Meditation and mindfulness

What is the difference?

Meditation and mindfulness are often used in the same sentence, but are they not the same thing?

Meditation teaches us:
• Concentration and focus. Through mediation practice we can help control our thoughts, choosing to witness them but then returning to what we are concentrating and focusing on i.e. choosing to switch thoughts, abandon them and let things go;
• Such focus and concentration calms the mind and relaxes the body;
• Mediation teaches us concentration but it is also very relaxing at the same time;
• Meditation is often associated with Buddhism and yoga, but it does not have to be a religious practice.

Mindfulness, as a terminology, has been used recently by psychologists and researchers. The two (meditation and mindfulness) are intrinsically connected but there are very subtle differences between them.

Mindfulness is about:
• Being present in the here and now, fully aware and engaged with what we are doing, without distraction or judgement;
• As with meditation there does not have to be a religious theme at the centre. Instead it is about our ability to improve our concentration and focus.

Whether we are meditating or being mindful of our breath or part of our body. The overall effect is calming and relaxing.

Meditation and mindfulness are good for many things, including:
• Anxiety;
• Depression;
• Insomnia;
• Lack of concentration;
• Improving a weak immune system.