Mindfulness or Meditation: What’s the difference?
Have you heard lots of people referring to mindfulness and meditation and feeling completely confused as they seem to be the same thing, but not!
Over the past few years the mention of the importance of these practices from doctors, health professionals, well-being gurus and spiritualists has rapidly risen at an exceptional rate as a treatment to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and other mental and physical health issues.
So what are they? What’s the difference and how can I apply them to my life?
Mindfulness is the awareness of ‘something’ while mediation is the awareness of ‘nothing’. Mindfulness can be applied to any situation throughout the day while mediation is usually practised for a specific time.
It is being aware or paying attention to feelings, thoughts, behaviours and everything else. It can be practised at any time, any place, whoever we are with and whatever we are doing.
It is being fully engaged in the here and now, the present moment. Mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves. It is so easy to get caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how they are driving our emotions and behaviours.
Mindfulness is to reconnect us to our bodies and notice sights, sounds and smells that are happening at that specific moment.
Simple as it may sound, mindfulness transforms how we relate to events and experiences. It creates a way of being in the World that is less reactive and generally happier.
Mindfulness calms anxiety and stress by helping you learn to stay with difficult feelings without analysing, suppressing or encouraging them. When you allow yourself to feel and acknowledge your worries, fear, painful memories and other difficult emotions this often helps them dissipate.
5 mindful exercises to try
- Mindful breathing
- Mindful observation
- Mindful awareness
- Mindful listening
- Mindful appreciation
It has been practised for thousands of years, in one form or another in virtually every religion in recorded history. Like mindfulness, the intention is to train awareness and attention to achieve a deep relaxed, calm and stable state.
We generally plan to meditate even if we can only spare 10 minutes. The more we practise, the easier and better we become at meditating.
There are many types of meditation which I will cover in future blogs. I will describe a simple, general technique:
- Find a calm, quiet place where you will not be disturbed
- Lay down comfortably – we’d recommend one of our healing meditation mats
- Set a time limit
- Notice your body
- Close your eyes
- Feel your breath and focus on it
- If your mind wonders, acknowledge the thoughts and focus on the breath
- Close the meditation with kindness
- Slowly bring yourself back to awareness
The benefits of meditation are vast and include:
- Decreasing stress and anxiety
- Decreasing pain
- Boosting immunity, creativity and emotional intelligence
- Lowering blood pressure
- Lowering risk of depression
- Improving social wellbeing
- Better focus and concentration
- Improving self-awareness and self-esteem
- Helping fight addictions
There are small differences between mindfulness and meditation but lots of people refer to them as the same meaning.
Ultimately, the intention and goals of both is to control our thoughts, feelings and behaviours in a balanced way to benefit emotional well-being and overall health. This then results in a happier, healthier life which is the ultimate goal.
Mindfulness/meditation is something we should all incorporate in our lives from young to old and it seems more and more of us are doing just that! At Path of Light we have a range of products that help you reenergise and de-stress through meditation. Find more information on our healing meditation mats here. Or browse our healing crystal shop – we have crystals that improve your wellbeing in areas such as positive mind, self love and stress relief.