Yes. There Is a Difference Between Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation are two techniques that, when used together, can help you feel more grounded, grateful, and healthy.

Man being mindful and relaxing while fishing.

Mindfulness and meditation have been around for years, rooted in the teachings of Buddha. The practice of the techniques has transcended generations and is popular in common low-intensity workouts like yoga. They are common practices you already use—sometimes unconsciously—to fight off burnout, stress, anxiety, and even depression.

While you may have already adopted the basic techniques of both, you can harness more understanding by learning what mindfulness and meditation are, how they are different, and the health benefits of routine practices.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the ability to be present in the moment. These moments are non-judgmental. In practice, you push aside the worries of yesterday and the fears of tomorrow.

You pay attention only to what you are doing, seeing, hearing, and feeling at that exact moment. When we are mindful of our interactions and focuses, we are more engaged in what we do.

Related: 7 Ways to Practice Mindfulness and What It Can Do For You

What is meditation?

Meditation helps cultivate mindfulness. There are many types of meditation such as sitting meditation, walking meditation, and body scan meditation—a type of meditation that has you lie down and focus your attention on each part of your body.

Meditation is a popular exercise that involves focusing on deep breathing and training your mind to not wander. When your mind wanders, you slowly bring your focus back to your breath as you let the thought pass. Effective meditation includes spending a designated amount of time in a quiet place and is best when there are limited to no distractions.

Related: Reasons Why You Should Meditate

A few differences

Mindfulness and meditation are frequently used interchangeably, which can cause confusion when looking to improve your techniques. While these exercises go hand-in-hand, there are a few differences to note:

Meditation does not always include mindfulness

Mindfulness is only one part of meditation. For example, concentration is required to effectively meditate.

Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere.

Unlike meditation which requires focused concentration, mindfulness expands beyond the formal sitting meditation period and can be more involved. You can practice mindfulness while you eat dinner, work on a project, and engage in conversations.

Mindfulness can become a way of living.

Because mindfulness has no time limits nor requires a quiet place, you can work toward manifesting a mindful life by taking the time to pay attention and stay present in every moment of your daily life.

Health benefits of practicing both

Collectively, mindfulness and meditation can help you live a more rewarding and fulfilling life. Both can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and improve focus, sleep, and even diabetes control. Other health benefits include the following:

  • Helping slow your heart rate
  • Decreasing brain aging and cognitive ability
  • Improving immune response
  • Decreasing psychological pain signals

Try embedding your day with mindful moments and short periods of dedicated meditation. For example, start or end your day with five to ten minutes of mindful meditation. These daily exercises can help you feel more grounded and grateful.

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