Frequently, people tend to use the terms “meditation” and “mindfulness” as if both were the same. There has been a lot of debate to determine whether one refers to the other. How are both defined? And more importantly, what are the differences between them? Be Time explains both concepts – as well as their benefits.
What is Meditation?
Dating back thousands of years, meditation has been used around the world to help manage a range of different conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia, among others. Meditation is a practice where a person makes use of one of many techniques to enter into a state of calmness and relaxation. Depending on the type of meditation, the person might focus on a specific element, such as breathing, to reach a more peaceful state.
With all this in mind, meditation could be defined as the voluntary use of one or more techniques to help reach a state of peace, relaxation, and control. While this is not a scientific definition, it promotes a better understanding of the concept of meditation.
What are Some of the Benefits?
As stated before, meditation has been used for thousands of years to help people manage different ailments. Today, millions of people – including thousands of New Yorkers – are adopting meditation as part of their everyday life. Some of the benefits anyone and everyone can enjoy from meditating include the following:
- Anxiety Management: Anxiety can be caused by many factors, both internal and external. In severe cases, anxiety can affect a person’s work and relationships. While it is always recommended to consult with a physician to treat anxiety, meditation has proven to be of great help in managing and reducing its symptoms.
- Better Relationships: An anxious, depressed person may find it difficult to maintain relationships with others. Meditating, while not a definitive “cure” or “solution,” can help reduce the symptoms associated with depression, enhancing a person’s sense of well being. Reaching a state of calmness and relaxation can allow a person to establish – and maintain – richer, more fulfilling personal relationships with friends, family, and loved ones.
- Enhanced Attention: Often, we end up being distracted by things like smartphones and tablets, and pay little to no attention to other, more pressing matters. In a moment where electronic devices invade almost everyone’s time and attention, meditating can help enter into a state of deep focus, which can help to build our attention span as though it were a muscle.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be better understood if we focus on the idea of “awareness.” Mindfulness is based upon the ability an individual has to be present in the moment, rather than stuck in past events or worried about experiences that are yet to come.
“Mindfulness” can be an intimidating word – especially for those who are new to meditation – but it’s not beyond your reach. This sense of awareness already exists within everyone, waiting to be tapped into. By directing your focus inward, meditation techniques can help you achieve greater mindfulness, bringing you in sync with the present moment.
What are Some of the Benefits?
Like meditation, with which it often goes hand-in-hand, mindfulness can have emotional and even physical benefits. Some of the key advantages of practicing mindfulness include:
- Stress Reduction: Practicing mindfulness can be a useful technique for relieving stress. By stopping to observe your emotions, desires, and any thoughts or sensations that might be distracting you, you can “let go” and release your stress in a positive, healthy way.
- Dealing with Illness: A person facing a serious medical condition can feel hopeless and depressed. In situations like these, adding an element of mindfulness to the recovery process can help with coping and treatment.
- Overall Wellbeing: Believe it or not, practicing mindfulness can be very beneficial for your physical health. Paying closer attention to the subtle, shifting sensations you experience – such as cravings, muscle stiffness, or fatigue – can help you identify your health priorities. It might even inspire you to add new elements into your lifestyle, like a healthier diet, an extra hour of sleep at night, or more physical exercise.
What Are the Differences Between Mindfulness and Meditating?
Meditation is an act. It requires a person to actively seek out a moment, find a tranquil environment, and go through the process of meditating, with or without a teacher to provide guidance. By comparison, mindfulness is a state. All mindfulness requires is awareness of your present moment, and all the feelings you are experiencing.
Of course, meditation and mindfulness are not mutually exclusive, and you don’t need to pick one over the other. In fact, combining mindfulness with meditation may deliver the strongest benefits, depending on the person. You can adopt both concepts simultaneously by practicing a form of meditation known as “mindfulness meditation,” which is popular among new and experienced meditators alike.
NYC Mobile Meditation Studio Offering Daily Sessions
The benefits of meditation and mindfulness are numerous, no matter what sort of background you have. At Be Time, our mobile meditation studio is always on-the-go across New York City to help New Yorkers feel the benefits of meditation and mindfulness firsthand. To participate in one of our meditation sessions, visit us online to see where we’ll be rolling to next.