In December, many of us are in the Twilight Zone – doing little more than we have to, to keep our bodies alive and our minds numb. Why? Because we spend every other month of the year scrambling about in a panicked rush. And to remedy this, we’re often told to meditate and practise ‘mindfulness’ by getting up earlier so it doesn’t cut into work time.

The result? Still stressed, and very mindful of it.

Mindfulness won’t fix anything.

Meditation and mindfulness are an excellent way of slowing down for most people, but for some, it’s ineffective because of a false belief that it will fix their problems. It can’t. Meditation won’t make your stressful job any less hectic, it won’t cure your ailments in one 20-minute session, and it won’t be the missing link that helps you find romance.

What mindfulness is good for…

Mindfulness isn’t a quick fix to happiness. In fact, it could surface some deep-seated, painful emotions. It’s about focusing on the here and now (flaws and all) and accepting this without judgement. Through educated and dedicated practice, it has the potential to help you appreciate the moment, and reduce stress and anxiety. But not without intense introspection.

How to really fix your problems

If your troubles are serious, they won’t disappear with meditation. They need decisive action. If they’re affecting your life, do something about them – find a less demanding job, cut down on your spending, break-up with your emotionally abusive partner… If you decide to be mindful of anything this December and in 2017, let it be: what your lifestyle is really doing to your life.