Although often used interchangeably, what is the difference between mindfulness and meditation?
Mindfulness is the human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not overly reactive to things that are happening around us.
While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it becomes more readily available to us when we practice on a daily basis.
You can practice mindfulness by bringing awareness to what you are directly experiencing via your senses. For example, what do you smell in the air? What flavours do you taste? What is the feeling underneath your fingers or toes? You can also practice mindfulness by becoming aware to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions. What is the emotion you are currently feeling? There is growing research that shows that when you train your brain to be mindful, you can actually remodel the physical structure of your brain.
Meditation is exploring – it is not a fixed destination. Your head does not become vacuumed free of any thought or distraction. It is a special place where each and every moment is momentous. When we meditate we venture into the workings of our minds: our sensations (air blowing on our skin or a harsh smell wafting into the room), our emotions (love this, hate that, crave this, loathe that) and thoughts (wouldn’t it be weird to see an elephant playing a trumpet).
Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others.
How do I practice mindfulness and meditation?
Mindfulness is available to us in every moment, whether through meditations and body scans, or mindful moment practices like taking time to pause and breathe when the phone rings instead of rushing to answer it.
Apps to help incorporate Mindfulness into your daily life:
Written in Collaboration with Gray Meckling