5 Mindfulness Myths and Why They Should Not Stop You
There are many myths and misconceptions people have when it comes to practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness has become increasingly popular: the percentage of U.S. adults who have practiced some form of meditation — including mindfulness meditation — in the past year tripled from 2012 to 2017.
Mindfulness is defined as living fully in the present; being in the “now.” It’s being aware of the various sensory experiences of the moment without being overwhelmed, judgmental or reactionary. You’re not mindful when your mind over-analyzes something that just happened — or worries about what might happen in the future.
Here are five common misconceptions about mindfulness and why they shouldn’t stop you from starting a practice.
- Myth: Mindfulness requires quiet meditation.
- Fact: 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.
- 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.
- 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. The practice of being mindful is something you already can do without being associated with a religion; you just have to learn how to access it more intentionally.
- 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.
- 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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