Meditation and mindfulness are often talked about as if they are the same thing. In reality, though, the practices are quite different. They require separate approaches, although you can also practice them together. Learn the differences between meditation and mindfulness, how to practice them together, and the physical and mental benefits here!
The goals of practicing meditation and mindfulness are generally things like easing stress, being more present in daily life, improving health, or soothing runaway thoughts. These practices can help you think more clearly and solve problems more effectively. For example, you might be stressing about getting a date and fail to think of looking up the best hookup sites online. Or you might be seeking what most people seek when they come to spiritual practices – a sense of calm and inner peace.
Mediation and mindfulness: Complementary, Not Interchangeable
Meditation and mindfulness are probably words you’ve heard before. They are commonly used within online wellness culture spaces and are associated with health, relaxation, and spiritual development. These concepts are also often discussed as though they are interchangeable or as though they mean the same thing.
However, this isn’t actually the case. In fact, there is an important difference between meditation and mindfulness. It’s not that the two aren’t related – they are – or that they don’t yield similar results – they do – it’s just that they refer to fundamentally different ways of getting there.
So, are meditation and mindfulness connected? Yes. The practices are complimentary. Parts of one can be applied to parts of the other, and vice versa. They also have similar origins in Eastern religion and spiritual practices. However, they are not identical or interchangeable. To truly reap the benefits of yoga meditation and mindfulness, understanding the difference between them is crucial.
What Are the Differences Between Meditation and Mindfulness?
To define meditation and mindfulness, you have to look at their core elements. How can we practice them? A quick and easy breakdown states that meditation is a focused and intentional process, while mindfulness is a state of mind. Here are a few distinctions between the two:
Meditation generally refers to the intentional practice of meditating. This can involve focusing on a single mantra or affirmation, attempting to clear the mind, chanting, and guided meditations. Usually, individuals who meditate set out a specific time to do so and have a specific aim in mind for their meditation practice. They know roughly what type of mental state they are working towards. They usually also have a loose idea of what they want to achieve through meditation and choose their meditation type accordingly.
Mindfulness refers to a state of conscious awareness in everyday life. If you are mindful, you are fully aware of and notice what is going on around you in the present moment. This includes sensory awareness. For example, those who practice mindfulness are not detached from their bodies but take note of the sensations they experience as they move through their day. Unlike meditation, which takes place in a set time and with a specific intention in mind, mindfulness is a state that people try to consistently achieve. The aim is to go through life mindfully, rather than being caught up in thoughts of the past or future.
How Meditation and Mindfulness Improves Life
Why is there so much talk about these two concepts? Why do people who otherwise have no connection to Eastern religions practice them? One of the main reasons is that meditation and mindfulness are associated with many health benefits, both physical and emotional.
Academic research on meditation and mindfulness suggests that sustained practice of these concepts can lower stress and reduce anxiety. Meditation is useful for calming the mind and stopping racing thoughts. Many people report developing a general sense of calm and wellbeing after meditating regularly for a long period of time. They also report an increase in self-awareness, self-knowledge, and a greater sense of control and acceptance over their emotions.
In many meditation and mindfulness articles psychology plays a big role. They can also help people who struggle with anxiety or depression. It can help us to focus on the present moment, rather than dwelling on past negative events or anticipating crises in the future. Mindfulness can also help us to feel that we are fully engaging with life as it unfolds, rather than letting it slip by. It can help prevent us from being swept up in constant distraction – something that is hard to resist in modern life.
Are There Any Physical Benefits to Mindfulness and Meditation?
There are many physical benefits of meditation and mindfulness. For one, lowered stress and reduced anxiety can positively impact blood pressure and help manage stress-related conditions. You practice meditation into a regular yoga routine. Today, many yoga teachers include short, guided meditations at the beginning or end of class.
Yoga in conjunction with meditation and mindfulness can also produce many positive mental and physical effects. In fact, yoga is a great way to introduce them to kids workshops to younger people, who are more likely to respond to practices that involve movement.
Can You Practice Mindfulness and Meditation Together?
Absolutely. As we mentioned before, meditation and mindfulness are extremely complimentary together. However, it is important to be aware of the differences so that you know what types of meditation you’d like to practice and how to go about becoming more mindful. For example, there is a big difference between a grounding meditation and a mindfulness meditation, just like there is a difference between being mindful and sitting down to meditate.
One of the best ways to start practicing is to do some research. There are tons of books and online resources to help you begin. Check out resources like the headspace guide to meditation and mindfulness or look up some of the original literature by writers like Jon Kabat-Zinn. You can also find a great range of free guided meditations on platforms like YouTube if you’re looking for an introduction to the practice.
Meditation and mindfulness are excellent tools to help us deal with the stresses of life. They can also help us better understand ourselves and accept difficult events beyond our control. You don’t have to be an expert in these practices or do them perfectly to reap the benefits. When it comes to meditation and mindfulness, a little really does go a long way.
Do you practice mindfulness or meditation? Maybe you combine the two? How have these practices helped you? Tell us in the comments!
Originally Posted HERE on L’Aquila Active by Rebecca Shinn
Rebecca Shinn is a freelance writer and dating expert with a psychology degree. The important part of Rebecca’s practice is to help couples with communication skills, problem-solving skills, stress management and financial skills.
Rebecca started writing 2 years ago to inspire and help people to have a better dating life, healthy relationships, or find a way to keep a marriage strong for long years.