Mindfulness Overload?


By now, we all know the benefits of mindfulness, the practice of paying deliberate, non-judgemental attention to the present moment.

However, like anything in life, even mindfulness can have its downsides when taken to extremes.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots of widely accepted benefits to mindfulness:

  • Stress reduction, promoting relaxation, and helping to cope with life’s challenges more effectively.
  • Improved mental health by easing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Better focus and concentration leading to increased productivity and better decision-making.
  • Enhanced relationships through improved emotional intelligence.
  • Increased self-awareness leading to greater self-understanding and personal growth.

But as I said, we can get too much of a good thing. When taken to extremes, there’s potential negative consequences:

  • Becoming obsessed with achieving the perfect state of mindfulness, leading to stress, frustration and anxiety as well as self-judgement for not being ‘mindful enough’.
  • Mindfulness is not about escaping or avoiding difficult emotions. Overdoing mindfulness can lead to suppression of emotions rather than healthy processing and acceptance.
  • Prioritising solitary meditation over meaningful social interactions can lead to social withdrawal and isolation.
  • Over-mindfulness leading to overly cautious behaviour and loss of spontaneity.

So, how can you tell if you’re experiencing mindfulness overload? Here’s some common signs:

  • Rigidity: If you find yourself rigidly adhering to mindfulness routines to the point where it causes stress rather than relieve it.
  • Avoidance: Are you avoiding situations or emotions because you think they’re incompatible with mindfulness?
  • Perfectionism: Striving for a perfect state of mindfulness can be counterproductive, as mindfulness is about accepting imperfections.
  • Social Isolation: If your mindfulness practice leads to withdrawal from social activities and relationships, it may be time to reassess your approach.
  • Self-Criticism: Constantly berating yourself for not being mindful enough is counter to the spirit of mindfulness.

To avoid the pitfalls of mindfulness overload, aim to find a healthy balance in your practice:

  • Be Kind to Yourself: Remember mindfulness is about self-compassion, not self-criticism. Be gentle with yourself, especially on days when mindfulness feels challenging.
  • Flexibility: Allow your mindfulness practice to adapt to your changing needs and circumstances. It’s okay to skip a session or modify your routine as necessary.
  • Stay Connected: Maintain your social connections and engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfilment. Mindfulness should enhance your life, not isolate you from it.
  • Seek Guidance: If you’re unsure about your mindfulness practice, consider consulting a mindfulness teacher or therapist who can provide guidance and support.


Mindfulness is a valuable tool for promoting mental well-being and managing stress, but it’s important to recognise when it becomes too much of a good thing. Focus on maintaining a balance that enhances your life and promotes overall well-being.