Dare to be at leisure

For a long time, illnesses of the psyche were considered taboo, a personal failure. While we visit a doctor as a matter of course with a broken arm, we try to restore our mental balance on our own. However, this only works moderately.

Focus on gut health

We constantly have too little of it and the uneasy feeling that we are always one step behind it – time, which is grotesque because technical aids and growing mobility should actually have the exact opposite effect. Nevertheless, we are stressed. In many cases, work takes precedence over everything else and has become the (only) purpose of life for many people. Having lots of meetings gives us the feeling of being needed, of being important. Being permanently busy is an indicator of success, overwork is a matter of prestige, burn-out has become socially acceptable. And it is only a logical consequence of this that our existence is too one-sided. Burn-out doesn’t come from too much work, it comes from too little life.

Objectively speaking, we have never been as well off as we are today. Life expectancy is increasing, as is the standard of living, yet mental illness is on the rise. The coronavirus pandemic has reinforced this trend because many find it difficult to cope with being forced to reflect on themselves. In addition, the irritation threshold has dropped over the past months, and the feeling of powerlessness in the face of external circumstances has also thrown some people off track. Have we forgotten how to be enough for ourselves? Yes, believes Dr Peter Gartner, head physician at Park Igls: “I often have to explicitly prescribe doing nothing for my guests during their stay.” But some boredom is actually good for body and soul. Laughter, too, by the way.


Nevertheless, we live in a meritocracy. Already in childhood, we are trained for performance, and as a result, even in adulthood, our real inner goals are often replaced by extrinsic status goals. Every day we have countless decisions to make, even if it’s just choosing the yoghurt on the supermarket shelf. Permanent accessibility through smartphones, laptops and tablets, the overflowing necessity of data processing, the pressure to have to function at work and the constant availability of information directly seduce us to becoming overloaded.

The entry of bacteria into the intestine

For a long time, illnesses of the psyche were considered a taboo, a personal failure. While we visit a doctor as a matter of course with a broken arm, we try to restore our mental balance on our own. However, this works only to a limited extent. With the emergence of the term burn-out, this has changed: Those who burn out must have previously been burning for something, that is, they must have worked diligently, productively and devotedly on something. Burn-out is still not chic, but it has made it much easier to address and talk about mental health problems. Regardless of this, the pressure of suffering is already very high for many when they decide to accept professional help.

At the Park Igls Health Center – in keeping with its name – the focus is on health, both physical and psychological. The focus is on healthy nutrition, conscious exercise and profound regeneration, combined with traditional early diagnostics according to F. X. Mayr and the latest conventional medical methods. Modern Mayr treatment cleanses the body and mind and strengthens the immune system. In combination with targeted and conscious tension and relaxation phases as well as various therapy offers and special programmes, the aim is to regain one’s (mental) balance.

Thomas Blasbichler

Modern Mayr-Medicine

Modern Mayr-Medicine cleanses the body and mind and strengthens the immune system. In combination with targeted and conscious tension and relaxation phases as well as various therapy offers and special programmes, the aim is to regain one’s (mental) balance. “De-Stress“, for example, is an explicit prophylaxis programme to prevent burn-out. With appropriate coaching, movement and relaxation exercises as well as coordinated forms of treatment such as cranio-sacral therapies, heat packs and massages, blockages are released and regeneration is promoted.

But even during a classic F. X. Mayr cure, people are increasingly opting for a consultation with a psychologist, observes Thomas Blasbichler (MA). “In the context of a treatment stay, the inhibition threshold can definitely decrease. ‘While you’re there’, in addition to working on the body, you can also look into the soul”, says Blasbichler, a psychologist at Park Igls. “In many cases, this happens more or less automatically, because it’s usually the body that first makes itself known before the psyche does: with sleep and digestive problems, for example, or circulatory problems or shortness of breath.”

Stress, give me a break

Stress leads, among other things, to an increased release of the signalling substance interleukin 6, which can lead to inflammation or an increase in blood sugar levels, diabetes over a longer period of time and, through the increased release of the stress hormone cortisol, can promote obesity. Increased adrenaline production also puts the body on constant alert. This manifests itself, for example, in an increased heart rate, dilated airways, increased blood pressure and inhibited digestion. In dangerous situations, this makes sense in the short term, but in the long run it does more harm than good.

The causes of physical complaints therefore often lie in the psyche. Allowing yourself regular time-outs, consciously taking time out of everyday life, reflecting on eating habits, exercising – preferably in the fresh air – and above all getting enough sleep, is not only good for the body, but also for the mind. And because one is generally a little more thin-skinned in the context of a treatment stay, it is often easier to look into one’s own soul life in this environment than outside. We asked Thomas Blasbichler a few questions.

Thomas Blasbichler (MA): We understand burn-out as a deep psychological and physical state of exhaustion that can be attributed to excessive demands in a professional context. Even though burnout has become a fashionable diagnosis nowadays, it is not listed as an independent disease term in the international classification system of medical diagnoses (ICD-11). Here, burnout is defined as an occupational phenomenon related to environmental conditions such as lack of resources with excessive workload. Subsequently, however, it can develop into depression or an anxiety disorder, for example. Burn-out is described as a process that takes place in different phases. Initially, attempts are made to achieve set goals with excessive ambition and disregard for one’s own and company resources, idealism and neglect of personal needs. Emerging conflicts and the disregard for personal needs are suppressed and denied. Affected people are no longer able to recover, are frustrated and become “blunt”, so to speak. The willingness to perform changes and motivation tips over into an attitude of entitlement, reduced commitment, difficulty concentrating, loss of performance, cynicism or a negative attitude to work.

This is followed by emotional reactions that can occur in different ways: Pessimism, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, self-esteem problems or feelings of inner emptiness on the one hand, or aggressiveness towards the environment on the other, which expresses itself in moodiness, irritability, impatience or anger. A vicious circle begins and cognitive performance declines, which in turn increase the emotional stress. Social withdrawal as well as physical complaints such as sleep disorders, headaches, digestive problems or increased blood pressure can be the result. In contrast, bore-out is a condition in which people are chronically bored or underchallenged to such an extent that they experience enormous stress as a result. The stress due to permanent under-demand and experienced meaninglessness leads to symptoms similar to those of burn-out: exhaustion, dissatisfaction, dejection, listlessness or physical complaints. An optimal activation level of challenge and performance in the professional context, the experience of meaningfulness and satisfaction can therefore prevent the development of serious complaints.

Seeking professional help such as psychological treatment or psychotherapy is recommended for stresses in the personal and professional sphere that have a lasting impact on our quality of life over a longer period of time. With health promotion measures such as building strategies to deal with stress, learning relaxation exercises, pleasure training or awareness and fulfilment of one’s own needs, values, limits and resources, our health can be maintained.

The development of stress-related diseases is multicausal. We start from a biopsychosocial model and explain the development of a disease through the interaction of body, psyche, social and environmental factors. Excessive demands on oneself, irrational attitudes (“I must not make mistakes”, “I must not allow myself breaks”), dysfunctional beliefs (“I am a failure”), negative learning and relationship experiences can contribute to the inability to meet stress-related environmental demands. There is an imbalance between demands and resources, which leads to a vicious circle.

Mental health problems can occur at any age. Depending on the respective requirements, contextual conditions and stresses, they express themselves differently. The most common mental illnesses are depression, anxiety disorders, pain disorders and addictions. According to studies, one in three to one in four adults suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lives. Mental illness is diagnosed more often in young adults (up to mid-30s), and neurological illnesses such as dementia increase rapidly in old age.

Overall, studies show a higher rate of mental illness among women. While women suffer more often from depression, anxiety disorders and physical complaints due to psychological stress, substance abuse and dependence is more common among men. Women perceive signals from their bodies more sensitively, while men often “push through it”, where beliefs such as “a man knows no pain” or “a man has no fear” also play a major role. However, delaying psychological or even psychosomatic reactions only increases the pressure of suffering.

Yes, happiness can be learned. We distinguish between short-term happiness, such as experiencing positive feelings like joy, anticipation, a great encounter, a good conversation, medium-term happiness like contentment or gratitude, and long-term happiness. This includes values such as faith, optimism, trust and also well-being. The social environment plays a major role in happiness: if you spend time with people who have a positive attitude and are, so to speak, “in a good mood”, your own sense of happiness is also strengthened.

If you surround yourself with people who see everything negatively, who are pessimistic and only criticise and “complain”, this is also infectious. If one searches for a definition of happiness, then happiness is the stringing together or sum of moments of happiness. It is the moments that make us happy. So, even if they are only small moments of happiness, we consciously notice them and collect them carefully, because you can always fall back on them.

AuthorMarina Bernardi
Editor-in-chief of the magazine “Eco.nova”