You’ll have seen it all over Instagram and all over Twitter; heard it spoken on the TV by a celebrity; or read about it in an article. Mindfulness is the buzz word everyone seems to be saying. And when you listen to what they’re saying, it sounds attractive – nothing bad happens to you and you’re always calm and happy.

It’s wrong.

Mindfulness is not a force-field that can protect you from the natural workings of life (the ‘bad’ things like ill health, sadness and pain). It’s not a speedy healing power and it most certainly won’t change your life in a week. Mindfulness is a practice, not a ten minute fad. It’s something that won’t prevent you from feeling sad but it will equip you with the tools you need to sit through the bad with the actual knowledge that this too shall pass.

Vinay Gupta, a global resilience guru and visionary, said in a podcast that we think mindfulness is attractive because we want to escape our lives today. He is so right. Chances are, we think we want to practise mindfulness because we are unhappy with today. The problem with that is mindfulness is about being in the present moment, for better or worse. You don’t escape to a magical alternate universe, you stay grounded in this universe, this day and this minute.

You have to practise accepting your circumstances and allow yourself to feel pain and sometimes pure depression and anxiety. It’s hard and sometimes even traumatic but what you learn in the process is that they are simply feelings. You become an objective outsider and see thoughts and feelings as things that come and go. They are not constant and don’t have to define you.

The magical mindfulness you hear glamorised is dangerous and the true version of it (the one that has been proven effective) is what you should be hearing about. You won’t become a zen master overnight, but you’ll become a master of yourself in the coming years of practice.