Some of the most popular ideas about mindfulness are just plain wrong. When you begin to practice it, you may find the experience quite different than what you expected. There’s a good chance you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
- Mindfulness isn’t about “fixing” you
- Mindfulness is not about stopping your thoughts
- Mindfulness does not belong to a religion
- Mindfulness is not an escape from reality
- Mindfulness is not a panacea
Is Mindfulness for More than Just Stress Reduction?
Stress reduction is often an effect of mindfulness practice, but the ultimate goal isn’t meant to be stress reduction. The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes.
Mindfulness trains your body to thrive: Athletes around the world use mindfulness to foster peak performance—from university basketball players practicing acceptance of negative thoughts before games, to BMX champions learning to follow their breath, and big-wave surfers transforming their fears. Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll, assisted by sports psychologist Michael Gervais, talks about coaching the “whole person.” As writer Hugh Delehanty illustrates, players learn a blend of mindfulness, which Gervais calls tactical breathing, and cognitive behavioral training to foster what he calls “full presence and conviction in the moment.”
Mindfulness boosts creativity: Whether it’s writing, drawing, or coloring, they all have accompanying meditative practices. We can also apply mindfulness to the creative process.
Mindfulness strengthens neural connections: By training our brains in mindfulness and related practices, we can build new neural pathways and networks in the brain, boosting concentration, flexibility, and awareness. Well-being is a skill that can be learned. Try this basic meditation to strengthen neural connections.
information gathered from mindful.org