“I don’t have time to practise mindfulness.”
Thankfully, you can actually practice mindfulness anywhere, at any time.
“I usually fall asleep when I practice.”
This is actually common as most of us are tired and running on empty so you can just enjoy the sleep or have your eyes slightly open or sit upright with your back off the chair back.
“It’s too spiritual, new age- it’s just a fad.”
Mindfulness has actually been around for centuries.
The fact that research has shown that mindfulness creates actual changes in the brain means that it’s now used in sports performance, business, professional careers, relationships, schools, hospitals, therapies and jails to name a few.
Another objection is that:
“Mindfulness is just a fancy word for relaxation or a way to zone out.”
Mindfulness is different to relaxation in that it’s a practice to regulate awareness and attention.
You’re not trying to get the body to relax.
It’s also not zoning out. Because you’re actually training to do the opposite.
Some people think that:
“Mindfulness is just too hard because I can’t calm my mind, I can’t stop my thoughts.” “I’m too stressed to meditate.” “My mind is too busy.”
If your expectation is to calm the mind or stop thoughts with mindfulness, then yes, it is hard. Because we can’t will our minds to be calm, and empty it of thoughts.
Mindfulness is noticing what’s happening in the mind and changing the relationship with what’s there. Not getting drawn into the stories our thoughts are telling us; not believing our negative thoughts.
As part of this process, many benefits will be experienced which might include a sense of a calm mind, but we don’t go into the practice with this as an expectation.
Related to this is the belief that:
“I can’t sit still.”
That’s ok as you can do mindfulness whilst walking or any other type of movement.
“Too many emotions come up.”
Some have reported difficult emotions coming up when practicing mindfulness. This can happen and a helpful reflection is that the mindfulness is not creating the emotions. It’s providing an opening to explore and process them.
Also, Mindfulness builds resilience by allowing us to access our internal coping resources.
Another misgiving is that:
“I’ll lose my motivation and the edge I need to be successful.”
This turns out to be unhelpful as mindfulness practice can enhance motivation via the focused attention that’s cultivated over time.
Another misconception is that:
“It takes years to experience any benefits.”
Fortunately, this is actually not the case.
There have been many studies that have shown benefits of mindfulness following eight week programs.
Some people have noticed some profound differences even within a month of practice.
Just practicing 10 minutes a day can bring noticeable changes.
I’ve heard others say that:
“Mindfulness is a way of distracting ourselves from our problems.”
It turns out, however, that mindfulness brings us to our issues in a way that makes them easier to manage. We actually become more aware of the important things in our life, and it also provides us with the tools and resources to cope better.
“Mindfulness is selfish because I’m taking time out from all the other things I need to do.”
The thing about mindfulness is that it’s an act of self-care, and the more we take care of ourselves, the more available we’ll be for others.