Reflections on "The Muddied Meaning of Mindfulness"

Mindfulness meditation is gaining popularity for many types of people. People are using this non-secular type of meditation focused on being present in the moment for many reasons: to reduce stress, increase concentration, become more productive, relax and take time for themselves. There is ample research supporting the benefits of mindfulness and countless individuals who use mindfulness and have had positive experiences with it. We are two of them!

Mindfulness is generally regarded as a positive thing, which is why this article recently published in the New York Times was interesting to us. This article shares a critical view on the broad use of the word “mindful” and of the techniques of mindfulness.

A point that stood out to us is the use of mindfulness to increase productivity in the workplace. This article suggests that workplace mindfulness may simply be a way to get employees to work harder with no reward to the worker. The article also suggests that as mindfulness becomes more mainstream, other strategies to reduce stress and relax, like taking a nap or having a cocktail are seen in a negative way.

What we like about mindfulness is the focus on the “now”. We all have many responsibilities, demands, stresses and items on the go at once, and it is easy to feel frazzled and overwhelmed. Mindfulness can be one way to feel, if even only for a moment, like you can focus and you can concentrate on one thing at a time.

When discussing the impact on work, this article didn’t mention how mindfulness can be used in other areas of life as well. If someone is practicing mindfulness at work with the goal of being more productive, they can also use these mindfulness techniques at home and during leisure activities. They may be able to enjoy these activities more when not thinking about other responsibilities they have.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this article! Do you agree with the critical appraisal? Do you have experience using mindfulness? What do you like about it? Let us know in the comments below!