Mindfulness is being present and aware in the now. It’s paying attention to or taking note of your thoughts, feelings, behavior, lifestyle, etc. Meditation, on the other hand, is a deliberate practice where you use focus to improve calmness, concentration and emotional balance. So, while you can practice mindfulness anywhere at any time, meditation is more methodical and typically practiced for a specific amount of time.
Many people like to dwell in the past, while some others love to focus on the future. However, mindfulness is focusing on the present -- the here and now.
While practicing mindfulness, we release ourselves from past hurts/feats or future fears/goals and concentrate entirely on what’s currently going on in our lives, right now.
When you focus more on being tender/kind to yourself in the now, rather than judging yourself, you tap into restorative dimensions you never thought existed.
mindfulness releases ‘happy’ chemicals in the brain and also help lower blood pressure. As well, it improves digestion, relieves tension and helps you calm down.
Being mindful, or focusing on what one is doing per time is a difficult task indeed [no thanks to disruptive technology and the modern idea called multitasking].
Actually, a Harvard study showed that people spend 46.9% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they are doing. And that’s almost 1 in every 2 persons, right? Right!
Sometimes, people can be physically present in the classroom, and instead of focusing on what’s being taught, they may catch themselves focusing on their fears, desires...or thinking about the next ‘pressing’ task. As well, they may be physically present at work, and even getting stuff done -- but absentmindedly.
When you move through the day fully aware or present [in mind and body], the benefits are far-reaching: Mindfulness...
- Boosts productivity
- Help relieve stress
- Reduces chronic pain
- Lower blood pressure
- Improves sleep
Meditation, on the other hand, is an activity -- an intentional exercise or practice where an individual focuses the mind on a particular object, thought or activity -- in order to train attention and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.
Sometimes, meditation can also mean not focusing on anything in particular...more like ‘open awareness.’
So, if mindfulness supports and enhances meditation, then meditation nurtures and expands mindfulness. And while mindfulness is more or less paying attention to something, meditation is practicing the art of focused attention.
Meditation comes in different shades. For instance, “Clear Mind” meditations are aimed at developing a clear and focused mind and ‘Open Heart’ meditations are aimed at developing selfless emotions such as loving-kindness, compassion or forgiveness.
Of course, some others use the body as a means to develop awareness, such as the more popular yoga.
Taking time off your busy schedule [for meditation purposes] might not be on your to-do list right now...but, perhaps, the following benefits will inspire you to give it a try.
- Reduces age-related memory loss
- Promotes emotional well-being
- Controls anxiety
- Lengthens attention span
- Improves sleep
So, what then is mindfulness meditation?
Well, mindfulness meditation is a mental training that teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm both your mind and body.
And while mindfulness techniques vary, mindfulness meditation always involves a breathing practice leading to an increased awareness of body and mind.
OK, that’s it people -- but before you go…