The mindfulness craze is still going strong, with articles in today’s New York Times about the positive benefits of mindfulness for kids and techniques for teaching mindfulness to children. Scientists have known for a long time that training the brain to concentrate on the breath and body has potential positive long-term benefits on everything from emotional regulation to executive functioning. (In other words, mindfulness meditation can make us calmer and happier.) But it’s cool to see these ideas continue to gain mainstream traction.
Still, I can’t help but think of mindfulness and the cupcake craze (now come and mostly gone, according to reputable sources) as somewhat similar. Our culture gets excited about an idea, whether it be cupcakes or mindfulness, and then we start to see if everywhere, and then … poof. Something else that’s shinier or newer catches our attention. Cupcakes are just the start. Almost everything that comes into fashion or that enters the mainstream consciousness eventually fades out of view for most of us.
As someone with a daily meditation practice, I suppose I should feel invested in this particular craze for mindfulness sticking around. Wouldn’t we all be more relaxed if we had access to the set of coping skills that mindfulness provides? Absolutely. But I also know that no particular technique or tool can serve as a magic pill. There are lots of ways to grow, heal, and change, and mindfulness is just one avenue. It will be exciting to see what craze comes next.