Fundamentals of Mindfulness: Effortless

November 23, 2021

We adopt the effort as a way of life almost as soon as we are born. We learn to walk, talk, read and write. Effort helps us move forward toward our goals, whether at school, at work, or in relationships. But it can also feel like constant pressure to be “doing” or to be something different, to feel something different, or to do something else. Sometimes it can be difficult to accept who and where we are without trying to change or control it. And while effort can help us achieve our goals, the practice of do not it is just as important. This is where non-effort comes in.

No effort

What is not trying?

Not striving is the ability to let go of the constant “doing” and focus only on the “being.” The goal of mindfulness meditation is to pay attention to your way of being in the moment, focusing on not doing instead of doing. Just to watch and allow you to experience anything and everything from time to time without judgment.

Not striving is accepting yourself as you are, right here, right now. And that includes the bad with the good. It frees us from living in future goals or past worries, so that we can embrace the possibility and the calm that comes with accepting ourselves and the moment as it is, without trying to change it.

As the father of consciousness-based stress reduction programs said, Jon Kabat-Zinn,

[T]o In fact, being in a place where … just letting things be as they are, is tremendously nourishing and healing … What is already here is good enough. Although not pleasant at this time, it is good enough. We must not try to escape, fix it or make anything happen. “

What is difficult for many of us to surround our minds with is that even when we are sitting and physically doing nothing, we may still be struggling mentally.

No effort

How it might help not to struggle

To understand how the practice of not striving might help, let’s first take a look at the impact, both positive and negative, of effort.

Let’s start simple. Merriam Webster defines “striving” as “devoting serious effort or energy; fighting the opposition.”

Today, for many of us, it seems like a daily task to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves in our career and personal life. While there are undeniable positive aspects of having goals and knowing where we want to go in life, there is a difference between that and pushing ourselves to our limits or over-exerting ourselves.

In fact, a study found that while people with type A personalities “achieved” more than their counterparts, they also experienced much more irritation and impatience, which many studies have found correlated with numerous health problems (2).

When we live the latter and spend our days busy, sometimes with a purpose and sometimes because we don’t have to sit down with our thoughts, we can often avoid or “unlearn” how to deal with uncomfortable feelings that can affect our physique. emotional and mental well-being.

Listen to Leah Weiss on the Untangle podcast where she shares various practical tools for finding our purpose and aligning our goals and values ​​so that we can live our best lives.

The Busy Trap

If, for example, you were watching a lion in the savannah, your brain would prepare you to fight or flee by activating your sympathetic nervous system and pumping norepinephrine (adrenaline) all over your body. To help you survive, your body reduces energy to non-vital systems so that it can give maximum energy to tighten our muscles, increase our breathing, and increase our blood pressure and heart rate. At certain times, we recover easily from stress (3). But when we avoid these stressful thoughts, they can affect our body.

Research has found that long-term chronic stress can:

  • Decrease immune function
  • Slow healing
  • Increases susceptibility to viral infections
  • Increases the risk of stomach ulcers
  • Increases plaque buildup in arteries (atherosclerosis)
  • Increases risk of heart disease, stroke, blood clots and aneurysm due to plaque buildup (4)

It is fair to say that when left unchecked, stress can have a very real and very damaging impact on our lives. Your best bet is to get ahead. Instead of waiting until you reach your limit and find that you need time to recover, fill up your tank as you go! One way to do this is to cultivate the attitude of not striving: conscious meditation.

Do not strain, meditate

Conscious and effortless meditation

Not striving is a foundation of awareness that can be useful for people who deal with negative thoughts and emotions. A study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that the attitude of not striving could be caused by redundant activities without goals, such as meditation (5). So give it a try now. Take 5 minutes to sit quietly and concentrate on breathing. When you feel the urge to try or change things, notice it without judging. Allow yourself to truly relax and allow whatever happens to you with a compassionate conscience as it happens.

Benefits of Effortless Meditation

While the impact of meditation is unique to each person’s practice, research suggests that meditation can provide a particularly powerful way to cope with stressful thoughts, mental performance, and overall well-being.

For example, a systematic review of 47 studies found that conscious meditation enhanced participants ’experiences of anxious thoughts, depression, and pain (6). Another study found that meditation helped lower blood pressure, improve emotional coping skills, and decrease emotional distress for college students at risk for high blood pressure (7). And according to research by the University of Washingtonemployees in a high-stress environment who did meditation training were able to stay more focused and work beyond distractions (8).

Although more research is needed to know how, why, and for whom meditation can help, what is clear is this: continuous meditation practice can help improve overall well-being, mental performance, and stress management.

Tips for cultivating a no-effort attitude

1. Learn to accept disaster

The effort prevents us from being present, and contrary to popular belief: it does not alter your goals. In fact, learning to slow down and letting go of the effort to just be here and now can help shrink your monkey brain and help you think more clearly and productively. So instead of trying to make your way through your goals, learn to accept disaster!

2. Mindful Meditation

The best ways to practice the elusive attitude of not striving seem to be through activities that have no goals or have built-in uselessness, so that our minds do not try to achieve them or strive (5). Conscious meditation can serve as one of these activities, where the goal is not to cultivate a new state of mind, but to embrace the unrelated and with the flexibility to let thoughts and feelings come and go as they please.

If you find yourself struggling with meditation at first, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many find it guided meditations it can help by providing a point of contact to focus on when the mind begins to wander without taking advantage of the achievement of goals or effort. Muse biofeedback Soundscapes it can also help you tune your body and help you focus on the present moment.

Are you excited to start your meditation practice effortlessly, but don’t know where to start?

Discover Muse’s over-collection 500 guided meditationswith meditations led by over 20 meditation experts and teachers designed for stress, performance, sleep, and more.


  1. Learn more about: the mindful attitude of not striving 5 through mindfulness-based stress reduction training HERE>
  2. Discover: do it without losing it: type A, motivation for achievement and revised scientific achievement HERE>
  3. Read Understanding the Harvard Business Review Stress Response HERE>
  4. Discover: life event, stress and illness HERE>
  5. Explore: Effects of a Strange, Short Loop Task on Immediate Comparison of Word Length: A Study of Non-Effort Awareness HERE>
  6. Read: Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-Being: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis HERE>
  7. Explore the impact of transcendental meditation on blood pressure, mental distress, and coping HERE>
  8. Explore: The Effects of Mindfulness Meditation Training on Multitasking in a Highly Stressful Information Environment HERE>

#Fundamentals #Mindfulness #Effortless

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