Mindfulness and meditation are sometimes confused as being the same thing.
They are, in fact, different . . . but sometimes they are alike.
Mindfulness, or the ability to engage in deep focus, can be practiced anywhere. Meditation, on the other hand, is often practiced in a deliberate session, although there are different types of meditation and some range from very formal to informal.
“Somewhere within each of our minds there is a sanctuary away from the noise and disruption of our own busy thought processes,” write author Christina Rodenbeck. “Meditation is about calming the cutter of your mind and rediscovering that calm, still place.”
According to Rodenbeck, meditation can take place: at home, in a formal setting, or even at the gym. This is the intersection of where mindfulness and meditation meet. The idea that you don’t need to buy any fancy gym equipment or pay for any expensive classes can be appealing. In her book, the author even discusses how to meditate at the airport and other mundane places . . . like while at work.
“During your workday, you may come across challenges, perhaps in relation to colleagues, that are best tackled in a cool, calm, and collected manner – instead of being dealt with in a rush of adrenaline,” the author writes. “You will find that taking a little time to mediate before taking action will help you to take a more detached approach.”
Other authors, such as Tessa Watt, writing about mindfulness on the other hand, explores the subtleties of mindfulness. In her book, she explores concepts such as “space,” “breath,” body,” “movement,” and “sound.”
There may be some intersection between mindfulness and meditation, and, if there is, this is where one might find it.
“Mindfulness means becoming more aware of what’s going on—right here, right now,” Watt writes. “We can appreciate our lives, instead of rushing through them, always trying to get somewhere else. Being mindful can also help us to be less swept away by our powerful, habitual currents of thought and emotion, which can manifest as stress, depression, negative thinking, anxiety, anger, resentment or self-doubt.”
To conclude, aspects such as awareness, being present and focused are just some of the dimensions of mindfulness and meditation that can work no matter where we are. There may be some differences between mindfulness and meditation, but there are also some similarities.
Find some time to be mindful and meditate and you’ll be fine.
Rodenbeck, C. (2016). Meditation for everyday living. Bounty Books, London, England.
Watt, T. (2012). Mindfulness: a practical guide. MJF Publishing, New York, NY.