Debunking the myths of mindfulness

Woman looking thoughtful

Some of the popular ideas about mindfulness, including the practice of mindful meditation, are just plain wrong. Here we separate what’s true, from what’s not true.

Myth #1: It’s about stopping thoughts
Meditation doesn’t mean not thinking. It’s actually about getting familiar with how your mind works. Once you see this process in action, you won’t stop having thoughts, but those thoughts might not control you so much.

Myth #2: It’s selfish
It’s true that meditation is about you watching your thoughts, but it’s not selfish. Regular practice can help you listen better, pay more attention to the needs of others, and be present with your loved ones. In this way, your mindfulness can be a gift to the other people in your life.

Myth #3: It’s an escape from the real world
Nope. Instead, mindfulness makes things more real. You begin to see how your thinking shapes your view of the world. And you learn how your thoughts affect what you do. It’s a journey within, one that helps you see everything more clearly.

Myth #4: It’s only for laid-back people
Everyone, no matter who they are, needs time to relax, refill one’s batteries, and think about what’s going on in one’s life. Mindfulness is one of the best ways to give your mind a rest — and come back fresh and ready to take on new challenges.

Myth #5: You lose your edge
Mindfulness is not about spacing out. Instead, you train yourself to pay closer attention than usual. You become more focused in every area of your life. Meditating can actually help you to get into “the zone” and stay there longer.



Reviewed by Kaiser Permanente Clinical Ambassadors, including Mark Dreskin, MD, Sharon Smith, LPC, and/or David Kane, LCSW. September 2018.

Mindful, healthy mind, healthy life

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.

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