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  • Writer's pictureStacy Taylor, LCSW

Mindlessness Meditation?

Practically everyone is practicing mindfulness meditation. It's being promoted in the classrooms, businesses, even at your local Kaiser.

The idea is that by paying attention to your thoughts, you can get a handle on them. But what if your thoughts, instead, get a handle on you?

Mindfulness meditation can be helpful for some people. But there is a dark side, which has been dubbed a "Dark Night of the Soul." In these instances, people actually feel worse, not better. And, in some cases, people have actually developed severe anxiety and depression, especially if they are prone to these issues.

What might be a problem with mindfulness? Our thoughts can be a rabbit hole of misery. If we pay close attention, we may notice doubt, shame, and lots of fear. So paying uber attention to them may create agitation. Also, mindfulness can lead to a relentless self-focus, as in continually monitoring your thoughts.

I don't think there is a one-step-fits-all approach to matters such as meditation. For some people it helps. For others, it's too boring and makes them restless. And for others, it may create more distress than anything else.

Is "Mindlessness" better? Sometimes. Your thoughts are not always your friend; same with your emotions.

There are times to notice what you are thinking in order to gain insight and direction. But it may be better at other times to ignore thoughts and feelings, distract yourself, and fix your mind on something cheerful and positive. As the old bumper sticker reads, "Don't believe everything that you think."

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