6 Tips for No-Nonsense Mindfulness
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Bart Kloosterhuis - 05/11/2019

6 tips for practicing no-nonsense mindfulness

Mindfulness: these days, you can’t ignore it. For us, it forms the common thread of our mission -  to make a worldwide impact and change the way we connect with each other and ourselves. Our unique mindfulness diary 'Vertellis Chapters' is proof that mindfulness is anything but ‘wishy-washy’ or ‘woo-woo’. What is it? Simple and powerful! Read on to get 6 tips for practicing no-nonsense mindfulness. 

Isn't mindfulness just for people who are burnt out?

Many people associate mindfulness with stress or burnouts. That isn’t surprising, because many GPs and therapists 'prescribe' mindfulness training to people with burnout complaints.

But is mindfulness ONLY meant for people who feel stuck at work or stressed in other areas of life? No, quite the contrary. Mindfulness is for everyone.

Why is mindfulness so important?

Why are we now, more than ever, looking for ways to integrate mindfulness into our lives? Simple: the increase of technology in our daily lives.

These days, we are constantly distracted by screens. We respond to every ‘ding’ and notification on our phones and computers, which according to Mark Tigchelaar (brain expert and author) has reduced our attention span to just 8 seconds. That’s right - EIGHT SECONDS. This leads to less productivity, constant fatigue, and spending our days feeling “busy” versus in a state of flow.

How does practicing mindfulness change that? When you integrate mindfulness into your daily life, you’re rewiring your brain to become less reactive to stress, have more long-lasting focus, and become emotionally aware and resilient. So let's get started!

6 tips for practicing no-nonsense mindfulness

Tip 1: Take a cold shower
Tip 2: Empty your mind
Tip 3: Reflect on your day
Tip 4: Turn off notifications
Tip 5: Eat mindfully
Tip 6: Keep your phone out of the bathroom

Tip 1: Take a cold shower

Let's be honest, taking a hot shower is wonderful (especially in the winter!). But - as a mindfulness exercise - taking a cold shower in the morning is way better. Why?

Cold showers cause short-term stress in the body. If you make cold showers a habit, your brain learns new (better!) ways to respond to stress, and you’ll find you react less strongly to stressful situations throughout your day.

Can’t do a full-on cold shower? Try to end your shower session with a 30 to 60-second blast of cold water. Still too intense? Build up your tolerance to it at your own pace. 

A consolation: the water does not have to be stone-cold, but cold enough that it’s uncomfortable for your body. I won’t go into the hormonal benefits of cold showers now (there are many!), but I’ll save that for a future blog.

Tip 2: Empty your mind

I recommend doing this at least 3 times a week. Think of it as dumping your brain. How do I empty my own mind? I use Vertellis Chapters: a mindfulness journal I created that leaves me more conscious and positive in life. 

Writing down the things that concern me every day has a relaxing effect. While some people prefer to do this as part of a morning or evening routine, I personally don't do this consistently at a fixed time - I write when I feel I need it! This means I always put Chapters in my backpack when I leave the house. 

During my ‘commute’, I hardly look at my phone (I don't even have a data plan, which is a conscious choice). Instead, I look around or write in Vertellis Chapters. Before I go to sleep, I make sure the book is within reach if I have a full head. The result is not only an empty mind but also a better night's sleep. Win-win!

Curious about Vertellis Chapters? You can read more about it HERE

Tip 3: Reflect on your day

What did you experience today? How do you feel about it? What did you learn? What went well and what can you do better or differently tomorrow? These are powerful questions to ask yourself at the end of the day.

Reflecting is good for us for a number of proven reasons:

  1. You give your brain the opportunity to create order in the chaos and learn from your experiences.
  2. It makes you more positive and self-assured.


Don't forget this question: what are you grateful for at the moment? We often tend to reflect on what’s not going well. As you notice what you’re grateful for, you shift your focus to positive events. If you do this often enough, the synapses (the links between the nerve cells) in your brain will form more positive connections. In other words, you become a more optimistic person! 

I recommend reflecting in writing. You can simply use pen and paper or Vertellis Chapters if you want more structure. This book asks you thought-provoking questions, contains inspiring quotes, and invites you to do fun assignments.

If you have a partner and/or child(ren), you can also go through the day together during dinner or just before bedtime. This is a great way to stay connected and learn more about what your loved ones are experiencing on a day-to-day basis. 

Tip 4: Turn off notifications 

Turn off notifications and delegate specific times during the day to check and answer your emails, texts, and other messages. Constant interruptions from email or ‘team chats’ do not make you more productive - they keep you from what you should (and want to) do and prevent you from getting into a good flow. Let your colleagues (or even friends and family) know you’re going to turn off notifications and will respond during delegated times. Maybe you’ll even inspire them to do the same! 

In addition to turning off notifications, I recommend giving yourself chunks of screen-free time during the day. This gives your brain a chance to rest and recover so you can be fresh for your next task. Giving your brain a break also happens during sleep, which is why it’s so important to get a good night’s rest. 

Constant screen-time, especially during the evening, reduces melatonin production - which is the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycles. So, limit your screen time in the evening (I recommend turning off screens an hour before bedtime) and empty your mind before you go to bed. Want more healthy bedtime habits? Check out our blog: Four Tips for Better Sleep.

Tip 5: Eat mindfully 

In other words: don’t eat in front of the TV, behind your laptop, while scrolling through social media, or while you read the newspaper. Be aware of what you taste and enjoy what is on your plate. 

Now - your friends, family, or colleagues may think you’re a little weird if you’re spending the whole meal with your eyes closed, basking in the bliss of flavor. 😆 But you can get them involved!

Tell your table party that you want to do an exercise - call it an experiment or game if you like - and that you would enjoy it if they’d join you. It’s not about everyone being silent for as long as possible. It’s about giving genuine attention to what is tasted and felt. You could even ask each other after the meal: what made the meal delicious, whether there was a taste that jumped out, whether the body indicated something (still hungry or satiated), or how it felt to eat this way. 

Give it a try! 

Tip 6: Keep your phone out of the bathroom

Don’t laugh! This one’s serious. 😉 In addition to being unhygienic (read: a source of bacteria), this is a moment for a short mental break. Nice right?

Try them for yourself!

I hope you’ve enjoyed these six tips for no-nonsense mindfulness. If mindfulness is new for you, give one or two of these a try. Do you like them? Then you can expand even further!

We share more simple (but powerful!) tips for no-nonsense mindfulness in Vertellis Chapters. If you’re interested in making mindfulness part of your lifestyle, this unique journal could be just what you need. 

Good luck! 


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