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What is the difference between Meditation & Mindfulness?
by Recalibrate Body Mind Spirit
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As approaches to Health & Wellbeing move East to West, we have seen these terms more frequently in our everyday language, but what makes these two things different and which one should we be doing?

First, we need to understand the difference between Meditation and Mindfulness. It is important to understand they can overlap but they are not interchangeable.

Meditation is considered a formal practice, typically with an allotted amount of time spent either seated or in any comfortable position, eyes shut, while focused on observation of your inner world and adopting a stance of non-judgement. The purpose being to stop the mind from jetting around aimlessly thought too thought.

Mindfulness is a quality of Meditation that can be done anytime and anywhere, with the focus being fully engaged in the present moment. These focal points can range from deeply experiencing your senses (think of tasting food, smelling the fresh air while outside, or the feeling of grass under your bare feet) to directing your linguistics towards positive verbiage while in conversation and so much more.

So if mindfulness is a form of meditation, how do they impact each other and what are the benefits?

Both meditation and mindfulness encourage the mind not to wander, which by default improves concentration. A Harvard study showed 46.9% of people spend time thinking about something else other than what they are doing. If that doesn’t say disconnected and waste of time, I don’t know what does. Imagine how much more you could accomplish in a day with just being able to maintain a clear uninterrupted focus no matter the chaos going on around you.

That’s only part of what we can achieve! Mindfulness quality is associated with mental health benefits and positive psychology. Studies have also shown improved sleep, lowered anxiety and depression, better self control with food choices resulting in lower glucose levels, and impact on DNA of breast cancer, meaning we can reach a cellular level! This is huge stuff!

Let’s now consider how the two impact each other

Say you are in the beginning stages of starting meditation and noticing 30secs into a seated formal practice your mind is racing and it feels like you’ve just experienced the longest 5mins of your life… only it wasn’t 5mins. Yikes! But don’t worry, chances are anyone who has done a meditation practice has experienced this exact feeling.

This is where mindfulness can come in. If you just aren’t quite ready for all that, beginning with an intention of being present and simply noticing where your thoughts move throughout your day is a great start. This isn’t about living life in slow motion; this is about enhancing your awareness and stripping away unnecessary distractions. Hint-hint, sounds like meditation.

And it is, it’s a quality of meditation. As you find yourself recognizing thoughts taking up space or wasting time you are in turn cultivating stronger abilities to apply towards a formal meditation practice. Whether you choose to start with one or the other, choose what is right for you and allow yourself to enjoy the process of growing into a more enlightened you!