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Mindfulness: Myth vs. Reality

Mindfulness is having a moment. There’s currently a lot of talk and information out there about the topic. As a result, there are also many misconceptions about the practice. Here are five mindfulness-related myths debunked, along with facts about this technique that could have a big impact on your health and well-being.

Myth: I have to meditate to practice mindfulness. 

Reality: Meditation is one technique that’s used to develop mindfulness, but you don’t have to meditate to be mindful. Mindfulness is about being aware of your experience in the present moment without judgment. It’s about pausing to breathe, notice, and connect with your thoughts and feelings as they come. You can practice mindfulness as you go about your day.

Myth: Mindfulness is a cure-all for mental health problems.

Reality: For many different mental health conditions, mindfulness is effective when combined with other treatment approaches, such as medicine or therapy. Research shows that the combination of mindfulness and traditional therapies can benefit conditions including:

  • Depression and depression relapse

  • Substance abuse

  • Anxiety

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Myth: Some people are naturally more mindful than others.

Reality: Mindfulness isn’t a trait that you’re born with. It’s a skill or state of mind that you can develop with practice over time.

Myth: Mindfulness conflicts with my spiritual beliefs.

Reality: Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism. However, today, it’s not associated with any religion.

Myth: Mindfulness is only for improving mental health.

Reality: Studies have found that the benefits of mindfulness extend beyond better mental health. One recent study of patients with chronic low back pain who learned mindfulness techniques along with their standard treatment experienced a greater reduction in pain than those who received their usual treatment alone. Mindfulness can also benefit conditions such as insomnia and irritable bowel syndrome.

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