The Mindfulness Lie

Just about everywhere we look today someone is hawking the benefits of mindfulness.

“Treat Heart Disease”

“Eliminate Test Anxiety”

“Treat Bowl and Gut Issues”

“Improve Grades”

“Treat Skin Rashes”

“Increase Brain Mass”

I’m not even going to list them all. Just try a search.

It’s just not for everyone…

I’m going to admit something to you now and I think some folks might get a little perturbed by it.

Acupuncture doesn’t work for me.

There, I said it. Yes, I tried a couple providers. Yes, I kept my skepticism in check during the process and engaged with the professional to get the best experience I could. Fact is, it delivered none of the benefits I’ve heard again and again.

So I shared my story with friends and family, and while I’m not alone; trusted, intelligent, and thoughtful people also get huge benefits from it.

There are folks who will swear to the benefits that you are I might be skeptical of, and it’s difficult to argue in the face of happy, healthy people.

I’m going to tell you a few things that mindfulness can GUARANTEE. Yep, that’s right. You can be assured that if you engage in mindfulness with honesty and dedication – these benefits will be yours.

Rely On These

Standing in the grocery store, you are checking out some watermelons for a good quality one. You had a rough morning but that’s behind you now, big argument at work or at home that’s mostly resolve. The day is winding down; just pick up a good watermelon and you can be on your way home to relax and put this day behind you..

BAM, someone runs into your backside with a cart. As you turn around, you see the person already walking away. You were knocked forward, your focus is broken, and the person who did it didn’t even apologize. “Excuse you!” might loudly come out of your mouth, or maybe even worse…

What you might not have noticed is that it wasn’t that person at all, but rather a different one. Maybe there was a child pushing the cart into you and the adult, not noticing the offense, took control and simply went on their business.

We are faced with stressors all the time and some can’t be resolved as cleanly or immediately as we’d like so they dwell with us. Our natural reaction is to keep them in the forefront because in the past they were related to threats. Seeing that tiger walk away to hide in the tall grass is a good thing to keep in the front of your mind so you don’t go there. Dwelling on someone leaving the mayonnaise out overnight really isn’t.

Mindfulness gives you a chance to be more aware and out of your single-minded focus. You can more readily identify what is important and what isn’t.

Memories in your Mind or your Phone

There’s an interesting behavior you might notice thanks to the ubiquity of the smartphone, and the fact it has this easy to use, high-quality camera in it.

I noticed how incredibly distracting this is at a concert I attended recently. Most smartphones have the flash enabled by default, and while taking video the light is on constantly.

Looking around the auditorium, hundreds of pinpoints of light, constantly on, was just incredible at first. I realized that there were hundreds of people not enjoying the music and spectacle with their eyes, but trying to capture some mere facsimile of the event. A very poor reproduction at that!

What does this have to do with mindfulness? They aren’t enjoying the moment. That tiny screen cannot reproduce anywhere near what your mind can. Enjoying every moment of a two or three hour concert cements an incredible experience that you will probably never forget. Sure, you could show an unfocused and muddled audio experience to someone but it can’t come close to the real thing.

Let’s hope that phone never malfunctions and you lose those “memories” forever. The mind is a bit more reliable and has a much greater life expectancy!

Recognizing Rabbit Holes

This one is near and dear to me. Like many of us, I spend a lot of time online. I do research, writing, and marketing. For good or ill, that means I spend time on social media.

I had a particularly busy week once, with a few interruptions, but mostly I felt productive. Yet when I went back to review my progress, I found very little.

This was surprising so I got a tool to monitor my activity with my computer to see where the time was being spent. Sure enough, I’d jump down some social media rabbit hole after reading some article or responding to a new friend. Sometimes it’d be from research and finding related, but off-topic articles to fascinate me for a while.

You would think that awareness would be enough to catch myself, but it wasn’t. I’d still go back, review the logs and find I’d been on some other distraction.

I started doing some mindfulness meditation. The goal was to just be in the moment. Be deliberate about what I was doing and constantly check in with myself to make sure I was both being focused on my task but aware of my surroundings.

Now I would do my research and check in with myself occasionally and correct my behavior quickly before I got too far lost. Within a few weeks it was rare that I even started down some distraction because I was aware before the temptation occurred.

Find What Works for You

Some people are just rock solid on staying on task, but maybe they startle easily. Perhaps they can go through the world through a smartphone’s peephole without missing anything but spend hours on social media that they later regret. There’s something for all of us here and you might not even know what it leads you to until you try.

Try some mindfulness meditations today, stick with it every day, and in a few weeks come back and let us know what you found!

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