"Be present in the moment in a non-judgmental way"

Workshop during Well-being Week


How to successfully juggle all the balls that you have up in the air and how to live your life according to your priotities – these were just two of the many topics discussed in the ‘Bend, don’t break’ workshop on Wednesday 31 October, during the well-being week at Maastricht University. 

Quiet anticipation of what the workshop will teach filled the room with tension. Every now and then, another participant peeked into the Colloquium Room 2 at the Faculty of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering, unsure about the location and what can be expected.

Whilst Stephanie Ponsioen and Anneloes Geerling, two psychologists and the trainers for today, hold a conversation in Dutch in the front of the room, sitting comfortably in their chairs and checking their phones every now and then, more and more participants enter.

The workshop starts with small meditation round during which the whole group closed their eyes and concentrated on their breaths, that relieves the tension in the room. The subject of today’s training is introduced: Resilience. “What does resilience mean to you?” is the first question to the group. “Life is like an ocean, full of waves.”, shares one: “Highs and lows keep coming – you cannot stop that. It’s about learning how to deal with them.”

The question guides the training. Everyone is being asked to create their own personal ‘wheel of life’, showing what domains in life are considered to be important and how satisfied they are with these areas. Geerling reminds the participants to use this wheel as a guideline to make choices in line with their priorities. The whole room is quiet and listens consciously as different participants share their own perceptions and experiences and there is a common consensus that eliminating a whole dimension of life, thus having less balls to juggle, can be a relief.

Geerling explains that everyone has approximately 40 thousand thoughts a day, 70 per cent of which are negative. “We should notice, and not judge these thoughts. Be present in the moment in a non-judgmental way.” She explains, that this practice of mindfulness can be applied to all different spheres of our daily lives - even studying. Don’t get frustrated over hard work, but rather finish it calmly, taking small moments to care for yourself.    

Jesler van Houdt