Frequently Asked Questions
Is mindfulness a kind of religion?
While mindfulness has its philosophical foundation in Buddhist thoughts, modern-day mindfulness practice is not intended to be religious. However, many people may attach a spiritual component to their practice it if that is in line with their personal experience and beliefs. In therapy, mindfulness tends to be a secular unless the client and therapist agree otherwise.
Will mindfulness help me relax?
Maybe, maybe not. The goal of mindfulness is to cultivate grounded awareness of your experiences and to break out of the mindless autopilot mode that many people get stuck in. Sometimes, your mindful practice may help you achieve relaxation and a sense of calm. Other times, it may instead bring you in contact with feelings of discomfort or anxiety. It can be tempting to try to force a sense a relaxation-but know that this usually creates more tension and judgment. We recommend embracing whatever your experience may be.
I can't sit still to meditate, and I don't think I can ever be in a state of pure zen bliss. Does this mean mindfulness isn't for me?
Not at all! Many people have the misconception that mindfulness and meditation are about emptying your mind and being complete at peace. While it is great if that happens, it is unlikely. Mindfulness practice is about accepting your experience as it is, even if that involves getting distracted-that's just an opportunity to bring your mind back and refocus. Mindfulness also does not have to be done while sitting. Mindful eating, mindful walking, and mindful stretching are all examples of how to incorporate mindfulness approaches in everyday activities.
If mindfulness tells me to accept my negative thoughts, doesn't that mean that I'm giving in to my depression/anxiety/stress?
No. It is important to understand that acceptance of inner experiences does not mean endorsing them, liking them, or even believing them. Instead, it means that you are acknowledging their existence and then moving on.