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Health Fusion: Messing up the meaning of mindfulness

Mindfulness. What does that mean, exactly? In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams looks at a new study that shows most people understand the concept of mindfulness, but they don't use it correctly.

Mindfulness is about accepting challenges and engaging with them. But the engaging part is what people are missing. That's according to research published in the journal Clinic Psychology Review. Study authors say instead of engaging with obstacles, people tend to avoid them.

People got into mindfulness after research showed it helped with stress relief and other health issues.

“Scientific understanding of mindfulness goes beyond mere stress-relief and requires a willingness to engage with stressors,” says Dr. Igor Grossmann , a study author from the University of Waterloo. “It is, in fact, the engagement with stressors that ultimately results in stress relief. More specifically, mindfulness includes two main dimensions: awareness and acceptance.”

But instead of acceptance, Grossman and his team found people use avoidance. And avoidance gets us nowhere.

As an example, Grossman applies the concept of mindfulness to the divisiveness on social media. He says it won't solve everything, but through an understanding and then acceptance of others' viewpoints, people might be able to have meaningful discussions.

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So, to gain stress relief and other health benefits through mindfulness, you have to be aware of challenges and be willing to accept them without ignoring them.

Follow the Health Fusion podcast on Apple , Spotify , and Google Podcasts.

For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at vwilliams@newsmd.com . Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

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