Mindfulness is Useless, Unless…
Throughout the last number of years mindfulness, the practice of cultivating awareness, has gone mainstream into all kinds of sectors and ages of life. Researchers have a seemingly unending amount of data at this point to its efficacy for health and well-being. For many it’s a kind of feel-good aspirational practice to be connected to or identified with. However, the reality is, it’s completely useless unless it’s actually practiced in daily life.
We can all write and read blog after blog, book after book or go hear speaker after speaker, but until we actually implement this into our lives, it’s fairly useless. Not much changes unless we put something into practice.
Take gratitude for example.
It’s become such a cliché to say, “be grateful” that many people roll their eyes when they hear this. But when’s the last time those same people practiced a gratitude ritual in their lives? Does the science behind having a daily gratitude practice having statistically significant results on our happiness not mean anything either?
Mindfulness can go the same way.
The term can eventually get lost into a Pollyanna feel good term that people get bored and tired of. But if this comes up in our minds we have to ask ourselves, “When is the last time I consistently practiced this in my daily life?”
Because if there was a daily practice a whole lot of learning is likely to take place. We learn about how our minds automatically tell stories that affect our emotions and how our bodies feel. We learn that coming home to our bodies is a way to interrupt the stress response and respond with greater perspective and composure. We begin to interrupt the automatic negativity bias of the brain and prime the mind for what’s good in life (See The Now Effect).
But we have to practice. So I’m going to invite you right now to get in of this. Settle in and take the next 2 minutes to just do a brief mindful check-in.
Wherever you are in this moment, take this time to reconnect your life and allow your experience to guide the rest of the day.
Elisha Goldstein, PhD
Meditation image available from Shutterstock.
Goldstein, E. (2013). Mindfulness is Useless, Unless…. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 2, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2013/09/mindfulness-is-useless-unless/