“Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmental” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

On purpose: it’s more than just being aware. You can be aware of the fact that you’re eating but that doesn’t mean you’re eating mindfully. It is about having the purpose of staying with the experience. And this experience can be anything: breathing, eating, doing the dishes, an emotion, …

In the present moment: the mind tends to wander. We get lost in our thoughts and very often these thoughts are about the past or the future. In mindfulness we try to notice what’s going on in the present, right now. And it’s possible that you’ll notice you’re in the past…

Non-judgmental: it’s about accepting whatever arises and observing it mindfully. When you notice ‘anger’, notice there is anger instead of ‘pushing it away’ because it’s not the ‘appropriate’ feeling to have right now… If you observe pain, stay with the pain… If you notice certain thought patterns: look at them mindfully…

After experiencing a lot of positive effects from his Buddhist practice, Jon Kabat-Zinn came up with an 8-week-programmes in 1979: MBSR (=Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction). Originally it was created to help people suffering from pain, but it was quickly opened up to people suffering from stress in general.

Afterwards MBCT (=Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) was developed, specializing in helping people suffering from depression.

In both programmes you meet once a week, for 2,5 – 3 hours and you are given mediations and exercises to enable you to access your own resources for responding more effectively to stress, pain and illness.

Formal practice vs. non-formal practice:
Formal practiceMeditations like the bodyscan, focus on the breathing…

Informal practice:

  • When waking up: while still in bed, before getting up: notice your breathing
  • Shower: feel the water on your skin, notice the temperature, smell the soap,…
  • Meal: take your time, smell and ‘explore’ your food: taste, texture, …
  • While standing in front of a red light: be aware of your bodily sensations, relax your shoulders
  • A couple of times a day: take a ‘3-minute break’
  • Monotasking..


  • Wherever you go, there you are: mindfulness meditation in everyday life – Jon Kabat-Zinn (=introduction to the concept, short texts of 1 to 1,5 page(s))
  • Full catastrophe living. How to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation – Jon Kabat-Zinn (=very complete and into depth)

Free recordings of formal meditations:

Articles on Mindfulness at work:
Financial times: here

If you want to find it all in one place: theory, practice, meditations – I’ve created this product, especially for you!

The Truth about Mindfulness  – Find out more here!



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Heart Coherence


It is a breathing method that is claimed to facilitate circulation and autonomic nervous system balance. It involves breathing at the nominal rate of x (find out exact number in instructions below!) breaths per minute with equal inhalation and exhalation. It also increases heart rate variability and brings it into coherence, but here we are more interested in the calming effect. Your autonomic nervous system has 2 branches: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. The sympathetic is also considered the ‘fight or flight’ system. It’s the one that ‘prepares’ your body to deal with ‘danger’. The parasympathetic nervous system is ‘rest and digest’. It calms the body down, after it has ‘dealt with the danger’.

Why here?

As mentioned above: it can calm you down. Besides, when used on a regular basis, it can have a lasting effect on your stress resistance.

Use in stress management: when you are very stressed, breathing like this can calm you down. It is even said that, if you can start breathing like this at the very beginning of noticing the ‘fight or flight’ reaction, you can actually stop it. And, as mentioned above: when done on a regular basis (eg. 10 minutes twice a day), it can make you more stress resistant.

Use in assertiveness: to keep calm in difficult situations, when dealing with aggressive and manipulative behaviour, to enable you to keep the win/win, OK/OK attitude, to stay calm when somebody pushes your button.


The instructions below are based on those explained by David O’Hare in the book below. His full programme is 9 weeks:

  • Week 1 – 3: From chaos to heart coherence
  • Week 4 – 6: From heart coherence to emotional coherence
  • Week 7 – 9: From emotional coherence to food coherence

The info I share here is linked to the first part. If you are also interested in the rest, I definitely recommend checking out his book.

Since it’s important to only move to the next level, when you’ve really mastered the previous one (and since people are curious by nature), I’ve separated the instructions for the 3 weeks in 3 different documents. These are the instructions:

Heart coherence week 1

Heart coherence week 2

Heart coherence week 3

More info?


Dr David O’Hare: Slanker met je hartritme (NL) or Maigrir par la cohérence cardiaque (FR). It doesn’t exist in EN

Dr David Servan-Schreiber: Healing without Freud or Prozac (EN). The book exists in many languages.


www.coherencecardiaque.org (FR)

www.heartmath.com (EN)


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