Mindfulness is a learned technique that teaches you to focus all of your attention on the present. By consciously becoming aware of your thoughts, emotions, surroundings, sounds and bodily sensations, you’ll be able to unlock a heightened sense of wellbeing.
Also, focusing on the present through mindfulness - rather than being caught in the past or future – brings with it the opportunity to manage the negative thought patterns that can consume your mind. Through regular practice, you can learn to numb feelings of fear, stress and anxiety, and learn to better manage them.
Mindfulness has been scientifically proven to work and can help everyone from emergency room doctors perform surgery and students writing their exams, to pregnant women about to give birth and athletes compete. So, considering the endless positive effects of mindfulness, it’s little surprise that the notion has become mainstream.
From scores of literature and articles online, as well as celebrity advocacy – there is no shortage of information about mindfulness, how to practice it, and how it’s improving the lives of millions of people all over the world. However, with it, comes scores of misinformation.
We shed light on the most common mindfulness myths:
Myth 1 - Mindfulness is Meditation
The terms mindfulness and meditation are often used interchangeably. However, while the two are very much linked – they are not the same thing. For example, mindfulness is awareness. Its main purpose is to teach one to focus on the present moment without judgement, by bringing you back to your breath. It’s something you can do in a split second, just by paying attention to what surrounds you. Mindfulness meditation is a bit more complex. It requires practicing sustained mindfulness by actively bringing your attention back when it inevitably tries to wander off. Mindfulness is just one of the many ways to meditate. Meditation can help us deepen our experience of mindfulness but it’s not pivotal to engaging it in the moment.
Myth 2 – You Need Silence to Practice Mindfulness
While a quiet space can initially help novices tap into mindfulness, allowing you to feel your emotions and bodily sensations more clearly than if you were in a busy environment, surrounding yourself in silence isn’t a prerequisite. A key part of mindfulness is about immersing yourself in your sense – sound being one. For example, listening to the birds singing outside, the bustle of the traffic or the sound the bubbles make when they pop while you’re washing the dishes… Taking a moment to acknowledge and appreciate the sounds around you is an integral tool to tapping into the present.
Myth 3 – Mindfulness is About Relaxation
There is a common misconception that mindfulness is about unwinding and dissociation from one’s thoughts after a long day. While stress reduction is a welcome side-effect of mindfulness, being vastly aware of your thoughts, body, and emotions takes quite a bit of effort. Likewise, the “without judgment” part is something you need to actively achieve through a heightened sense of consciousness. Therefore, fundamentally, mindfulness isn’t rest – it takes quite a bit of work, which shouldn’t be considered to be a bad thing. Mindfulness is as restorative as it is illuminating – just not in the conventional sense of the word ‘relax’.
When understood, mindfulness is the gift that can keep on giving. The wonderful thing about the practice is that anyone can do it – it’s a skill we all inherently have within us. But you have to invest in it to hone it. It’s not a quick win.
Find out how the Hydrean can help you master the art of mindfulness at www.hydrean.com.