How mindfulness could make you selfish
How mindfulness may lead to becoming self-centered Although mindfulness has several advantages, recent study indicates that it can also lead to an increase in selfishness in certain people. M Mindfulness is thought to have a variety of beneficial effects on our psyche, including improving our self-control, sharpening our focus, expanding our working memory, and increasing our mental flexibility. With time and effort, we should be able to become less emotionally reactive, allowing us to cope with our difficulties with more serenity.
Nonetheless, according to a recent study, practicing mindfulness might actually enhance certain people’s selfish inclinations in certain situations in which they are engaged.
If you find meditation to be beneficial in other ways, this discovery should not be a reason for you to stop meditating altogether.
In meditation, the ‘I’ is referred to as the subject.
- He was particularly interested in the manner in which individuals think about themselves – what he called their “self-construal.” Some people hold a more autonomous point of view that is more concerned with personal attributes.
- The opposite is true for those who have an interdependent perspective of the world, who tend to see themselves in terms of their relationships with other people.
- Even within a single community, there will be a mix of both mindsets, but on average, interconnectedness is stronger in Asian nations such as China and India – where Buddhism began – while independence is higher in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe.
- (Photo courtesy of Getty Images) Poulin invited 366 college students into his study to explore if their reliance or independence would have an impact on the benefits of mindfulness in the Western world.
- After then, half of the participants were instructed to participate in a meditation that focused on the feeling of breathing.
- The practice may have been calming, but it was not intended to help them develop greater awareness of their surroundings.
- Afterwards, they were offered the option of stuffing envelopes with marketing materials advertising the initiative, which would be mailed to the university’s alumni – but were told they were under no duty to do so if they decided to go early.
Assuming that they were already interdependent, the persons who participated in the mindfulness exercise were willing to devote significantly more time to the philanthropic job; in all, they packed around 17 percent more envelopes than the control group.
The overall result was that they crammed approximately 15% fewer envelopes than the control group.
In this experiment, the participants were first given a brief paragraph written either in the first-person singular(I) or first-person plural(I) and then asked to rate the text (we).
After completing the meditation exercises, participants were asked whether they would be willing to dedicate time to chatting online with possible contributors for the homeless organization, in order to assess their pro-sociality.
Another finding was that the mindfulness exercise magnified the impact of the participants’ own self-perception, resulting in enhanced altruism among the interdependently oriented and decreased altruism among the more independently minded.
‘McMindfulness’ The discovery gives new ammunition for those who are critical of the mindfulness movement.
The author of the 2019 book McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality addressed the manner in which ancient practices have grown separated from the original Buddhist teachings in his book released in 2019.
In many of its newer forms in the West, on the other hand, it is sold as a tool for increasing productivity and overall performance.
Despite Poulin’s results, he was not startled by them because he had heard anecdotally of comparable impacts.
He claims that Buddhist practices have been “perverted” into “a self-focused, self-glorification mechanism.” He believes that this is the case.
“I believe it strengthens my argument that when true attention is combined with a certain setting, a monster can develop.” The Middle Way is a method of achieving a balance between two opposing viewpoints.
However, there appears to be growing concern that some of the advantages have been overhyped and that the possible negatives have been under-investigated in comparison to the benefits.
We require considerably greater disclosure regarding these less-desirable side-effects – including the possibility for increased selfish behavior — of genetic engineering.
(Photo courtesy of Getty Images) In addition, more study into the many types of mindfulness approaches is required.
If you have only a passing interest in the topic, it is possible that this is the only method you are familiar with.
Tania Singer, the head of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, has produced some of the greatest evidence for the varying impacts of the different strategies through a nine-month experiment that was carried out by her team of researchers.
Other techniques included “loving kindness meditation,” which involved deliberately thinking about our sense of connection with others – whether they were close friends or complete strangers – over a period of time.
Singer kept track of the results with extensive questionnaires, which included measurements of compassion, which showed a considerable rise following the loving-kindness meditation and pair work, among other things.
When you practice empathy, you not only learn to listen empathically, but you also learn to expose your own vulnerability.” According to her, this enabled the participants to see the “common humanity” of both happy and negative emotions – an attitude that later helped them to better cope with difficult events in their everyday lives after the study ended.
He is particularly concerned with too simplified courses that promote mindfulness as a simple method of gaining a cognitive boost in a straightforward manner.
We should be wary of any product or service that claims to provide a “fast fix” in order to modify our mental function since it has the potential to have wide-ranging effects for our behavior.
David Robson is the author of The Intelligence Trap: Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes, which is available on Amazon Kindle.
It is expected that his next book, The Expectation Effect: How Your Mindset Can Change Your World, would be released in the first quarter of 2022. He may be found on Twitter as @d a robson.
Does Mindfulness Make Me-Centric People More Selfish?
Photograph courtesy of Dmitry Demidovich/Shutterstock Its roots may be traced back to Eastern, communal cultures that seek to foster interdependence based on the principle of “all for one, one for all.” Research suggests that mindfulness training may increase selfishness in Western societies that place a high value on individualism over collectivism. Those who prioritize “me-centric” independence over “we-centric” interdependence are less likely to engage in prosocial behavior, according to the findings.
Even if it’s a qualified fact, it’s also correct “According to a news release issued on April 13, the first author, Michael Poulin, is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Buffalo.
In their study, Poulin et al.
Photograph courtesy of John Hain/Pixabay
We versus me: Can mindfulness increase selfishness?
Before giving participants mindfulness instructions or having a control group perform mind-wandering exercises in a laboratory setting, the researchers assessed their individual levels of “me-centric” independence compared to “we-centric” interdependence during the first phase of this multi-pronged study (N= 366). Before leaving the lab, research participants were told of an option to volunteer for a nonprofit organization by filling envelopes; volunteering is a characteristic of altruism and prosocial behavior, and participants were encouraged to participate.
In the second experiment, rather than simply measuring people’s baseline levels of independence or interdependence, the researchers randomly primed and encouraged study participants (N= 325) to think of themselves as more independent (individualistic) or more interdependent (collectivist) based on their previous experiences.
On the other hand, when someone was primed for interdependent self-construals, his or her chance of volunteering increased by 40%, according to the study.
Mindfulness-based therapies aren’t magic bullets.
Poulin et alcurrent .’s work isn’t the first to question the universal advantages of mindfulness, and it’s certainly not the most recent. Mindfulness academics issued a study a few years ago, titled “Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation and Prescriptive Agenda for Research on Mindfulness and Meditation,” in which they raised the alarm that mindfulness was being overhyped and called for further research to be done. Nicholas Van Dam and colleagues noted that “popular media fails to correctly convey scientific investigation of mindfulness, creating somewhat inflated claims about the possible advantages of mindfulness activities.” “For all its popularity, researchers don’t know exactly what the mindfulness version of meditation—or any other kind of meditation—does to the brain, how it influences health, and to what extent it helps physical and mental challenges,” according to a Washington Post article about this “Mind the Hype” paper and related science-based research.
According to a research published last year (Saltsman et al., 2020), mindfulness may induce people who are distressed to “sweat the small stuff” if they apply mindfulness techniques while enduring a “active stressor.” For further information, see “How Mindfulness Can Backfire in Stressful Situations.”
Mindfulness + individualism ≠ prosocial behavior
It is acknowledged by Poulin and colleagues that their latest (2021) findings of mindfulness diminishing prosocial conduct in adults with autonomous self-construals may “see counterintuitive given the popular culture’s embrace of mindfulness as an unambiguously good mental state.” It is important to note, however, that “the message here is not one that undermines the effectiveness of mindfulness.” That, adds Poulin, would be an oversimplification of the situation.
Although research reveals that mindfulness is beneficial, this study demonstrates that it is a tool rather than a prescription, and that practitioners must take a more comprehensive approach in order to avoid the possible pitfalls of the practice.
Poulin and colleagues explain the following from the standpoint of cross-cultural psychology:
Mindfulness Essential Reads
When it comes to mindfulness, Poulin and colleagues acknowledge that their recent (2021) findings of mindfulness decreasing prosocial behavior in people with independent self-construals may “appear contradictory given the popular culture’s embrace of mindfulness as an unambiguously positive mental state.” They do, however, highlight that “the message here is not one that undermines the benefits of mindfulness practice.” That, according to Poulin, is an oversimplification of the situation.
However, this study demonstrates that mindfulness is a tool rather than a prescription, and that practitioners must take more than a plug-and-play approach in order to avoid the difficulties that might arise from using it.
Poulin and colleagues explain the following from an intercultural psychological perspective:
In order to avoid a reduction in prosocial activity among individuals who hold a more individualistic worldview, the researchers suggest that encouraging people to think more about their interconnectedness with others before practicing mindfulness may be beneficial to their efforts. References Esha Naidu, Michael Poulin, Lauren Ministero, Shira Gabriel, Carrie Morrison, Michael Poulin, Lauren Ministero “Are you taking care of your own affairs? Mindfulness has been shown to reduce prosocial behavior in those who have independent self-construals.” Psychological Science is a branch of science that studies people’s thoughts and feelings (Forthcoming preprint first published: April 09, 2021) DOI:10.31234/osf.io/xhyua Thomas L.
- Seery, Deborah E.
- Radsvick, Zaviera A.
- Lamarche, and Cheryl L.
- “Facing the Facets: There is no association between Dispositional Mindfulness Facets and Positive Momentary Stress Responses During Active Stressors,” according to the study’s conclusion.
- Van Dam, Marieke K.
- Vago, Laura Schmalzl, Clifford D.
- Lazar, Catherine E.
- Field, Willoughby B.
- Brefczynski-Lewis, and David E.
“Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation and Prescriptive Agenda for Research on Mindfulness and Meditation” is a paper published in the journal Mindfulness and Meditation. Psychological Science from a Variety of Perspectives (First available online: October 10, 2017) DOI:10.1177/1745691617709589
Enough already with the mindfulness!
In recent years, mindfulness, defined as the act of focusing one’s full attention to the present moment, has gained popularity among people all over the world. The fact that a sport that has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and improve overall well-being has become increasingly popular over the past year should come as no surprise. We’ve all been dealing with a lot of stress recently, and it’s never been more difficult to calm a racing mind. On the surface, there doesn’t appear to be much to hate about mindfulness, but an intriguing new research from the University of Buffalohas discovered that there is a possible negative connected with practicing mindfulness — at least for certain people.
- Everything is determined by your personality.
- As a result, mindfulness will not make everyone selfish; rather, it will only make those who may already be predisposed toward selfish (or just independent) conduct.
- Mindfulness, on the other hand, was found to reduce prosocial activity in persons who tend to see themselves as more autonomous.” The goal of mindfulness is to feel better and more in control on an interior level.
- If mindfulness may assist someone in overcoming their anxiety and feeling more peaceful on a daily basis, it is fantastic.
- Answering this issue on an individual, case-by-case basis is the only way it can be answered.
- Whether it is due to increased selfishness or not, if someone is experiencing severe mental health difficulties, mindfulness is unquestionably a strategy that should be tried at the very least.
- According to Poulin, this would be an oversimplification of the situation.
“Interdependence vs independence” is a fundamental concept in social psychology and is discussed in depth here.
However, while extremes on either side of the spectrum are rarely healthy, one isn’t always better than another.
Furthermore, in addition to individual variances in personality, the issue of cultural disparities must be taken into consideration.
There is also variety inside each person despite these individual and cultural distinctions, and any human at different moments in time can conceive of themselves either way, in either the single or plural form,” says the author.
In order to obtain these results, the researchers conducted two experiments.
A control group was instructed in a mind-wandering activity, whereas the other was instructed in mindfulness.
According to the findings, participants in the research who had autonomous inclinations and were taught mindfulness exhibited “decreased prosocial conduct.” There were 325 participants in the second experiment, which was set up in a similar manner to the first assessment.
Clearly, the impact of mindfulness differs from person to person and is not universal.
The whole study, which was published in Psychological Science, may be seen here.
Does Mindfulness Make You Selfish?
Subscribe to Outside+ now to get unique access to all of our content, including sequences, instructor tips, video lessons, and much more. Thousands of people have jumped on the mindfulness bandwagon since Jon Kabat-Zinn introduced the world to mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in the 1970s. MBSR is a secularized practice that has its roots in ancient Buddhist and Hindu traditions. It’s no surprise that we’re attracted to the practice. A growing amount of research shows that mindfulness can help to reduce anxiety and depression, quiet our whirling brains, improve our immune system, and provide a slew of other mental and physical advantages.
Mindfulness meditation is being used by corporations to increase workplace productivity, spurred on by C-suite success stories such as Bill Gates and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, who both swear by the benefits of the practice.
Meditation for me, me, me?
Become a member of Outside+ now to have unique access to all of our articles, as well as sequences, instructor tips, video lessons, and more. Since the 1970s, when Jon Kabat-Zinn introduced the world to mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a secularized practice with roots in ancient Buddhist and Hindu traditions, we’ve been hopping on the mindfulness bandwagon. But what is mindfulness? So it’s no surprise that we’re attracted to this type of therapy. In addition to reducing anxiety and sadness, mindfulness has been shown to improve the immune system, among a slew of other mind-and-body advantages, according to the research.
Corporate leaders, such as Bill Gates and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, who are firm believers in the benefits of mindfulness meditation, are using it to increase workplace productivity.
Lean on your “limbs”
Mindfulness is a practice that, like any muscle, becomes stronger with usage, so keep that in mind before you throw away the towel on the zafu. Yoga philosophy may serve as a guidance for those who wish to maintain an open heart. Turn your attention to the yamas, which are the first of the eight limbs of yoga and define the ethical practices that yogis are expected to follow. Takeahimsa, which may be translated as “doing no harm to another person or object.” Even if you’re not thinking about other people, it appears to be a straightforward task.
- In the words of seasoned yoga instructor Judith Hanson Lasater, “being neutral is not the aim.” According to the Buddha, “Trueahimsa emerges from the distinct purpose to behave with clarity and loving kindness.” Forasteya, or non-stealing, is treated in the same way.
- A more in-depth meditation, on the other hand, may explain ways to avoid taking more than we need or taking credit for someone else’s work or ideas.
- Santosha is a practice that takes place (contentment).
- “If you are able to provide a helpful hand, please do so,” Satchidananda writes in his translation of Book 1, Sutra 33.
- Always remember to be compassionate.
As well as this: Mindfulness Can Actually Increase Anxiety. Daily Mindfulness Practices to Calm Your Mind might be beneficial at times. When You’re Feeling Stuck, Try This Mindfulness Practice.
Mindfulness can make you selfish, say psychologists. This exercise can reverse the effect
Mindfulness is a practice that, like any muscle, grows stronger with usage, so keep that in mind before you throw away the towel on your zafu. Yoga philosophy may help you maintain an open heart if you wish to do so. Turn your attention to the yamas, which are the first of the eight limbs of yoga, and which explain the ethical practices that yogis are expected to follow. “Takeahimsa,” which may be loosely translated as “doing no harm to others or things.” Even if you’re not thinking about other people, it appears to be a simple task.
- Yoga instructor Judith Hanson Lasater believes that being neutral is not the aim.
- Taking something from someone is something that most of us would never consider doing intentionally.
- To avoid falling into the trap of greed, Lasater recommends that you “be content with what you have,” as the sages have advised.
- A prescription for selfless life may also be found in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
- Always remember to be compassionate to everyone you encounter.
- According to Satchidananda, being nice to others will eventually benefit us: “Whether our kindness is going to aid that person or not, by our own sense of mercy, at the very least we are assisted.” Mindfulness is the winner in any case.
- Mindfulness Practices to Calm Your Mind on a Daily Basis Can Be Beneficial Occasionally When You’re Feeling Stuck, Try This Mindfulness Exercise.
Can mindfulness make you selfish? An in-depth analysis of a recent study.
The overall influence of mindfulness, as well as its possible negative side effects, have been the subject of recent research. As a proponent of mindfulness, I feel obligated to express my opinion and encourage more discussion on the subject. As a little side note, I launched MindfulText after my father died away in 2018 from an auto-immune condition and my mother was diagnosed with cancer shortly after. I’ll give you a brief overview of my experience here. In short, mindfulness and its practices proved to be extremely beneficial for me and my family of seven as we navigated these difficult times.
As part of this piece, I go in-depth on the article “Mindfulness can make you selfish,” as well as give more background information to further enlighten readers who are interested in how the science of mindfulness may benefit them personally and professionally.
“Mindfulness can make you selfish”
UB assistant professor of psychology Dr. Michael Poulin, PhD, worked on a research article that was picked up by media outlets with the attention-grabbing headline “Mindfulness might make you selfish,” according to his findings. In addition, it is vital to mention that the study paper’s official title is “Is it that you’re minding your own business? Mindfulness has been shown to reduce prosocial behavior in those who have independent self-construals.” Titles that attract the attention of readers are effective in reaching a larger audience.
The fact is that research, like human emotion and connection, is a complicated endeavor to do.
Let’s have a look at some definitions:
- What is the definition of prosocial behavior? The following is the definition provided by ScienceDirect, a platform for peer-reviewed literature: “Prosocial activity is a broad class of behavior characterized as including costs for the self and resulting in benefits for others.”
- What are autonomous self-construals, and how do they work? As described by the American Psychological Association, it is “a perspective of one’s self (self-construal) that emphasizes one’s separateness and distinctive characteristics and accomplishments while downplaying one’s embeddedness in a network of social interactions.”
- What are interdependent self-construals, and how do they work? “By contrast, those who have an interdependent self-construal see their intimate connections, social positions, and group affiliations as being important to their sense of self.”
With this background knowledge, readers may draw a more educated conclusion from the study: selfish conduct may occur among practitioners of mindfulness who consider themselves to be self-sufficient in their endeavors. There are still more questions, even in this setting. Let’s delve into those questions and the essential data.
Commentary on the Methodology
There are certain crucial data points to take away from this study, which are as follows: The following is the context:
- Study 1 asked participants to help their university request financial support from alumni by stuffing envelopes
- Study 2 “instead of being asked to stuff envelopes to contact donors, participants were told that they could sign up for time slots to chat online with potential alumni donors to request their financial support for the charity.”
- Study 3 “instead of being asked to stuff envelopes to contact donors, participants were told that they could sign up for time slots to chat online with potential alumni donors to request their financial support for the charity.” Participant average age was 19 years
- The majority of participants were Caucasian (53 percent)
- And the majority of participants were male (47 percent). There was a specific sort of mindfulness meditation done by the participants: mindful breathing.
Study 1 asked participants to help their university solicit financial support from alumni by stuffing envelopes; Study 2 “instead of being asked to stuff envelopes to contact donors, participants were told that they could sign up for time slots to chat online with potential alumni donors to request their financial support for the charity.”; Study 3 “instead of being asked to stuff envelopes to contact donors, participants were told that they could sign up for time slots to chat online with potential alumni donors to request their financial support.” Participant average age was 19 years; the majority of participants were white (53 percent); and the majority of participants were male.
During the workshop, participants engaged in a specific sort of mindfulness meditation: mindful breathing.
- Could there have been a more accurate way to quantify selfishness? Students’ selflessness may not be measured as well when they are asked to execute a task that directly helps the university’s brand, as is the case with this assignment. Instead, how about random acts of kindness to others
- Would the results of the research be different if the participants were from a different age group? Although data supports the notion that humans become more selfless with age, how does the impression of culture factor into the research?. Some cultures are more accommodating of children returning home to live with their parents after college, whilst other cultures encourage a more autonomous vision of life after graduation. These considerations give additional insights as to how these activities may have a varied influence on various cultures. There are a range of methods that may be used to assist individuals benefit from mindfulness practices, ranging from body scanning to guided visualizations. Is it possible that a different style of mindfulness practice might have different results?
What did the research actually conclude?
In persons with independent self-construals, mindfulness resulted in decreased prosocial conduct, whereas mindfulness resulted in improved prosocial activity in individuals with interconnected self-construals.” According to the findings of the study article, mindfulness can make you selfish, but only if you have autonomous self-construals, which is not the case. If you over-identify as independent, you may have greater amounts of independent self-construals in your brain. The research also indicates that mindfulness linked to selfless conduct among individuals who identified as reliant and connected to their communities, which is a broad term that suggests that one identifies as dependent and connected to their communities.
As a result, an equally legitimate title and topic for this study may have been: “Mindfulness Increases Altruistic Behavior.” In fact, numerous research investigations have found that this is true as well.
What can you safely take away?
Known as “the awareness that develops from paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally,” Jon Kabat-Zinn is regarded as a pioneer in the field of mindfulness meditation. For example, when we become “too selfish,” we may recognize and realize when we have over the line into unacceptable behavior. Furthermore, mindfulness has the potential to be a strong tool for changing behavior. It is feasible to use it in order to boost prosocial behavior if your goal is to do so.
- At MindfulText, this provides us with guidance on how to organize our staff, content, and initiatives in the most effective way.
- We strive to deliver the best possible outcome for everyone involved.
- Do you have any opinions on the matter?
- Please let me know.
- You can find out more about MindfulText there.
Mindfulness meditation can increase selfishness and reduce generosity among those with independent self-construals
When Yoshihiro Murata, a Japanese chef, travels, he carries water from his own country with him. It is, he claims, the only method to prepare genuinely authentic dashi, the savory broth that is vital to the preparation of Japanese food. In fact, there is scientific evidence to support his claim: water in Japan is noticeably softer than water in many other regions of the world, indicating that it contains less dissolved minerals. As a result, when people in the United States eat Japanese food, they aren’t always experiencing the authentic experience.
- Taking anything out of its geographical or cultural context frequently results in the object being changed in some way.
- However, in the United States, its ties with yoga have caused many individuals to assume that it is a spiritual term in and of itself.
- Mindfulness is a state of nonjudgmental expanded awareness of one’s experiences that is typically acquired via meditation or other contemplative practices.
- However, just a little amount of study has been conducted to determine its consequences on societies, businesses, and communities.
A booming market
In order to travel, Japanese chef Yoshihiro Murata takes with him Japanese spring water. It is, he claims, the only method to prepare genuinely authentic dashi, the savory broth that is vital to the preparation of Japanese cuisines. In fact, there is scientific evidence to support his claim: water in Japan is noticeably softer than water in many other regions of the world, which means it contains less dissolved minerals. In other words, when people in the United States eat Japanese food, they aren’t experiencing the authentic experience.
- It is common for things to alter when they are removed from their geographical or cultural contexts.
- Today’s Hindi is just a formal “hello,” which is suited for addressing one’s elders and is the equivalent of the formal “hello” used in other cultures.
- The practice of mindfulness is another cultural tradition that has evolved over time and across geographical regions.
- Numerous studies have discovered that those who practice mindfulness reap a variety of benefits from doing so.
A social psychologist at the University of Buffalo, I was concerned that the rising popularity of mindfulness was forgetting an essential point: how practicing mindfulness may have an impact on others around you.
However, in fact, there is considerable cause to question that mindfulness, as it is now practiced in the United States, would inevitably result in positive consequences. In fact, it might have the opposite effect. This is due to the fact that it has been taken out of context. Meditation and mindfulness were established as a component of Buddhism, where they are intricately linked to Buddhist spiritual teachings and ethical principles. When it comes to mindfulness in the United States, however, it is frequently taught and practiced in a strictly secular context.
However, much as different types of water might have different tastes while cooking, I was curious whether different methods of thinking about oneself could have varied affects on the consequences of mindfulness.
In particular, Americans prefer to conceive of themselves most frequently in terms of independence, with the word “I” as the central focus: “what I want,” “who I am.” People from Asian cultures, on the other hand, are more likely to conceive of themselves as interdependent, with the word “we” as the central concept: “what we want,” “who we are.” What if persons with an interdependent mindset found that paying conscious attention to their own experiences led them to naturally consider other people – and hence made them more helpful or generous?
And if that were the case, would it be true that careful attention would drive independent-minded individuals to become more focused on their own objectives and ambitions, and so cause them to become more selfish as a result of this?
Testing the social effects
The following questions were posed to my colleague at the University of Buffalo, Shira Gabriel, because she is a well-known specialist on the differences between independent and interdependent ways of thinking about the self. In response to her suggestion that this was an interesting question, we collaborated with our students Lauren Ministero, Carrie Morrison, and Esha Naidu to design and conduct a study in which 366 college students came into the lab prior to the COVID-19 pandemic to either engage in a brief mindfulness meditation or a control exercise that actually required them to wander their minds for a short period of time.
- We also looked at how much people thought of themselves as autonomous or reliant in terms of their relationships.
- At the conclusion of the trial, we asked participants whether they would be interested in assisting a charitable organization by filling envelopes to be sent to potential contributors.
- The findings have been approved for publication in the journal Psychological Science and are available online.
- Mindfulness, on the other hand, tended to make people less generous with their time in the case of those who were very independent-minded.
- In other words, the impacts of mindfulness might be different for various people depending on how they perceive themselves.
- Although water may be filtered, how individuals think about themselves is not static: we are all capable of thinking about ourselves in both independent and interdependent ways at different points in our lives.
- Researchers Marilynn Brewer and Wendi Gardner observed that all you have to do is have them read a piece that has been edited to include a lot of “I” and “me” statements or a lot of “we” and us statements, then ask them to identify all of the pronouns that appear in the passage.
- Our study team was interested in seeing if this basic impact might also be used to modify the effects of mindfulness on social conduct in a more significant way.
- Because to the COVID-19 epidemic, we had to do it online this time, but we utilized the same activities.
- Following that, we asked them whether they would be willing to give their time to contact potential contributors for a charitable organization.
For many of the persons who took part in this study, simply altering their perceptions of themselves in the present moment — filtering the water of self-related thoughts, if you will – had an impact on the effects of mindfulness on their behavior.
Attention as a tool
I sent similar concerns to Shira Gabriel, a colleague at the University of Buffalo who is a known authority on the differences between autonomous and interdependent ways of thinking about one’s own identity. In response to her agreement that this was an interesting question, we collaborated with our students Lauren Ministero, Carrie Morrison, and Esha Naidu to design and conduct a study in which 366 college students came into the lab prior to the COVID-19 pandemic to either engage in a brief mindfulness meditation or a control exercise that actually required them to wander their minds for a short period of time.
- The extent to which people thought of themselves as autonomous or reliant was also measured by the researchers.
- Towards the end of the study, we inquired as to whether participants would be interested in assisting a charity with fundraising efforts by stuffing envelopes to be sent to prospective contributors.
- The researchers found that temporarily participating in a mindfulness exercise – as opposed to mind wandering – appeared to enhance the number of envelopes interdependent-minded persons packed by 17 percent.
- After being instructed to be conscious of their actions, this group of volunteers filled 15 percent fewer envelopes than they did after being instructed to be mindless.
- Adding this metaphorical “water” to the mix of mindfulness can make a significant difference.
- To be more specific, there is a rather straightforward method for influencing people’s perceptions of themselves.
Previously conducted study has demonstrated that this simple practice consistently causes people to think of themselves in terms of independence rather than interdependence This basic result intrigued our study team, who wondered if it may possibly have an impact on the impacts of mindfulness on social conduct.
Because to the COVID-19 epidemic, we had to do it online this time, but the activities were the same.
Then we asked if anyone was interested in volunteering to contact potential donations for a charitable organization.
Despite the fact that we live in a world of distraction, mindfulness has managed to captivate our attention. There are various books available on the subject, including guides to ” A Mindful Pregnancy,” ” Mindful Parenting,” ” Mindful Politics,” ” The Mindful Diet,” and ” Mindfulness for Teachers,” among others. Mindfulness training is provided to employees by corporations, sports teams, the military, and police agencies, among other organizations. A slew of podcasts provide advice on how to live a more mindful life, as well as guided mindful meditation and interviews with mindfulness evangelists and experts.
- When mindfulness began to encroach on my specialty of psychology, especially the treatment of suicidal conduct, I became concerned.
- Of course, we’re all interested by therapies that show promise above the standard of care, especially when it comes to the most challenging situations.
- In due course, I found myself engaged in the literature and practice, sitting in a circle with my shoes off and my attention concentrated on the coldness of my breath as it struck the back of my throat.
- Yet the practice of authentic mindfulness is being taken by an impostor, and the imposter is loud and strutting enough to have displaced the original in many people’s perception of what it is.
- It extols its own virtues, promising health and spiritual purity, as well as a dash of fashionability tossed in for good measure.
- It is possible that even the best-designed and most rigorous study on mindfulness has been exaggerated.
- The cultivation of mindfulness is not the same as meditation, although contemplative techniques and exercises are frequently used in its development.
And it isn’t about relishing the present, which would need a focus on the good things in life.
It urges believers to remain impartial and nonjudgmental about all ideas, including those that are negative, such as “I am totally inadequate.” Mindfulness encourages us to take a moment to halt, contemplate, and get some distance and perspective.
Authentic mindfulness is also humble in the sense that it recognizes the self as a minuscule part of the whole.
Moreover, in addition to being attuned to the outward mingling of sensations, one is likewise and concurrently dispassionately attentive to the contents of one’s own thoughts.
Understanding that each idea is insignificant and hence not worth being worried or concerned about helps to alleviate depression and anxiety.
However, as a result of the pervasive narcissism of our day, mindfulness has become toxic, diluted, and perverted.
Some people may not be aware that they are acquiring improper breathing practices.
The whole while they are tediously, nonjudgmentally, and in the most severe situations, monstrously, fully preoccupied with their own well-being.
The practice of authentic mindfulness has always been subject to this distortion because it encourages the practice of looking inside.
While we were on retreat, we spent 90 percent of our time paying attention to our own sensations — the minute muscular changes that occurred while we were engaged in “mindful walking,” the strain spots that developed in our muscles and joints while engaged in “mindful stretching.” It’s simple to understand how this focus may be misconstrued as a negative statement.
However, encouraging an inner view among very self-interested beings is tantamount to encouraging overindulgence.
Consider the following excerpt from a recent article on the website of Mindful magazine: “How mindfulness offers you an advantage at work.” “When you are actually experiencing the moment, rather than dissecting it or becoming buried in negative thoughts, you experience a vast array of physical, emotional, and psychological advantages that are truly life changing,” says the author of the book ” 10-Minute Mindfulness.” Alternatively, consider the following advertising material for a workshop this summer co-sponsored by UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center and the University of California: In their own words, “Practitioners describe a stronger connection to themselves, more self-compassion, and more insights into their life.” The emphasis is on the person – their connection to themselves, their compassion for themselves, and their insights into their own life.
The concepts of self-compassion and self-care are connected with the widely popular notion of mindfulness, which is no surprise.
After all, according to this school of thinking, one cannot be totally present for others unless one is fully present for oneself, and one cannot be fully present unless one’s own requirements are satisfied.
It goes without saying that self-care in the sense of getting enough sleep and eating well is a good idea.
With this concern, it appears as though the concept of self compassion is a code, as well as a rationale, for doing activities that individuals already find enjoyable.
What exactly do we know about the benefits of mindfulness for ourselves?
Those advantages are also backed up by some limited scientific evidence.
“Mindfulness-based intervention greatly improves parenting,” we’ve heard several times in the last few weeks alone.
It is true that various research appear to indicate the advantages of mindfulness in the treatment of a range of health and psychological conditions.
Furthermore, under the scrutiny of rigorous and closely controlled tests, the effects of mindfulness appear to be diminishing.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, did not take a broader view of parenting.
Although the emphasis is smaller than one might expect based on the title, it’s still a worthwhile one to pursue further.
In addition to meditation and activities such as “the building of a glitter jar to relax the mind,” it included mindfulness topics such as focus and nonjudgmental acceptance.
So, what exactly was the active element that was responsible for the observed changes in parental behavior and performance?
And because there was no control group, we don’t know whether it was the success of their addiction therapy or the fact that they showed up with their children at a treatment facility for two hours a week for 12 weeks that caused the difference in their outcomes.
One of three 15-minute therapies was utilized on patients who reported unmanageable pain.
Even though the researchers conducted their research in the context of the opioid epidemic, their findings do not imply that mindfulness will play a significant role in the issue’ eventual resolution.
Furthermore, the mindfulness group did not demonstrate any statistically significant reduction in the perceived need for opioid prescription.
Nonetheless, mindfulness proponents point to research like these as proof positive of the extraordinary efficacy of the practice of mindfulness.
They were not very supportive of a mindfulness-based approach, however, according to their outstanding 2014 study, which included a large and representative sample of people.
Further, around half of the participants in the trial reported relapse of depression, regardless of whether they were allocated to the antidepressant plus mindfulness with meditation group, the antidepressant plus mindfulness without meditation group, or the antidepressants alone group.
Mindfulness has many benefits, and I don’t want to imply that we should completely disregard them.
They discovered that mindfulness can help to decrease sunk-cost bias, which occurs when we resist giving up on a project or lowering our losses.
It’s also worth mentioning that other studies shows that mindfulness may have the opposite effect.
To begin, all of the participants were instructed to remember a 15-word list, with each term relating to the notion of trash (for example, “rubbish,” “waste,” “junk,” and so on).
Close to 40% of the mindfulness group members incorrectly claimed to have seen the term “garbage,” compared to around 20% of the control group participants (who had been advised to think about whatever they liked).
Mindfulness, as widely preached and practiced, may be a source of distraction in and of itself.
However, it exacerbates the current trend for navel-gazing, while also requiring us to resist portions of our nature that are beneficial.
Humans have evolved to distinguish figure from background, to differentiate between options, and to make decisions on an almost automatic basis.
And, when we are completely involved in an activity, in a state of flow, it might be beneficial to lose track of time and our own thoughts.
It is interesting to note that, in contrast to much of the excessive praise lavished on mindfulness, there is compelling evidence that the repetition of some activities, such as aerobic walking, even if done completely mindlessly, may be beneficial to one’s overall health.
You might want to try taking a walk instead of reading mindfulness books, attending retreats, or purchasing a mindful [email protected] Read more from Outlook and stay up to date with us on Facebook and Twitter.