7 Myths About Mindfulness, What It Actually Is, And How It Can Help With Anxiety
June 19, 2024

By Kamilah Wright at Kindred Therapy LLC

We often hear the word “mindfulness” and how it can be beneficial to our mental health. But what exactly is mindfulness? And how can mindfulness be helpful for anxiety? Is mindfulness the same thing as meditation? If you’ve asked these questions, you’re not alone. The experience and practice of mindfulness is often misunderstood.

Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the moment, with yourself, and your environment. When we are mindful, we shift our focus intentionally. We may shift attention from outside to inside, or from inside to outside of ourselves. The practice of shifting attention helps us gain a better awareness of our emotions, thoughts, body, and senses. Practicing mindfulness can help with living in harmony with oneself and the world, cultivating appreciation for each moment we are alive. At the end of this post, you’ll find a free recording where I lead you through a mindfulness exercise for anxiety. Hopefully, it will help to illustrate the benefits of mindfulness.

Debunking Myths about Mindfulness

There are several misconceptions surrounding mindfulness. Let’s clear them up:

Myth 1: Mindfulness isn’t about “fixing” you

A common myth is that mindfulness is a tool to correct or change who you are. In reality, mindfulness is about acceptance. It’s not about becoming someone different, it’s about embracing your true self without judgment. This acceptance can lead to profound personal growth, but it’s not about fixing perceived flaws.

Myth 2: Mindfulness isn’t just about meditation

Although meditation is a common way to practice mindfulness, it is not the only way. Mindfulness can be integrated into daily activities such as eating, walking, or even brushing your teeth. The key is to bring intentional awareness to whatever you are doing.

Myth 3: Mindfulness is not about stopping your thoughts

Some people may believe that mindfulness is about completely clearing the mind of all thoughts. However, this is not the case. Mindfulness involves acknowledging and observing your thoughts without getting caught up in them. It’s about developing a non-judgmental awareness of your thoughts, rather than trying to stop or control them.

Myth 4: Mindfulness does not require sitting in meditation for hours

Many people associate mindfulness with long periods of sitting in meditation. While this can certainly be one way to practice mindfulness, there are also many other ways to incorporate mindfulness into daily activities such as walking, journaling, and listening to music.

Myth 5: Mindfulness does not belong to a religion

While mindfulness has roots in various spiritual and religious traditions, such as Buddhism, it is a secular practice that can be embraced by individuals of any or no faith. The techniques and benefits of mindfulness are universal and can be applied to anyone seeking to enhance their well-being.

Myth 6: Mindfulness is not intended to be an escape from reality

Some may think that practicing mindfulness means escaping from reality or avoiding difficult emotions. However, mindfulness is about facing reality and accepting whatever arises in the present moment with open awareness and non-judgment. It can actually help us better cope with challenging situations by allowing us to approach them with a clear and calm mind.

Myth 7: Mindfulness is not a solution for every emotional difficulty

While mindfulness can be a powerful tool for managing stress, anxiety, and other emotional difficulties, it is not a cure-all. It’s important to recognize that everyone’s experiences and challenges are unique, and mindfulness may not be the best solution for everyone. It’s always important to seek professional help if you are struggling with severe or persistent mental health concerns.

Benefits of Mindfulness For Anxiety And More

Mindfulness offers a range of benefits, including:

  • Decreased feelings of anxiety
  • Increased focus
  • Reduced stress
  • Aids in decreasing overthinking
  • Higher brain functioning
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Lowers heart rate
  • Feeling more connected to yourself, the world, and others
  • Increases self-control, self-reflection, and self-awareness

What Exactly is Self-Reflection?

Self-reflection is like a mirror. Sometimes, we are unaware of some of our feelings, behaviors, and thoughts. When we self-reflect, we take some time to look within ourselves and identify why we are engaging in certain thoughts and actions.

Here’s how it works:

Thoughts → Beliefs → Feelings → Actions

Our thoughts influence our beliefs, which in turn impact our feelings and actions. Once we gain this awareness, it becomes easier to develop the coping skills and strategies to help us manage stressful or unpleasant feelings. Practicing mindfulness is a great coping skill to assist with managing these feelings.

Common Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness can be practiced in various ways, including:

  • Journaling
  • Listening to music
  • Breathing exercises
  • Body scans
  • Exercise
  • Spending time in nature (my personal favorite)
  • Meditation

One of my favorite meditation scripts is “Dropping The Suitcases of Worries and Regrets” by Sean Fargo. Please enjoy a guided meditation read by me, using Sean Fargo’s meditation script:

Click here to get the recording!

Conclusion

Mindfulness is not just a trend; it’s a powerful tool for enhancing your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. By incorporating mindfulness practices into your daily routine, you can experience the numerous benefits it has to offer. Meditation and mindfulness are not the same but can be related to each other. Meditation is one way you might practice mindfulness.

If you’d like to explore more about mindfulness and how it can positively impact your life, feel free to reach out to our team at Kindred Therapy LLC. We’re here to support you.

Kamilah

Kamilah Wright, MS is a trauma-informed mental health therapist who is committed to seeing clients’ whole selves, centering the person, and incorporating a holistic approach into therapy. Trauma, depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns manifest themselves in many different ways and impact more than just the mind. Kamilah focuses on mind, body, and soul. She helps adults and adolescents struggling with interpersonal issues, identity, substance abuse, PTSD, trauma, relationships, anxiety, and depression. Kamilah has a Master’s degree in Community and Trauma Counseling. She has been working in the mental health field for six years.