5 Reasons To Be Mindless

Could being mindless lead to a happier, healthier you?

Happiness – we’re all after it. In fact, we have become slightly obsessed with it in recent years. The concept of ‘mindfulness’ has recently emerged, which essentially means ‘conscious awareness’. Mindfulness has been used in self-help theories, implying that you will find happiness if you train yourself to think positively, believe in yourself and shun negative emotions. This trend has grown hugely, with sales of self-help and mindfulness books soaring, such as ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ by Richard Carlson (Hodder) – a global bestseller. We truly have become fixated on gaining (and maintaining) positivity, and ultimately achieving contentment, fulfilment and happiness.

But with depression and suicide rates at an all-time high, is this really working? We are undoubtedly seeking happiness more than ever before, but we do not seem to be any happier. So are mindfulness and other such positive-thinking techniques really helpful? Not according to two psychologists who saying being mindless is the answer.

Psychologists Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener explain in their new book, ‘The Power of Negative Emotion’ (Oneworld Publications) the importance of being mindless. The book seeks to explain ‘how anger, guilt and self-doubt are essential to success and fulfilment’.

Kashdan and Biswas-Diener suggest that instead of seeking happiness, we should attempt to achieve wholeness, meaning we should accept all emotions as essential to our wellbeing and potential for success. They argue that ‘feeling good and feeling bad let us know about the quality of our progress, our interactions, our environment and our actions’, so being too positive, and trying to feel good all the time, is not necessarily the best approach. They say the ideal ratio should be 80% positive, 20% negative, and to accept this 20% as a part of who we are.

We take a look at the key reasons, as outlined in their book, why we should embrace mindlessness and allow ourselves to feel negative emotions…

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