Mindfulness is a psychological technique that has become enormously popular in recent years and that this has happened makes a lot of sense.

Beyond the advertising campaign that has been built around it and that in unfamiliar minds makes Mindfulness even a complete psychological therapy, the tranquility and peace that is associated with this type of meditation responds to the search for a space of stillness in this frenetic world.

From its Buddhist roots, mindfulness invites us to stop and look into the present. Not only seeing it, but observing and savoring it at all levels. He is not without reason since after so much going forward, we forget to live in the now .

What is mindfulness?

Its translation into Spanish would be that of full consciousness . This mindfulness must be in the present, in the moment. It is an attitude that leads us to pay attention to what we do and perceive at all times in order to be more aware of reality . Live more outward than inward; more towards reality than towards our internal discourse.

Jon Kabat-Zinn introduced mindfulness to Western psychology. He pularized mindfulness highlighting its origins in Eastern Buddhist culture. This technique has been strongly incorporated into third-generation therapies of the behavioral approach. The new psychology based on the theory of functional contextualism.

What is mindfulness not?

Due to its Buddhist origin, mindfulness is not an ethically neutral concept . And maybe this is what makes it sometimes so difficult to learn or not be fully accepted by people in the West. Simplifying, Buddhist philosophy proposes freeing yourself from any kind of desire or aspiration in order to focus on the present. This pretext directly contradicts our day to day life and makes it very difficult for mindfulness to be part of our lives.

Added to this difficulty we find the belief that practicing mindfulness is something simple. Yes, it is true that it is accessible and inexpensive, but it has little to do with easy technique . As with many things that we have not done before, it requires a lot of training time and a progression of exercise until it can be implemented on a day-to-day basis. End up being able to give us moments of mindfulness and enjoyment in the day.

On the other hand, the rise of mindfulness has been accompanied by the development of a positive psychology that has made it practically synonymous with joy or even happiness. Nothing is further from reality. The philosophy of mindfulness invites us to experience the complete reality , which also implies living deeply the unpleasant .

What is mindfulness for?

Mindfulness is a developing technique that, being so popular, has been attributed a multitude of beneficial effects and properties for mental and physical health.

Taking a look at the existing scientific evidence , it can be seen how these positive results are not so clear. The results of the studies are frankly contradictory.

We will take as a reference the free access published by PLOS ONE in 2015, which takes into account the results of more than twenty reviews on studies in which mindfulness was used.

The work concludes that both mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy produce a significant improvement in symptoms in patients with diagnoses of depression, anxiety and stress. This improvement is accompanied by an increase in their quality of life and daily functioning.

The therapies have also proven their efficacy in the psychological treatment of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic pain and disease prevention in children and adults.

What is mindfulness not for?

Although it has been glimpsed throughout the text, it must be said directly that mindfulness is not a psychological therapy . It should be understood as a technique like the more traditional relaxation techniques that it is not at all equivalent to (the objective behind each one is different).

As a technique by itself, the effects it produces are variable, but in no case do they solve or cure important psychological problems or give us happiness. As much as the slogans of those pseudoscientific workshops promise it that they promise everything.

It may help us to relate to reality in another way, to experience it differently, but mindfulness does not modify reality , nor does it solve problems .

As can be extracted from the results of the review, within a more complete therapeutic strategy that encompasses the entire problem, mindfulness is beneficial for some symptoms or disorders but not for all .

In the same way that it does not work for any case, it does not have to be useful for everyone . If you try mindfulness and it does not go with you, it is not a failure. We can always look for an alternative that is more beneficial to us.

In conclusion, the utility of miindfulness is relative to the case and the person. However, if we want to learn to practice it or we want it to be part of the psychological care that they provide us, what is not relative is the importance of making sure we know that who treats us is a professional psychology, collegiate and with training in the mindfulness practice. 

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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