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Mindfulness ‘can make you more selfish’

It has long been advertised as the antidote to the anxieties and stresses of modern living.

But mindfulness could be making people more selfish, an expert psychiatrist has claimed.

Dr Alison Gray, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said meditating makes easier for people to start over-analysing their life, becoming ‘inward-looking and self-centred’.

Dr Alison Gray, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, (not pictured) said meditating makes easier for people to start over-analysing their life, becoming ‘inward-looking and self-centred’ 

The psychiatrist, who chairs the spirituality special interest group at the college, said it was more helpful for people to seek help from a community, such as a religion, in order to battle stress.

‘In as much as religion is about binding people together, spirituality can become inward looking and selfish,’ she told the Daily Telegraph.

‘In no way does that happen to everyone – in many cases increases their passion for the whole world. But there’s a potential for it to become inward-looking and basically self-centred.’

Dr Gray claims mindfulness could make people more aware of their negative emotions, which has a ‘destabilising’ effect.

She said: ‘When you look inside yourself what you find can be quite negative and quite destabilising, and so you need a community around you to help process this stuff and keep you healthy.’

Mindfulness, described by the NHS as ‘paying more attention to the present moment’, has become popular in recent years as more people suffer from stress and anxiety.

The practice, which is recommended by the National Insitute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), involves activities such as meditation and breathing exercises.

Mindfulness, described by the NHS as ‘paying more attention to the present moment’, has become popular in recent years as more people suffer from stress and anxiety

Mindfulness, described by the NHS as ‘paying more attention to the present moment’, has become popular in recent years as more people suffer from stress and anxiety

It is claimed that those who practice mindfulness are able to spot signs of stress and anxiety and deal with the emotions properly.

The psychiatrist’s comments come after schoolchildren were taught mindfulness as part of a government-led trial to tackle anxiety.

In May, children as young as eight were taught breathing exercises in school, while exam-age pupils were given hour-long classes on mental health.

In February last year, a study found religious people were more likely to feel happy and fulfilled in their lives.

The data, released by the Office for National Statistics, found those who did not have a religion reported lower levels of happiness and self-worth.

The report also showed middle-aged people were the happiest in the country, as most people are at their least stressed around the age of 45. 

 



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