Have you found yourself sneaking a glance at the clock and saying “I can’t do this” while practicing mindfulness?
There are many myths about mindfulness that make this practice appear more difficult than it actually is. It may seem intimidating and complicated. Because of these misconceptions, many of you miss out on all the ways it can enhance your lives.
To omit these false beliefs, I have listed down 5 mindfulness myths that might be preventing you from experiencing the life-changing benefits of the practice according to mental health experts and meditation teachers, and show you how these practices are something you can implement into your life to maintain your well-being.
Myth number 1: Mindfulness is about emptying your mind of thoughts
The greatest urban legend related to mindfulness.
To break it to you gently, mindfulness is not about stopping your thoughts or zoning out. It is a form of training to become more aware of the unique patterns of your mind, and that includes the nature of your thoughts.
Our mind’s natural ability is to think – unconsciously or not, so this is something that is out of our control. So if your mind wanders while trying to focus on a specific object or task, it is only natural.
In meditation, we simply put an effort into recognizing the distraction and shifting our awareness back to our object of focus, such as breathing. Every time your thought wanders, what you do is come back to your breath.
By doing so, your concentration and focus are being strengthened and you are becoming more aware of the habitual patterns of your mind, which in turn helps you learn to tame your sometimes harsh and unkind inner voice.
Myth number 2: The aim of mindfulness is to become relaxed and chilled out
Relaxation is a common effect of mindfulness, but definitely not the reason why we practice it.
The aim is to increase focus, sharpen our awareness, and learn how to accept what’s out of our control. In such case, it can sometimes be utterly uncomfortable as it requires from us to face a certain reality, may it be pleasant or unpleasant.
This allows us to accept what is already in front of us and helps us move on; which then results in having more peace within ourselves and possibly, relaxation as a side effect.
Myth number 3: Mindfulness makes us passive and turns us into an uproductive jellyfish
It is known that the energy of anxiety and stress becomes our drive. And a certain level of it gives us the strength to get things done. But this doesn’t mean that with mindfulness, you may lose this ‘drive’.
With a dash of mindfulness, you can actually:
- make wiser and more informed decision,
- handle mental and emotional load,
- separate our emotions from our behavior,
- focus better to get things done faster.
Myth number 4: Mindfulness only works for a certain type of people
When we are stressed out or anxious, we feel the need to move and shake off the excess energy driven by nervousness. And with that, the idea of sitting with your legs crossed on a mat even for a minute is simply unbearable.
But this idea of how to practice mindfulness is mostly stereotypical. You’ll feel relieved to hear that the list of ways we can practice is massive! We can practice even while enjoying our coffee or meal, taking a peaceful walk outside, or watching the sunset in silence.
As long as it involves any activity where you are fully living in the present moment and paying attention to your immediate surroundings, you are doing it right.
Myth 5: Meditation takes up too much time
You can practice mindfulness as short or as long as you want. There is no strict rule as to how long you should do it. It is only generally recommended to start with a shorter amount of time and gradually increase it.
When the practice becomes a priority, just like having breakfast or brushing your teeth, it stops being dependent on whether you find time for it or not. It becomes part of your life, a habit that makes an enormous difference to how you go through the day. Also, just like with physical exercising, you can expect more benefit from it if you continuously do it daily, or as close to daily as you can.
And now that we have debunked the most common misconceptions and misunderstandings about mindfulness practice, I hope you’d feel more confident and open to it.
And so we have arrived at the number one reason why I think everyone should at least give it a try:
Have you ever imagined how your life would feel if you got in touch with a feeling of genuine peace, joy and connectedness with your own self and life, instead of being drawn to your fears, overthinking, and planning?
This is within our reach when we train our minds to wander less, live more intentionally and focus on what life has for us at the very moment.
If you find that you need some support learning to become more mindful, to feel calmer and be more in charge of your mind and emotions, I offer FREE discovery sessions to see if we might be a good fit to help you do that, and I would be more than happy to speak with you to see how I can support you in building and practicing this life-changing skill.
Schedule a free session with me HERE.