Why I think airy-fairy meditations are a waste of your time
MINDFULNESS MEDITATION SEEMS to be quite the magic pill in a time when our western society copes with the highest number ever of people suffering from chronic stress and burnout. A staggering 65% of US inhabitants report to experience stress and anxiety on a daily basis, which drains their relationships and wellbeing.
Meditation can be great if approached properly. If not approached properly, it’s stressful, exhausting and unfulfilling.
In this article I will show you why meditation is a waste of time if you live a busy life. But let’s first get some things about meditation straight.
What you suppose meditation is about
What meditation really is about
watching your always busy thought process without judgement
not allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by good or bad thoughts
I hope we can agree that this is quite a difference, right? :-)
The great misconception about meditation
Trying to stop your brain from producing thoughts is simply not possible. Not while working, not while relaxing, not while meditating, not even while sleeping. The human brain produces thoughts… until it is damaged or dead.
Meditating while hoping to stop the thinking process thus is physically impossible. And so the promised relief of deep relaxation during a meditation session is hard to find, since the brain simply continues its task of producing all sorts of thoughts.
And while meditating there are no distractions and the brain is free to go overboard, meditation actually activates the brain. No wonder after a meditation session you often feel as if you haven’t done your best, leaving you stressed and unfulfilled.
Even if meditation would be relaxing… how would you take this relaxed mindset into you everyday life?
Well... you won’t. If you meditate or practise yoga, you must recognise this scenario: during your yoga session you might feel wonderfully relaxed and zen. But as soon as you arrive at work and learn that you have been given a ridiculously tight deadline, you will stress out just as if you never had that wonderfully relaxing session.
But what about all those rave test results that mindfulness research offers?
Mindfulness meditation has been tested by hospital patients and prison inmates. And the results are stunning. The very ill patients reported that they experienced less anxiety and less pain and an increase of the quality of life. And a staggering 90% of the inmates who participated in mindfulness meditation give up on their criminal career once they are released.
Obviously, these are super-good results, but wait – there is a drawback: the circumstances in which these tests were conducted, were highly exceptional. In a hospital or a prison there is no ‘normal’ life. Also, the mindfulness meditation and exercises are offered every single day, under the intensive guidance of professionals. Let’s be honest: in such extraordinary circumstances mindfulness meditation would definitely work for us too!
But your reality is that there isn’t a team of psychology professionals at your service who kindly feed you your daily portion of mindfulness meditation. The reality is that you’re busy with your family life and with your career and with paying your debt and with coping with health issues, and on most days you have no time to meditate at all.
So why not try a different approach that is not consuming your precious time and gives you better results in the long term?
My approach is no-nonsense and very easy to practise on a daily basis: it’s being mindful in everything you do.
This for me has been the best way to anchor mindfulness in my life and make chronic stress and depression a thing of the past. Mindfulness in everything you do is easy and you can firmly rely on it while dealing with all the challenges that life throws at you during the day.
You meditate or consider taking up meditation because you want to be calm and balanced, especially in stressful situations…
when you’re feeling pressured
when you’re feeling rejected
when you’re sad about what happened to you in the past
In short: when your busy thoughts work overtime and you can’t seem to liberate yourself from your suffocating thinking process that goes round and round and round.
Well, this might work during the meditation session (but just as often it won’t). But for sure it won’t work while in a stressful situation, because you won’t be in your meditation state-of-mind then, right? So how could you calm yourself down and respond sensibly when you find yourself right in the middle of a stressful event? Run out of the meeting and meditate? Jump out of the car and meditate? Ask your spouse to stall your explosive argument for 45 minutes so you can meditate and get calm again?
You want to feel relaxed and balanced throughout the day, without being dragged into your own or other people’s drama.
When you practise mindfulness in every simple task you do throughout the day, you will experience less stress because it won’t be able to build up to unhealthy levels, and you will respond to drama differently, less easily overwhelmed, with a clear mind and a calm heart. Ultimately, when you’re balanced and calm throughout the day, you’ll notice that the number of daily dramas and stressful events will start to drop significantly.
P.S. Would you like to learn how to reduce stress and drama? Then buy my digital Karma Kickstart course today. You don't have to learn to meditate, but you can start right away with super practical exercises which adapt easily to your everyday routines. With my approach you don't have to plan or schedule – you simply practise with your daily tasks.
So check out Karma Kickstart now and start a new life free from worrying and overthinking.