happiness and productivity?

We recently conducted a systematic review on this topic and found that there are basically very few scientific studies that investigate this in a design with a pre- and post-test, a control group and random assignment of the test subjects to the groups have. The sporting interventions that made people happy differed greatly: Yoga groups had a positive effect, interventions focused on strength, stretching and Endurance included.

Researchers are trying to find out which mechanisms are responsible for happiness. One mechanism of action is the release of neurotransmitters, the messenger substances that are active in the transmission of stimuli from one nerve cell to the other. Here the endocannabinoids play an important role as neurotransmitters. However, these are only detectable from a higher load range, so a sport that would make the individual sweat would be recommended. Of course, we also know that a yoga class can make you “happy”. Perhaps too little research has so far dealt with the different physiological mechanisms of action of sport in relation to hedonistic and eudaemic happiness.

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