While mindfulness has become a popular way to reduce stress and maintain wellbeing, a new study involving a University of Guelph researcher has found people practise it incorrectly.
Dr. Jamie Gruman, a professor in U of G’s Lang School of Business, says many people confuse the practice with passive acceptance of a problem.
Published in Clinical Psychology Review, the study looked at popular conceptions of mindfulness.
Rooted in Buddhist religious practice, mindfulness became more popular after clinical research began reaffirming its potential for reducing stress and improving well-being. However, when the researchers compared popular interpretations of mindfulness to evaluate how people understand and apply the concept in their daily lives, they found that many confuse acceptance with passivity or avoidance.
“Our results suggest that laypeople may understand what awareness is, but the next step of acceptance may not be well understood, limiting potential for engaging with problems,” says Dr. Ellen Choi, lead author on the paper and organizational behaviour professor at Ryerson University.
Based on these findings, Gruman says, what’s needed is a “contextualized mindfulnessframework” that the average person can follow and understand.