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23 Feb 2018
Doing rather than Being!
Mindfulness is now a popular word in the modern psyche, but 10+ years ago it was unheard of. But its possible as we move into 2018 and beyond that a new approach will take over in terms of optimising mental health and overall wellbeing – in the form of ‘mindlessness’.
In simple terms, mindlessness is the act of doing rather than being, whereas mindfulness is ‘being in the moment’. Mindfulness as an approach owes a lot to the Buddhist framework, a type of meditative process, that teaches you to not worry about the future, or dwell on the past but to be in the moment. Used properly it was thought to reduce stress, but it takes time and practise to achieve results. And there in lies the problem, for many people that are already feeling overwhelmed and are struggling to fit everything in, having to practise mindfulness can seem like just another chore on a very long to do list.
The new approach, turns away from the focusing internally too much, as for some people constantly monitoring their thoughts is actually damaging to wellbeing rather than life-enhancing. If you are struggling to understand the difference, then looking to how children play, can explain what is meant by mindlessness. Children when playing are enjoying themselves, and are totally caught up in the activity they are doing. Their attention is on the game they are playing and not on anything else. So, in adulthood the secret to mindlessness is perhaps to find an activity that allows you to free your mind!
Crafts are popular choices, like knitting or sewing – as they are fun, produce something lovely at the end, and need you to concentrate to a certain level on the pattern etc. Interacting with friends, family and loved ones – takes our minds off the stresses of the day, and means we are less likely to let worrying thoughts creep in. Helping others, it could be as simple as passing the time of day with someone, opening a door, helping with homework to being thankful for small things.
Equally there are some activities that are perhaps not as suited to mindlessness, for example running – whilst it is great for your health, and does carve out ‘me time’, it is often done as a solitary activity and the aloneness and quiet, can often give a person plenty of time to ruminate over their problems. Some people will find this helpful, they will use this time to wind down, pound out any frustrations and solve niggles they didn’t know where bothering them, but for others they will come back even more stressed and confused having spent time letting all thoughts run around their head.
Part of mindlessness is about letting go of the need to be perfect, you don’t need to feel like you should analyse every aspect of your personality and day-to-day actions looking for flaws to fix. It is okay to embrace your imperfections, everybody has them, it is what makes us unique.
As with all practises, some approaches will suit more than others. If you struggle with negative thoughts that leave you feeling anxious and stuck, and mindfulness has not worked for you in the past, then why not try mindlessness and see if it makes a difference…Tweet