• Juan Jose reyes M.D.

What Mindfulness is not

Mindfulness meditation is about experiencing and accepting the present moment and in that sense is different from other styles of meditation. Studies on the benefits of meditation have been done on people that practice mindfulness meditation so it’s important to know what mindfulness is not.

1-IT IS NOT VISUALIZATION: Mindfulness is about being present and focusing on what’s happening right now in this moment. Visualization usually involves imagining the future or a different place or situation, which takes you out of the present.

2-IS IT NOT THE REPETITION OF MANTRAS: Mantras involve focusing the attention on a specific phrase or words. Mindfulness is about making the body the object of attention to help strengthen the mind-body connection. This connection is important to get the all the health benefits of meditation.

3-IT IS NOT REPEATING AFFIRMATIONS. Similar to mantras, affirmations are the repetition of sentences or statements to develop a more positive attitude and create confidence. Mindfulness meditation is accepting the present situation, whatever that is, knowing that only when we accept our present situation we can actually start changing it.

4-IT IS NOT A RELAXATION TECHNIQUE. Relaxation is usually a side effect of practicing mindfulness meditation but is not the main objective, which is simply being present and experiencing whatever is happening right now. By training the mind to stay present we activate the part of the nervous system that brings calm and balance and creates a sense of wellbeing.

5-IT IS NOT A QUICK FIX TO PROBLEMS: Achieving the health benefits and reshaping the brain takes time and constant practice. Just like going to the gym the more time you put into it the more benefits you will see. Mindfulness is a way of being rather than a quick solution.

As Jon Kabat-Zinn says "..Mindfulness is practiced for its own sake and cultivated daily regardless of circumstances , ..mindfulness is a path or a way..." .