A Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness: Living Mindfully

What is mindfulness exactly? How is it different from mindfulness meditation? Why is it good for you? And how to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life and travels? What is my relation and experience with mindfulness? Read the answers on these questions and more, in this beginner’s guide to mindfulness.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the act of being present in the here and now. It is the art of accepting whatever is and comes your way, and being less reactive. Mindfulness allows you to tune in with this moment and fully experience it, with all your senses.

Although there are various mindfulness meditation practices, mindfulness itself is merely the act of being present in the here and now. If you notice your thoughts wandering off while you rather want to be present, and you bring yourself back, then that’s an act of mindfulness: shifting your focus & attention to this moment.

Whereas mindfulness can be done at any time or moment or activity, it is useful to do a mindfulness course and practise these various exercises and meditations to learn techniques on how to bring your awareness back into the present moment.

In my upcoming 10-day course about self-growth, you will learn the basics of mindfulness meditation, along with other meditation practices that will improve your ability to focus, be present, happier, healthier, and get closer to that beautiful version inside yourself, your best self. Find more information about what the course contains right here.

What are the benefits of mindfulness?

Mindfulness helps relieve stress, improve your focus, regulate your emotions, improve your mental & physical health, improve your sleep, decrease levels of stress and anxiety, calm feelings of pain or dis-ease, and much more.

For those of you who don’t know my story yet: mindfulness has drastically improved and transformed my life. I got dragged into a mindfulness class while I was on pills, prescribed to “kill the pain, “stop my anxiety” and “calm my mind down”. However, a lot of awful side effects and pills later, I realised there is no pill to cure your mind. In fact, there is nothing to cure. Only to accept. And with mindfulness, you learn exactly that: to accept whatever you feel, experience, smell, hear, taste, see. And witness it without judgement, but with curiosity and openness.

The benefits that I have experienced are endless, but to sum it up: it cured my anxiety, healed my physical diseases, and improved my overall quality of life. By that, I mean I went from being anxious, unfulfilled, always overthinking, living in my head (and mostly in the future), to: being present, in the here and now, knowing how to deal with anxiety when it arrives (barely anymore), being more happy, less stressed, less worried, and more accepting of whatever comes my way. It helped me grow in ways I cannot even comprehend and it has changed my life completely.

How can you bring it into your daily life?

You can bring mindfulness into your daily life by practising mindfulness meditation. There are various courses and programs online and on meditation apps.

1. Set your intention: become aware of why you want to practice it

What has driven you to become more present in life? Is it a problem you are struggling with, a challenge you are facing? Or is it merely curiosity or a desire to become more calm and less reactive? There are many, many benefits of mindfulness, scientifically proven to improve your mental and physical health. Before you start looking on the outside, to those benefits, begin to look on the inside, to what you really need right now.

2. Start small. Mindfulness is to be found right now.

Do not worry or think too much about living mindfully, because then you are doing the exact opposite. If you want to start living more mindful and aware and present, begin right here and right now. This is the only moment we have and right now is the only time we can take action.

In my upcoming course, I take you on a journey through the basics of meditation and mindfulness into a process of self-growth which even reaches eliminating limiting beliefs, anxiety, improving your mindset, practising self-love and much more. And the basics of all that is to be present. To tune in with yourself and your body. To really notice what you feel.

Breath work is an essential part of being conscious and aware. To be with our breath, is to really feel alive. So, here are some exercises to try out to focus on being present:

  • Hand Practice: place your left hand in front of you. Take your right finger and run it over your left hand’s fingers. While going up, breathe in. While going down, breath out. Follow the rhythm of your normal breath and don’t try to force it or change it in any way.
  • Breath Awareness: Sit still and notice your breathing, for as long as you want
  • Breath Counting: Sit still and start counting your breaths from 1-5. If you lose counts, start over
  • Body Scan: Lay down and scan your body from head to toe. Welcome every sensation that might arrive and when your attention drifts or you fall asleep and come back, just continue the practice.

In the 10-day self-growth course, we will explore these meditations together. Besides the video material and workbook, you will have guided meditations at your disposal, made & recorded by me. Subscribe here.

When I started out mindfulness, I got dragged to the case by my dad. I was suffering from anxiety, he wasn’t suffering from anything but curiosity and a willingness to explore something new. “Mindfulness really is something we can all use, no matter if you have a problem or not. It’s not a quick fix to a problem, because you won’t see the results until after weeks, maybe even months. It’s a way of life that we can all incorporate to enjoy life to the fullest and seize every moment.” Those were the words of my father when I asked him about why he participated in this course, for the second time even.

After this journey of practising it for almost 5 years, from when I was 17, I have discovered that mindful living is more than just a mediation practice or a “something new” to try out once in a while. It is a lifestyle, it is enjoying and tasting life and just putting your focus and attention to the here and now, instead of drifting off in your thoughts or scrolling endlessly on your phone. Distractions come to us in many ways these days, and it can be hard to keep our focus. Be gentle and kind towards yourself and give yourself the time to adapt to a mindful life. It will improve your overall health, quality and appreciation of life.

If you’ve made it until the end of this blogpost, it means you are ready to take the next step in mindful living. My newest course about self-growth & transformation, with mindfulness and meditation as leading forces, is out now. Claim your 50% discount now.

20 Apps to Boost Your Self-Growth

You ask, you shall receive! I often share handy apps on my Instagram account – apps that help me grow, that inspire me & are deeply rooted in my daily life. After a while, you guys really wanted me to share these apps once and for all – so here it is, my list of holy apps that helped me in my journey of self-growth, spirituality & health.

I linked the names of the apps to the Apple Store for your convenience! This is not sponsored in any way, just a fan!

Personal growth
Shine

Having Shine is like having your own personal mental health coach at one touch. You get a daily Shine, or a check-in, featuring a new subject every weekday and an attached guided meditation + extra tools, such as: journalling, being grateful, checking in on your mood, etc.

Besides that, there is also the Shine community, where you are surrounded with like-minded people and can discuss the daily topic.

You unlock many more features with a Premium subscription, and they often have great limited deals on their paid, yearly subscriptions.

Happiness Planner

The Happiness Planner has become a part of my daily ritual. I love planning, and this app makes it easy and beautiful, plus you can sync it with the desktop version totally for free. Again, if you’d like to unlock extra features, be sure to upgrade.

Sanity & Self

Sanity & Self is your base for self-care and exclusive help and chats with experts. It offers mediations, podcasts, interesting reads and always someone who can help you & you can count on. However, the free content is very limited, so you’d be better off upgrading to the paid version.

Mindventure

Mindventure takes you on a journey through your own inner world. Plan and keep track of your habits, your day, your goals, on a unique way, on your own “road” towards becoming your best self. Like the word venture says, it’s a journey, an adventure through your life. The concept is very unique, fun and out-of-the box! Again, totally for free.

Mindvalley

Mindvalley is my favourite personal growth resource. I learned so much with their free masterclasses and interesting videos. Their app offers quests, which are about all kinds of subjects that have to do with personal growth and taught by many experts in the field.

Again, choose your fields of interest in which you want to learn more or improve and voila! Mindvalley often offers huge discounts on yearly packages of unlimited content, so keep an eye on those if you can’t get enough of it.

This is also a perfect part of your morning routine if you follow the move-reflect-grow method during your first hour of the day. Their quests are 20 min long. Perfect timing!

Remente

Remente was actually my very first self-care app I ever downloaded. Honestly? It was like coaching. It had a huge impact in my life and it got me started on the first steps of my self-growth journey. Fill in your wheel of life and update it regularly, check in with yourself daily and learn from lots of recourses and tools for you to work on yourself. The fun thing is they have resources themselves which are integrated within your profile. For example: if you start a 7-day course on becoming more fit, you will see the course on your to-do list every day for the next 7 days (unless you change it).

I immediately tried out their premium subscription to unlock the content, and as it was only around €30 for a whole year, I found that to be a great investment.

Meditation
Insight Timer

Insight Timer is the biggest meditation library. There are more people on this meditation app than all the others (Calm, Mindbliss,…) combined. That is for a good reason: there is so much content, so many experts, so many themes, and guided meditations. I also love their Sleep tool and their Timer. It’s for free, and you can upgrade to receive offline meditations, unlock courses, and use their advanced player which allows you to repeat or fast forward a track.

Breethe

Just the fact that this app has a soothing background music while opened, puts it high on my list! Besides that, this app let you choose your main goals you want to reach through mediation and then gives you the right content to reach them.

Oak

Oak is a great app to try out breathing exercises. Their free application offers themed meditations and breathing exercises to focus, calm or become awake. I often use their “Awake” breathing exercise during the day instead of a coffee. And I promise you, it works! You also earn fun badges the more sessions you do, which is a nice motivation.

Balance

Balance is the perfect app if you’re looking for personalised meditations. This app adapts to your level, preferences, and experience and utilises its algorithm to improve your meditation skills. I fell in love with it the first time I used it, and I also got hooked on their personalised 10-days programs, which motivates you to finish it and then hop on to a higher level. Again, this is totally for free – they had a free year of premium subscription during Covid-19.

Simple Habit

Simple Habit is a perfect meditation app if you’re in need of quick meditations at nay point during the day.

It has a super easy tool called “on the go’ which allows you to quickly tap on a theme you’d like to tackle right now – After Work, SOS, Taking A Break,…and you can adapt the time from 5-20 minutes.

It has helped me a lot during commuting, a break at work or just a quick break in between handling tasks.

Spirituality
Pattern

Pattern gives you insights based on your horoscope. The fun thing about it is: you get daily “patterns” – that are accurately true – and you can connect with Facebook to see the pattern between you and your friends. You learn about things you have in common, how your relationship looks like, and more fun & interesting facts and tips.

Moonly

Moonly is a beautiful app for all the spiritual goddesses out there. It offers your personal spiritual guidance, affirmations, runes, daily horoscope and more.

It comes in very handy as it gives you access to all your daily spiritual practices, all in one app!

It starts out free, but to unlock more features you have to upgrade to a paid subscription.

MOON

Moon is a very simple, aesthetic and accurate app about the moon cycle & phase. It’s great to count down the days until a full moon and it offers a great view of the moon & the stars.

Soulvana

Soulvana by Mindvalley is the resource to broaden your spiritual horizons, learn more about several themes & surround yourself by like-minded people, your soul tribe.

Health
Flo

This one is for the ladies. Flo tracks, predicts & supports your monthly cycle in a way that no app can – with courses, a community, secret chats & even a medical chat when you log certain symptoms. it is totally free, but there is a way to be included in the Premium subscription.

AYD – Ashtanga Yoga Days

This app is for the yogis out there! More specifically, Ashtanga Yogis! This app allows you to log your yoga sessions and its so detailed you can even log which pose precisely you did and how your balance, flexibility and effort was. You’re immediately part of a community and you see who had practiced today as well.

Zero

This is for the fasting people! Zero is a informative tracker that helps you to keep track of your fasting and provides important facts and information.

Books
Blinkist

Blinkist is the perfect tool if you’re short on time and big on book cravings! You can choose to either read or listen to your favourite book. I find it helpful to read informative books. Although I like to los myself in a book, sometimes it’s nice to immediately get the lesson out of it. Again, there is a paid version which allows you to unlock more content.

Charity
ShareTheMeal

ShareTheMeal is a great initiative that allows you to support all sorts of projects of the United Nations World Food Programme.

You can choose between which project you want to support or you can start a subscription and choose freely any amount.

The beautiful thing about this app is that you see how many families you have fed with your contributions and how many meals you have provided.

You can follow the whole process through the app – how these persons receive your contributions, what they bought with it and how they bought it.

I hope these apps will help you in growing and learning new things everyday. Remember that it’s important to take care of yourself. It doesn’t always mean eat snacks or get a manicure: sometimes you need to dig deeper and have a nice chat with someone. Especially during these challenging times, it is normal to want some support and guidance along the way.

These apps are not just apps on a phone: there are experts behind creating the content in a way that serves your wellbeing and that of others.

Furthermore, as your favourite life coach & travel coach, I am always there for you. Learn more about my coaching here. You can schedule a free intake interview with me here.