Mindfulness is an easy and effective practice that has numerous advantages. In the last twenty years, its prevalence has resulted in the rise of knowledge with the help of blogs, apps, and podcasts.
Most of this knowledge has resulted in misunderstandings about mindfulness and what it entails when you practice it. These misunderstandings can sometimes serve as roadblocks to the practice, leading to feelings of inadequacy and, in some cases, people quitting entirely.
In light of this, we’ve outlined some of the most popular misunderstandings. Is any of this keeping you from practicing mindfulness?
- Mindfulness is all about making the mind empty.
The purpose of mindfulness is not just to eliminate thoughts, and we don’t need this in order to reap the advantages of mindfulness. If you’ve ever tried to “empty your mind of all ideas,” you’ll know how difficult it is, not to mention that it’s actually impossible to achieve!
If our objective is to clear the mind, we may feel displeased with the practice and just give up.
Instead, the aim is to concentrate on something in the present moment (for example, your breathing), and then see if we can continue to bring our focus back with compassion as ideas arise.
- Mindfulness can only be developed through meditation
One popular myth about mindfulness is that it is solely about meditation.
While formal mindfulness meditation is helpful, we can also practice mindfulness by learning how to give yourself a break and by informally putting more attention into our everyday activities. Can we be completely present with anything that we’re doing? That is the heart of this informal practice.
- Mindfulness and relaxation are the same things
It’s fair to assume that when we practice mindfulness, we should feel nothing but be at ease.
The truth is that while we may feel at ease during the meditation session, we frequently also experience annoyance, boredom, agitation, and a wide range of other human feelings! This isn’t to say that the practice isn’t working. It’s all part of the procedure.
There are plenty of long-term benefits that can be gained when practicing mindfulness than just being at peace. We can create a sense of satisfaction and find independence from repetitive thought patterns by analyzing our experiences and letting them be as they are. This can help us in bursting free from stress, anxiety, and depression loops.
- Mindfulness is an easy solution
Mindfulness is a long-term method that aids in dealing with anxiety, stress, and worry. It isn’t an easy fix. Unfortunately, stress is an unavoidable aspect of life. You’re meant to experience them, big or small, in some form or another.
Mindfulness helps us react better to stress, feel less exhausted, and build resilience when we need it. As time passes by, we may discover that it helps us deal with whatever the world throws at us without anticipating what that could be!
- You have to sit comfortably to practice mindfulness
Another common misconception about practicing mindfulness is that you should be sitting while you do it. As a matter of fact, you don’t have to follow anything. It is your practice, everything should be your call.
You can meditate in any position. The normal recommendations are to sit, stand, lie down, or walk; however, we should avoid lying down in bed, as this typically results in sleeping!
Finding the right balance between comfort and awareness, as well as what works for your mind, is the most crucial thing.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, start by sitting in a chair with your feet on the floor and supporting your back with a cushion or rolled-up yoga mat.
- You should have a goal when meditating
Perhaps the objective of mindfulness isn’t to have goals but to just let things flow.
Having said that, we all come to mindfulness practice with the hope of reaping some benefits. Instead of making them the focal point, we can strive to hold them lightly. We often realize that the more we strive to get there, the further away from that place becomes.
- There is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ meditation
We may find that mindfulness comes easy one day and becomes more difficult the next. It could be the same process each time, but with a different outcome. The impact of each practice varies greatly from one person to the next.
You could find it tough to relax if you’ve had a terrible morning — your alarm didn’t go off, you spilled your coffee, etc. It might come easier another day.
Just like the season, our way of meditating changes too. It doesn’t matter whether we find a practice to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’; it is just what it is.
It’s comforting to understand that when we approach problems with curiosity and self-compassion, we frequently learn more from meditation.
Consistent practice over a long period of time is recommended to get the full benefits of mindfulness. If you’re having trouble with the practice, you may engage in a local meditation community and reach out for help. Learn more about mindfulness meditation by reading more about the topic online.