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Mindfulness is one of the most sought-after commodities in the US. Many best-selling authors, motivational speakers, and life coaches owe their success to the huge thirst for mindfulness in the US.

Mindfulness and meditation are great ways to free your mind and get in touch with your inner-self. They are also a great stress release and can be correctly termed as ‘good for your health.’

Employees training on mindfulness

However, is there such a thing as too much self-awareness, and does it have effects? To answer this, researcher s from the University of Buffalo, NY, conducted a study on the negative effects of mindfulness.

Apart from relieving stress, mindfulness can enhance a general sense of well-being. As a result, 20% of all employers in the US offer some form of mindfulness training for their employees.

The researchers realized that although the intentions behind mindfulness are good, the training that teaches the individuals to look inward instead of outwards for solutions has some negative effects. Study author and Associate Professor Michael Poulin, Ph.D., says that mindfulness can make you selfish. He continues to note that for interdependent people, mindfulness can make them pro-social. For independent people, on the other hand, mindfulness makes them less social.

Poulin, however, adds that this doesn’t mean that the training doesn’t work. The training helps make better employees and better people in general when implemented right. He observes that mindfulness should be more of a suggestion and not a prescription that one has to follow rigidly. It should be easy just to apply it where need be.

Mindfulness and selfishness

In the first exercise, participants were asked to do activities that required a social effort. After the activity, the participants were told about a charitable organization that they could volunteer in.

In the second activity, the participants were engaged in an activity that required mindfulness. They were then informed of the same opportunity as the first group.

After the mindfulness training, the researchers observed that the participants were less willing to offer their time for a charitable cause. Poulin finishes by saying that we should learn how to get the most out of mindfulness while still keeping it as a tool, not a prescription.