5 Mindfulness Myths and Why They Shouldn’t Stop You

There are many myths and misconceptions people have when it comes to practicing mindfulness. An image of some long-haired guru, chanting repeatedly while burning incense may come to mind for some. People with devout religious beliefs might even feel conflicted about how mindfulness will fit in with their spiritual beliefs and practices.

Here are five common misconceptions about meditation and why they shouldn’t stop you from starting a practice.

  1. Myth: Mindfulness requires quiet meditation. Fact: I’m busted! I tried to pull a fast one on this myth. This is partially correct. Mindfulness meditation may be practiced in a quiet setting in a variety of ways. But a mindfulness practice could include going about your daily activities with purpose, non-judgment and awareness.
  2. Myth: I don’t have time to practice mindfulness. Fact: You don’t necessarily have to set aside dedicated time to being mindful. One can be mindful while sitting in a doctor’s office, grocery shopping or even conversing with someone.
  3. Myth: Mindfulness conflicts with Western religions. Fact: Granted, mindfulness is born from the Eastern religious practices of Buddhism, but learning to fully engage in your moment-to-moment spiritual practices is a form of being mindful.
  4. Myth: Mindfulness is force feeding happiness. Fact: Paying attention to the present moment does not mean the present moment is always pleasant. Being aware and non-judgmental when experiencing heartache, sadness or anger is being mindful. Remaining mindful allows you to accept your experiences by not fighting or being overly attached to them.
  5. Myth: Mindfulness is a cure-all for mental health conditions. Fact: Mindfulness is an effective tool to help you observe thoughts and feelings surrounding particular situations causing distress. Some of these thoughts and feelings could be the result of deep psychological problems or traumas. Talking with a friend, loved one or seeing a professional may be needed to resolve these deeper issues.

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Author: Howard Falkinburg, LMSW, CAADC
Outpatient Therapist at Cherry Health’s Leonard Street Counseling Center. 
Falkinburg is a licensed social worker experienced in individual and group therapy with adults and teenagers for over ten years. He’s adept at helping people find the key to unlocking pathways to a fulfilling life. He partners with individuals to overcome a variety of issues such as complex trauma, substance abuse, resolving problems, crisis intervention, grief, anger management, anxiety and mood disorders. He works with a variety of cultural backgrounds. He is a Dialectical Behavioral Therapist, an evidenced-based treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder. He is proficient at Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused, and Motivational Interviewing.

Main image photo credit: Sebastien Wiertz

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