Mindfulness Doesn’t Work For Everyone

We have written a lot about mindfulness. It’s often made fun of as being new age or self-indulgent. But, using ancient breathing practices and calming techniques, you can train yourself to stay in the moment that helps you focus, remain calm, have a better memory, a better mood, break bad habits and more. With so many proven benefits, we’re not willing to just laugh it off.

However, if you have tried breathing techniques multiple times and found yourself getting nothing from them, mindfulness might not be right for you. A study with more than 11,600 people found that training people in mindfulness improved their anxiety and depression levels. But, not everyone saw improvements. That’s a shame considering it’s you can learn mindfulness practices online and do them by yourself anywhere. Studies before have claimed the results were universal.

One particular misconception that this study clears up is the assumption that mindfulness training is universally good and works for everyone, everywhere,” said one of the study's authors Dr. Julieta Galante, a research fellow at the department of psychiatry at the Univ. of Cambridge. “Our findings reveal a positive but more nuanced picture."

The study doesn’t mean you should write off mindfulness’ usefulness. People have found great benefits from it. It just shows that it isn’t right for everyone.

It doesn't mean that mindfulness isn't helpful," Dr. Neda Gould, director of the Mindfulness Program at Johns Hopkins Univ., stressed. “We have tons of research pointing to how it can help with anxiety, stress, blood pressure, pain and other concerns, but we can't make blanket statements that these programs are helpful for every person in every situation."

The good news is, it is free to try. And, unlike other courses of treatment, there aren’t any harmful repercussions from meditation, even if you don’t see any benefits. Dr. Galante found that people who received more training in mindfulness got more out of it. She suggested taking a course, perhaps with video chats as we’re all socially distancing. If you’re not interested in spending money, you could try learning the practices with a friend or family member and supporting one another. You can see if you like it before you invest in a course where you spend money on it.  

You should reach out to a doctor if you feel stress, anxiety, depression or other mood problems. With everything going on in the world, many people are struggling, and doctors are qualified to help you. They know your medical history, medications and personality. Your doctor can help you find a plan for yourself. Mindfulness could be a part of that. As a tool in your everyday life, it can be helpful but don’t feel guilty or like you’re doing something wrong if you don’t see a boost!   

Banner image: Pixabay via Pexels
January 27, 2021
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