The Relationship between Mindfulness & Meditation

Brad Sharp
January 1, 2023
middle aged woman in the forest leaning her head against a tree in a peaceful pose

Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

If you’ve done any research at all on self-care, you’ve come across mindfulness and meditation as integral parts of a personal growth practice. You may have even heard them used interchangeably, which can be confusing. So how are they related and what’s the real difference?

Mindfulness and meditation are closely related but they have some key differences.

Mindfulness refers to the act of being present and fully engaged in the current moment, without judgment. It is a state of being aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in a non-judgmental way.

Meditation, on the other hand, is a specific practice that is used to achieve mindfulness. It is a technique for training the mind to focus on the present moment and to develop greater awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. It involves training the mind to focus and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state.

In other words, mindfulness is a state of being, while meditation is a practice that can help achieve that state. You can be mindful without meditating and you can meditate without being mindful. Mindfulness can be integrated into daily life activities, such as paying attention to your breath, walking, eating, or even doing the dishes while meditation is typically done in a seated position, with the intention of developing the ability to focus and be present in the current moment.

Meditation and mindfulness share many of the same benefits:

  • Non-judgmental awareness: Mindfulness is about being aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations without judging them. This helps individuals to be more accepting and less reactive to their experiences.

  • Focusing on the present: Mindfulness is about focusing on the present moment, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. This helps individuals to be more aware of their surroundings and to be more fully engaged in the present.

  • Relaxation: Mindfulness can help individuals to relax and reduce stress and anxiety. By focusing on the present moment and being aware of one’s thoughts and feelings, individuals can learn to let go of negative emotions and to relax more easily.

  • Improved attention and focus: Mindfulness can help individuals to improve their attention and focus. By paying attention to the present moment, individuals can learn to focus better and to be more productive.

  • Increased self-awareness: Mindfulness can help individuals to become more self-aware. By paying attention to one’s thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, individuals can learn more about themselves and their reactions to different situations.

  • Improved relationships: Mindfulness can help individuals to improve their relationships by teaching them how to be more present and engaged with others.

Meditation can be practiced in many different ways, such as sitting, lying down, standing, or walking. It can be done in silence or with guided instructions, and it can be practiced for short or long periods of time. It typically involves focusing on the breath and bringing the mind back to the present moment when it wanders.

Meditation has been found to have many benefits for physical and mental health, such as reducing stress, improving focus and concentration, reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, and promoting feelings of well-being. Here’s a simple process for practicing mindfulness through meditation:

  1. Find a quiet place to sit where you won’t be disturbed.
  2. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  3. Focus on your breath and the sensation of the air moving in and out of your nose or mouth.
  4. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath.
  5. Continue to focus on your breath for a few minutes, or for as long as you like.
  6. Once you finish, take a moment to notice how you feel.

Meditation is not the only way to practice mindfulness. Many people enjoy utilizing several techniques to address different areas of growth. Here are some methods to consider:

  • Meditation: As I mentioned earlier, meditation is a common way to practice mindfulness. It involves sitting in a comfortable position, focusing on your breath, and bringing your attention back to your breath whenever your mind wanders.

  • Yoga: Yoga is another practice that can help you be more mindful. The combination of movement and breath awareness can help bring your attention to the present moment.

  • Mindful breathing: You can practice mindfulness by simply focusing on your breath for a few minutes, anywhere and anytime.

  • Body scan: This is a progressive muscle relaxation technique in which you focus your attention on each part of your body, starting at your toes and working your way up to the top of your head. This can help you become more aware of any tension or discomfort in your body.

  • Guided imagery: This is the process of creating mental images in your mind, usually with the help of a guide or a recording. It is a relaxation technique that helps to reduce stress, and anxiety, and promotes a general sense of well-being.

  • Mindful eating: Eating mindfully is an excellent way to practice mindfulness. Take the time to savor your food, pay attention to the flavors and textures, and eat slowly.

  • Nature walk: Going for a walk in nature is another way to practice mindfulness. Take in your surroundings, the sounds, the colors, the smell, and the feeling of being in nature.

The amount of time it takes to see results from mindfulness practice can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the frequency and duration of practice, as well as an individual’s unique circumstances.

Some people may experience benefits from mindfulness practice relatively quickly, such as feeling more relaxed or focused after a single session. However, for others, it may take longer to experience more significant results.

It’s important to keep in mind that mindfulness practice is a process and that it takes time and consistency to see the benefits. Research suggests that regular practice of mindfulness, such as daily or several times a week, over an extended period of time is more likely to result in significant changes.

About Brad

Hi, I'm Brad, the founder of Sierramind. My own transformational journey taught me that I am the architect of my own destiny and that the things I think and do in the present moment determine the quality of my future. With that as the foundation of my mindset, everything changed! I developed the Make Your MIND system and the FIBER Framework to share the joy I found and help you build an identity that aligns with your dreams. Make your MIND. Own your destiny!

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