What is the difference between mindfulness and meditation? While some people use these words interchangeably, the two practices are connected but not the same. If you are interested in practicing mindfulness or learning some meditation practices, here is a basic breakdown of mindfulness vs meditation and how to bring both into your daily life.
Mindfulness vs Meditation
When figuring out mindfulness vs meditation, Medical Daily says the main difference is that meditation is a blanket term for actions that help you reach ultimate consciousness and concentration, where mindfulness is a way of practicing meditation that helps you be present in any given moment. In other words, meditation is a number of practices to harness your consciousness and concentration, where mindfulness helps you focus your consciousness in the present.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is an ancient art that incorporates breathing, deepening consciousness, and resting the mind. Because meditation is a vast and open-ended practice, there are many ways to define it: Psychology Today defines meditation as the practice of turning your attention to a single point of reference, which may involve focusing on breathing, bodily sensation, or a mantra. Yoga International says meditation is a technique for resting the mind and taking on a state of consciousness that is highly different from your waking state.
If you are interested in meditation, getting started is easy. Try some of the following basic meditation practices:
- Make time each day to focus on your breath. This can help clear your mind and rest your brain. Try closing your eyes and putting all of your attention on the air going in and out of your lungs. Listening to calming music while meditating may help draw your attention inward and pull your focus from the outside world.
- Try guided meditation: a meditation where you listen and respond to guidance provided by a teacher or coach. This will enable you to work with an expert and get a feel for how meditation works. To get started in the comfort of your own home, check out Power of Breath with Dylan Werner or From Fear to Love Meditations with Aubry Marie.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness speaks to a state of focusing your energy and being present. Psychology Today defines mindfulness as a state of active, open attention on the present. Mindful.org says mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around us. This may mean anything from carefully choosing the words you say to your children, to focusing your full attention on a new yoga pose you are attempting.
There are many small steps you can take to be more mindful. To start practicing mindfulness, try some of the following strategies:
- Multitask less and bring your attention to a single task at a time. Narrowing your focus can help you be present in your moment rather than splitting your attention between many things. This may mean focusing your mind on the taste of your food, rather than watching television, using your phone, and eating dinner all at the same time.
- Focus on your senses. Try taking in the smell of your coffee, and bringing your attention solely to its aroma. Taking a few moments to focus on small sensory sensations is a concrete way to be more mindful in your daily activities.
- Listen well. When speaking with someone, focus on what they are saying rather than letting their words go in one ear and out the other. You can practice active listening by making eye contact, thinking only about what the other person is saying, and asking follow up questions or repeating their ideas to ensure you understood correctly.
Now that you’ve figured out mindfulness vs meditation, it’s time to put the two practices into action. To get started practicing meditation and mindfulness, check out Marinate with Meghan Currie and Moving Meditations with Briohny Smith!