Does Mindfulness Stress You Out?

November 10, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

Brad Waters, Guest Writer
Waking Times

Sounds like a paradox, right? By all common logic, we shouldn’t be stressed out if we’re practicing mindfulness or meditation. We hear over and over in the news how those practices are supposed to help us relax. Yet I hear over and over from clients that the whole concept of mindfulness provokes anxiety. It’s time to strip down the concept of mindfulness and make it accessible to everyone.

What Is Mindfulness?

You will never find one true definition because the experience varies by culture and personal experience. Virtually all cultures around the globe have some version of what we collectively refer to as mindfulness. It could involve Eastern traditions of mediation, Western traditions of prayer, or completely secular experiences of simply living in the present moment.

Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn is perhaps the most recognizable name in the modern day academic study and practice of mindfulness; especially relating to its application in pain and stress reduction. He points out three factors that make up mindfulness: acceptance, non-striving, and non-judging awareness. Kabat-Zinn states:

“We are not trying to actively achieve a state of deep relaxation or any other state for that matter, while practicing mindfulness… But increasingly, by opening to an awareness of how things actually are in the present moment, we often taste very deep states of relaxation and well-being-of both body and mind.”

Perhaps it’s helpful to list a few terms that point to the essence of mindfulness:

  • Awareness
  • Presence
  • “Being” rather than “doing”
  • Quieting the mind
  • Stillness
  • Attentiveness
  • Non-judgmental noticing

It can be practiced virtually anywhere, anytime, requires no tools, no money, and no formal training. Wait, what? If that’s true then why is the market flooded with meditation classes, audio guides, books, fancy retreats, phone apps, expensive pillows, bracelets, bobbles, and gizmos?

  1. Where there’s a market, there are marketers.
  2. Many of these items genuinely do help a meditator or mindfulness practitioner develop and strengthen their practice. Many teachers and products are truly helpful and sincere in their intention. If a mediation retreat brings someone much needed guidance and relaxation, all the better. But my message is that places and things are by no means a prerequisite for practicing mindfulness.

So What Do I Need In Order To Practice?

You. That’s it. Just show up to the moment. Mindfulness is not a modern spiritual movement. It’s not a new-age fad. It’s simply you at your most natural state of being. It’s a practical everyday phenomenon that you’ve already experienced without even labeling it. Have you ever just stared into the flame of a flickering candle? Or the intricate petals of a flower? Have you watched the twitching nose of a sleeping puppy? That was mindfulness. It required nothing of you other than to be there.

Then Why Does The Concept Stress Me Out?

There’s a lot of pressure to be perfectionist in our pursuits. Perhaps you’ve read a book or watched the news and internalized someone else’s idea of what it means to be mindful. Maybe you tried it a few times and determined that your experience didn’t match up with their description of what it should feel like. So you got frustrated and you quit. “It’s too hard.” “I’m terrible at it.”

I’m here to say that you’re not terrible at it. You don’t have to subscribe to a method, you don’t have to attend a retreat, you don’t have to spend any money, and you don’t have to expect a certain outcome. That statement will threaten a lot of people- the money makers, the retreat schedulers, the devout practitioners of a certain faith. Frankly, I don’t care. I’m not a shareholder.

So How Should I Approach It?

Like I mentioned earlier, try staring into a gently flickering flame. Pick a flower and explore its perfect imperfections. Engage your senses by smelling the flower, feeling its petals, noticing how your feet come into contact with the floor, the entire experience of just being in that moment.

Try a “mindful shower.” That is, next time you shower, just notice what it’s like to be under the warm water. Can you become so attuned to the moment that you feel individual droplets hitting your skin? Notice the sound of the water. The temperature. Notice the tension in your body melting away. You’re not placing judgment on the water – it’s not good or bad or ugly – it just is. You don’t label your method of showering as right or wrong, right? You just do it. Exactly.

So take that message with you everywhere. Your mindfulness practice doesn’t have to be involved with right or wrong. It doesn’t have to feel a certain way or produce a certain result. Maybe it will have certain results – and you can simply notice those as they arise. In that moment.

About the Author

Brad Waters, L.C.S.W. takes an integrative strengths-based approach to well-being and life strategy. His phone-based one-on-one personal development consulting helps people who are lacking confidence, feeling stuck, or are unsure of their path forward find a sense of energy and direction. Additionally, he is a licensed clinical social worker, freelance writer and blogger. Visit his website howaboutcake.com to download his free mindfulness ebook “Everyday Mindfulness” and sign up for his newsletter.

Sources:

Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Guided Mindfulness by: Jon Kabat-Zinn 4 Practice CDs Series 1. Sounds True. 2002.

Waters, Brad. Everyday Mindfulness. 2011.

This blog was originally posted on PsychologyToday.com.

~~ Help Waking Times to raise the vibration by sharing this article with the buttons below…

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Category: Ideas, Inspiration, Meditation, Mind, Self, Spirituality, Transformation, Uncategorized

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Rudy says:

    Brad mentions “mediation” several times. Perhaps he’s intending to say “meditation”!

Leave a Reply

Must Watch Videos

Open Source Plans for Modern Tesla Free Energy Generator Released to Public

Open Source Plans for Modern Tesla Free Energy Generator Released to Public













Terence Newton, Staff Writer
Waking Times

In a world of problems and solutions, few ideas spur both immediate hope and skepticism as the idea of free energy, and, on the brink of ecological disaster, nothing may be of greater importance to the human race.

The story of Nikola More

April 14, 2014 | By | 13 Replies More
Neuroscientist Exposes Dangers of Electromagnetic Fields

Neuroscientist Exposes Dangers of Electromagnetic Fields













Kevin Samson, Guest
Waking Times

Neuroscience has come under scrutiny for its involvement in an array of mind control initiatives and other ethically questionable research. But at least one neuroscientist from Sweden has gone on record to caution against the increasing dangers of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) on human beings … More

April 14, 2014 | By | Reply More
On the Eve of Construction

On the Eve of Construction













Zen Gardner, Guest
Waking Times

I love the sound of construction. I always have. Not the industrial sound from the kind of massive, offensive structures made with other-worldly looking machines, but the intentional, gentle kind. Small structures going up, improvements on homes, road repairs, even tending to gardens whether … More

April 13, 2014 | By | 2 Replies More
Are You Inadvertently Investing in Monsanto’s Toxic Legacy?

Are You Inadvertently Investing in Monsanto’s Toxic Legacy?













Brandon Baker, Eco Watch
Waking Times

Monsanto didn’t achieve $11.8 billion in sales and 404 facilities in 66 countries all on its own.

The company is valued at $60 billion in the marketplace with 525 million shares outstanding, but the three largest mutual fund shareholders, Vanguard, Fidelity and State Street, … More

April 10, 2014 | By | Reply More
7 Ways Our Children Are Being Brainwashed

7 Ways Our Children Are Being Brainwashed













Gregg Prescott, M.S., In5D Guest
Waking Times

From birth, virtually all of us have been brainwashed through various outlets that encourage materialism, ego, subservience, control and conformity. But where do the origins of mind control begin and what can we do about it?

1. Religion

As children, the brainwashing begins … More

April 9, 2014 | By | 5 Replies More

Activism Works

The Truth About Fluoride Becoming More Widely Known

The Truth About Fluoride Becoming More Widely Known













Dr. Mercola
Waking Times

Fluoride is a poisonous substance added to many municipal water supplies across the US, Canada, and elsewhere without the permission of the residents. Is there a model that communities can follow to remove it from their water supply? The short answer to this question is yesMore

April 1, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More
6 Crimes Against Nature Perpetrated By The Food Industry

6 Crimes Against Nature Perpetrated By The Food Industry













Martha Rosenberg, AlterNet
Waking Times

While many procedures on factory farms are cruel, breeding animals into mutants and violating mother/offspring bonds are truly crimes against nature.

The horrors of factory farming are multifold. Treating animals like heads of lettuce—”forget it’s an animal” says one farming magazine—has created institutionalized ruthlessness toward … More

March 28, 2014 | By | 5 Replies More
Our Respective Journeys Into the Valley of Reason

Our Respective Journeys Into the Valley of Reason













Michael T. Winter, Contributor
Waking Times

The Internet awakening has given birth to a worldwide multitude of people that are disengaging from the programmed paradigm created for us, and awakening to the reality of the dangers we face. The web has supplied a platform for writers to take a crack … More

March 26, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More
13 Ways Foodies Are Changing The Food Industry

13 Ways Foodies Are Changing The Food Industry













Heather Callaghan & Jeffrey Green, Guests
Waking Times

A major shift in the consciousness of food consumers is forcing the industry into a competitive race to become more natural.  The market is telling food producers that they no longer want so-called factory food because of its many harmful effects on … More

March 25, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More
American Agriculture May Eradicate the Monarch Butterfly Unless Swift Action Is Taken

American Agriculture May Eradicate the Monarch Butterfly Unless Swift Action Is Taken













Dr. Mercola
Waking Times

You may be aware that bees are dying in large numbers across the globe, courtesy of the ever-increasing presence of toxins in our environment. But did you know that the monarch butterfly is also becoming endangered, and for the same reason?

As reported by the New More

March 22, 2014 | By | Reply More