Mindfulness has been touted as the practice to reduce stress and for making wise decisions. In recent years, due to the influence of MBSR and the program’s evidence for stress reduction and increasing the brain’s gray matter, mindfulness has become the new Indian yoga, where the latter is for developing a healthy body while the former a healthy mind. Despite the benefits, there are reasons not to practice mindfulness.
There are reports of those whose mindfulness practice brought tension and depression instead of well-being and relaxation. Why is mindfulness suitable for some and a terrible practice for others?
You May Be Self-Conscious
You may feel self-conscious most of the time. Conscious of how others see you or feel about you. There are those who are just sensitive to what others say or do. Someone might say something about a situation which you are a part of, but not necessarily imply anything about you. If you are easily sensitive about what others say and think, mindfulness is most likely not for you.
Happy With Being Busy
Some people think that depression is the only reason not to practice mindfulness. That is not true. You may be someone who is happy being busy. You find fulfilment in doing one thing after another non-stop. Your idea of rest is to watch Netflix, which is still an act of doing something. If being busy is what you identify with, and not doing anything is really uncomfortable for you, then mindfulness is not really recommended.
You Feel Insecure
Feeling insecure, you might find not having something for your mind to hold onto is a very scary thought. This is another one of the reasons not to practice mindfulness. Although mindfulness is not about doing nothing – you are training your mind to rest on what is in the present – such as the breath, or your body’s contact with the floor or the table or wall for example. These things may not be enough for your mind to rest in for you to feel secure. You may only feel secure with material things and if this is the case, mindfulness may not be for you.
You Are Very Goal Oriented
You may be so used to having a goal and not having a goal in whatever you do builds tension in you. Practising mindfulness with a goal-oriented mindset brings only tension and not relaxation. Mindfulness is about being able to relax the mind so that it doesn’t grasp onto everything it comes in touch with. You may find you need to work to a certain result by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness itself has no goals. If not having a goal in whatever you do scares you, mindfulness may also not be for you.
Who Is Mindfulness For?
The reasons to practice mindfulness would be the opposite of the reasons why not to practice mindfulness. Those who feel really tired having a busy mind, and have a sense of curiosity to explore the inner workings of the mind could try this practice.
It also helps if you are not an overly sensitive person to ideas and others’ comments or thoughts. If you are straightforward in nature, in your speech and actions, mindfulness could be something for you.
Of course, the practice of mindfulness is not suitable for anyone suffering from clinical mental conditions. I would like to add as well that although mindfulness is available to everyone in all ages, it definitely is easier for you to practice when you are still young. That is because it requires physical work such as walking and sitting for certain duration of time, especially at retreats. Also, as we age, we tend to get stuck in our ways and lose our sense of curiosity – a key mental faculty needed in mindfulness.