Why “mindfulness” and “passive acceptance” should not be confused


  • The practice of mindfulness, which consists of focusing only on the present moment to better accept and engage in life’s challenges, is often poorly practiced by its followers.
  • Most often, lay people confuse acceptance of difficulties with passivity or avoidance, which undermines the scope of this philosophy inherited from Buddhism.

For ease the painto better manage stress, to sleep betterfor losing weight and even improve your school results… In recent years, there has been no shortage of studies praising the benefits of mindfulness. Omnipresent in Asian culture, this philosophy has its roots in the Buddhist religion and is gaining more and more followers in the West. Often linked to the practice of meditation, it consists of detaching your mind from all forms of distraction to focus your attention on the present moment. The goal of this method is to take the time to refocus on yourself, on your observations and your feelings without passing judgment or expecting anything in return.

But, according to a study conducted by the universities of Toronto and Guelph (Canada), and published in the journal Clinical Psychology Reviewmost people seeking to practice mindfulness confuse it with passive acceptance of problems.

“The scientific understanding of mindfulness goes beyond simple stress relief and requires a willingness to engage with stressors, underlines Igor Grossmann, author of the study and professor of social psychology. It is, in fact, the engagement with the stressors that ultimately results in stress relief. Specifically, mindfulness includes two main dimensions: awareness and acceptance.

Mindfulness to stay open to others

To reach the conclusion that mindfulness was often poorly practiced by its adherents, the researchers began by assessing how people understand and apply the concept in their daily lives. They found that, in practice, most people confuse acceptance with passivity or avoidance.

“Although we found that people seem to conceptually understand that mindfulness involves engagement, the general public is not walking the talk. Our findings suggest that lay people can understand what mindfulness is, but that the next step, acceptance, may not be well understood, limiting the potential for engagement in the face of issues“, details Ellen Choi, lead author of the article and assistant professor of organizational behavior.

Yet, says Professor Grossmann, the ability to be mindful of others’ perspectives has never been more important. The proof with the hatred disseminated online via social networks. “Mindfulness may not provide an easy answer to the division around us, but a sharp understanding that includes the practice of acceptance can herald the re-emergence of sincere discussion and authentic connection.”

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Why “mindfulness” and “passive acceptance” should not be confused

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