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Recommended Link: The Myths of Mindfulness

There’s an interesting article by  just out on the Greater Good website. It explains the scientific evidence relating to certain misgivings about mindfulness that are circulation. There are four myths she addresses in all. Well worth a look. Below is a short extract: for the full post see link.

New research corrects some common misconceptions about cultivating moment-to-moment awareness.

Mindfulness meditation can help us lead happier, healthier lives . . . at least according to science. Yet many of us still balk at the idea of practicing it ourselves. Perhaps we fear that meditation is too new agey, or it might slow us down or lead to complacency. Some might fear mindfulness could come at the expense of productivity, a moral compass, or even the vitality that gives us our edge.

But new research studies bust some of the common myths around mindfulness meditation. Rather than making us blissfully tuned out or carefree, mindfulness meditation may actually make it easier for us to take a moral stand, be persistent in achieving our goals, and be more energetic in our lives—even our sex lives!

Here are some of the myths of mindfulness and the research that counteracts those myths.

. . .

Myth #3: Mindfulness makes you turn inward and become more isolated

When I first heard about mindfulness, this was a concern of mine. Will I turn into some kind of new-age person who is, frankly, self-absorbed and kind of out of it?

Apparently not, say the results of several research studies. If anything, mindfulness makes our social relationships stronger—perhaps by helping us to better regulate difficult emotions like anger or resentment. And, though mindfulness may be developed via an inward practice like meditation, it still helps us to connect with the suffering of others and want to reach out to help them—something that definitely builds social capital.

In one recent study, participants were assigned to witness a scenario in which one player was excluded from a digital ball game. Through some clever designs, the researchers were able to show that people who did a very brief mindfulness practice were more likely to express sympathy to the excluded player and to throw the ball to them more often in a subsequent game. In fact, neuroscience studiesshow that you can actively practice having more compassion for others through mindfulness practices, and it seems to affect your brain in ways that make you more attuned to their suffering and more likely to help.

So, rather than turning you inward, it seems as if mindfulness could be a useful social glue and actually strengthen relationships. It may even have more impact if you meditate together!

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