Your toolkit for more balance

Welcome to your Toolkit for More Balance. On this page you will find a collection of practical exercises and inspiration to help you reduce stress and find more balance in your life. Regular practice of mindfulness and meditation can increase your awareness, strengthen your resilience and improve your overall well-being. These simple techniques can support you in coping better with daily challenges, improving your concentration and finding inner peace. Whether you need moments of relaxation, ways to reduce stress, or are just curious about the benefits of mindfulness, this toolkit is at your disposal. Take some time to explore the different exercises and discover what suits you best.

The 5-4-3-2-1 exercise

The 5-4-3-2-1 mindfulness exercise is a simple but effective technique to help you get into the here and now. By using your senses and focusing on what you see, hear, feel, smell and taste, you can take yourself out of your mind and focus on the present moment. This exercise can help reduce stress, ease your anxiety and promote a sense of calm and clarity. By practicing regularly, you can increase your awareness and experience a deeper sense of connection with yourself and your environment.

✅ Notice 5 things you can see around you 👀

✅ Notice 4 things you can feel/touch 🫳🏻

✅ Notice 3 things you can hear 👂

✅ Notice 2 things you can smell 👃

✅ Notice 1 thing you can taste 👄

The 2-minute-escape 🌴

Do you want to get out of the hustle and bustle of the day or your brooding thoughts for a very short time and don’t have much time? Then listen to this recorded meditation in which you calm down by focusing on your breathing.

Mindfulness anchor

This exercise is an excellent introduction to mindfulness. Using an anchor is especially helpful for those who would like to practice mindfulness more often, but struggle to make time for it in the hustle and bustle of the day.

The mindfulness anchor exercise is based on a simple psychological mechanism. You pair a new thought or activity with an existing habit (the “anchor”), making it easier to stick with this new habit. It goes like this:

Step 1
Choose an everyday activity, such as brushing your teeth, making coffee, sitting at your desk or tying your laces. Make this routine a reminder to do the activity with full attention. This will be your ‘anchor’
Step 2
Each time you perform the task, take a short break. You can close your eyes for a moment and take three conscious breaths. Then continue what you are doing, but do it with full attention. That is, consciously try to keep your attention on the activity. Whenever your thoughts drift, notice it and let them come back to what you are doing. Try to be fully present.
Step 3
You can also give yourself a challenge, by doing this exercise first for a week or a few weeks.

Visualization

Imagine yourself in a tropical setting for a moment, with a rippling waterfall. Just looking at this image helps your body activate the relaxation response. This means that your heart rate slows down, your muscle tension decreases and your breathing becomes calmer. This contributes to a sense of relaxation and calmness, which helps reduce stress.

Counting for a calm mind

Do you struggle to keep your attention in the moment for more than a few seconds? Don’t worry – that’s perfectly normal. By training yourself, you can get better and better at this. One method I often use to train myself is by counting. And it’s very simple:

  1. Count with each exhalation.
  2. Count to 10.
  3. If you lose count, start again at one.
  4. Once you reach ten, start over at one.

Do this for as long as it takes to get into the moment. Counting can be an effective way to ground yourself, after which you can let go of counting because your mind has calmed down. I myself often use this technique when my thoughts are overactive. By counting my thoughts, I bring them “to rest,” then I listen to sounds or observe my breathing, for example.

Beach visualization (audio)

A guided visualization where Karianne takes you to a tropical island 🏝️.

By anchoring your thoughts in the moment and focusing on the soothing details of the visualization, listening to a recorded visualization can help you achieve a deeper sense of calm and clarity. (To listen: click on the orange button above.)

Writing assignment self-validation 💪

Do this writing assignment when you doubt your own ability or when you need a positive reminder of your own strength and value. It can also be helpful if you find that negative thoughts are taking over and you want to boost your self-confidence.

✅ Step 1. Take a moment at the end of your day to sit down in a quiet place where you feel comfortable.

✅ Step 2. Grab a sheet of paper and a pen 📝, or open a note-taking app on your phone or computer.

✅ Step 3. Think back to the day you just had and write down three compliments to yourself about how you have been today. These could be things like your reactions to situations, your ability to handle difficulties, your kindness to others, or how you took care of yourself.

✅ Step 4. Take a moment to reread these compliments and let them sink in. Allow yourself to be proud of the positive aspects of yourself that you have shown today.

Keep this list in a place where you can easily find it, such as in your journal, on your nightstand or in your phone. You can revisit it later when you need a reminder of your own value and power.

Doing this more often strengthens your self-confidence because you become aware of your own power. It gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment, which makes you emotionally stronger and gives you the confidence to deal with challenges.