Just what is the difference between mindfulness and meditation?

Just what is the difference between mindfulness and meditation?

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Mindfulness. Meditation. Mindfulness Meditation.

In a day and age where health and wellness are all the rage, we hear these three seemingly mysterious terms all the time.

Be more mindful. Practice meditation daily. Change your life with mindfulness meditation. And the list goes on.

So just what is the difference?

The answer isn’t as complex as you would think.

Mindfulness is simply keeping one’s attention focused on the present moment.

You don’t have to have a formal practice to be more mindful. In fact, you can be mindful at any time or in any place.  For example, mindfulness can be practiced by focusing one’s attention on daily activities like driving, taking out the trash, or checking e-mail. In other words, anything can be done mindfully.

Meditation is the formal practice of training one’s mind to keep attention where it is wanted.

There are many different meditation techniques. Mindfulness meditation is just one of the many types available.

Mindfulness meditation is a type of meditation during which we focus our attention on the present moment.

In mindfulness meditation, we keep our awareness on the sights, sounds and physical sensations that are occurring right now – in this very moment. This is in contrast to autopilot. Autopilot is when the mind wanders-thinking about the past, the future, or something in between.

Mindfulness meditation is the solution to autopilot thinking. That’s because through mindfulness meditation, we experience thoughts and emotions. But we experience them as an observer – rather than being washed away by the never-ending torrent of cognitions and feelings that flood our minds.

So just how do these three concepts link together?

The link is that one typically learns to practice mindfulness by way of a formal meditation practice called mindfulness meditation-and then expands the practice in order to spend as much of life as possible in a state of mindful awareness.  In other words, mindfulness meditation is the foundation upon which a mindfulness practice is built.

So now you see that mindfulness, meditation, and mindfulness meditation are not as mysterious as they seem.

Hope this helps!

For more tips, check out these blog posts:

The Four Keys to Planning Your Mindfulness Meditation Practice

How to Practice Sitting Meditation

To your mindfulness,

Dr. Marchand

 


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