Mindfulness Mini Series 3 - Mindfulness Myths
For the third blog, in my Mindfulness mini series, I wanted to bust ten myths surrounding Mindfulness to illustrate how easy and accessible it is to everyone.
It's the same as positive thinking
When practicing mindfulness, we are practicing being with all emotions - the good, the bad and the neutral. Therefore it's not just about thinking positively.
It's a quick fix
It takes a little bit of discipline to practice it and time to unlearn the patterns we have been used to living with all of our lives. We need to try to be patient with the process and we will be rewarded.
It's a religion
Although based on Buddhist practices with some of its central teachings born from ancient Hebrew scriptures it is taught in many different ways today. We don't need to have a particular religious background or hold any kind of religious beliefs in order to practice mindfulness. We all have the ability to do it, once we learn a few simple tools.
It will fix our problems
Mindfulness doesn't make our problems disappear but it can help with how we relate to, and deal with, difficult or stressful times in our life.
We need to empty our minds
Mindfulness is more about focusing on our thoughts rather than emptying our mind of thoughts. With practice we can learn to see our thoughts as moving mental images and respond to them in the best way.
Living in the moment is living without consequence
The past is in the past and has already happened, therefore we can't change it. The future has not yet happened and we don't know what it looks like. So we should pay attention to the present because in these moments we have the opportunities to do something different and to shape our future.
We need to relax for it to work
When we get into a mindful state we may relax, but we might not. Mindfulness is more about being able to notice our experiences and state of mind and deal with it effectively, rather than trying to achieve a particular state of mind.
We can't meditate with a busy mind
Actually we can, and this is the whole point. It doesn't matter how busy our minds are. They tend to be focusing on several different things at once. The important thing is that we all have the ability to practice letting go of our thoughts and return to the point of focus, for example our breath. It's completely natural for our minds to wander but we can learn to recognise when this happens and then bring ourselves back to focus without judgement.
It takes a lot of time to do
In fact it is the opposite. We can become more productive and more able to make decisions. Mindfulness works best when we take time out little and often to practice it. It will become part of our everyday lives where we learn to live in a more mindful way.
There are right and wrong ways of being mindful
Mindfulness is personal to each person. What works for me may not work for you. For example some of us will need quiet, whilst some of us can practice it on the go.