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Should we be mindful of mindfulness?

Mindfulness can be overstated

Mindfulness is not a cure all. With all the hype around mindfulness it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether the information is quality-controlled and reliable. We need  to be careful not to overstate it's usefulness.

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Should we be mindful of mindfulness?

Should we be mindful of mindfulness?

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/23/should-we-be-mindful-of-mindfulness-nhs-depression

theguardian.com

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Key Ideas

Use of mindfulness

Mindfulness can be used as a preventative treatment for depression.

The idea is that you actively pay attention to the moment, without judging. It helps the mind to revisit thoughts about the past and to put the future into perspective. 

Mindfulness as an effective treatment

There is clinical evidence for mindfulness-based cognitive therapy as a way to prevent depression and anxiety.

Mindfulness may be good for other psychiatric conditions including bipolar disorder.

There is also growing evidence that mindfulness is effective for chronic long-term health conditions.

Mindfulness can be overstated

Mindfulness is not a cure all. With all the hype around mindfulness it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether the information is quality-controlled and reliable. We need  to be careful not to overstate it's usefulness.

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The imposter

True mindfulness has been spoiled by an imposter. The imitation provides an excuse to be self-centered and self-indulgent. It promises health and spiritual purity.

Definition of mindfulness

Mindfulness is the nonjudgemental awareness of the richness, subtlety and variety of the present moment, not just of the self. It is not the same as meditation, although meditation can form part of it.

Mindfulness acknowledges every moment of existence, good and bad. It is used to stand still in the moment, reflect and gain perspective.

Mindfulness is a limited tool

Gazing inward to focus on a connection with yourself cannot deliver magical benefits. Acknowledging your thoughts is not the same as cherishing them.

While mindfulness has some usefulness, we should also realize the benefits when we lose self-awareness, for example when we are in a state of flow.

Anxiety vs. Fear
  • Fear is what you feel in the moment when someone comes at you with a knife. 
  • Anxiety is about the anticipation of an event. Anxiety is often problem-solving — but wi...
Mindfulness = anxiety antidote

Trying to push the worries out of your head is inherently problematic because to be vigilant about not thinking about something, your brain needs to keep it in mind. 

Mindfulness does the opposite by making you aware of your state of anxiousness.

Build the Mindfulness muscles
  • Acceptance: accept that the worries are here and stop trying to make them go away.
  • Attention: get out of your thoughts and focus on the world around you.
  • Labeling: When a worry pops up, label it as “a worrying thought.” It’s not you. Do not identify with it and don't let it overtake you.

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What mindfulness is
What mindfulness is

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

What meditation is

Meditation is exploring. When we meditate we venture into the workings of our minds: sensations, emotions and thoughts.

Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others.

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. And then I sometimes add, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”

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