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Mindfulness vs Meditation

What’s the difference between mindfulness & meditation?


Mindfulness: Becoming aware of what is; being present & fully engaged in whatever you are doing in the here & now; can be done anytime, anywhere, & with anyone or anything.


“The awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment & non-judgmentally.” ~John Kabat Zinn


Examples of mindfulness activities:

  • Mindful awareness

  • Mindful observation

  • Mindful listening

  • Mindful walking

  • Mindful presence

  • Mindful coloring

  • Mindful eating

  • Mindful drinking (ie. sipping tea)

Meditation: The practice of training your mind to focus on one thing at a time, & being fully present in the moment to increase concentration, awareness, emotional balance, & serenity. Often done in a quiet setting with relaxed, deep, even-paced breathing in a seated position, but may be done laying down, walking, or in other positions or activities.


“Meditation will not carry you to another world, but it will reveal the most profound and awesome dimensions of the world in which you already live. Calmly contemplating these dimensions and bringing them into the service of compassion and kindness is the right way to make rapid gains in meditation as well as in life.” ~Zen Master Hsing Yun


Examples of meditation:

  • Guided meditation

  • Mantra meditation

  • Spiritual meditation

  • Visualization meditation

  • Loving-kindness meditation

  • Breath-awareness meditation

  • Progressive relaxation

  • Focused (on an image, candle flame, object) meditation

Examples of integrating mindfulness & meditation:

  • Body scanning

  • Walking meditation

  • Mindful meditation

  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction

Health benefits of mindfulness & meditation (ref: nccih.nih.gov):

  • Improved sleep quality

  • Reduced blood pressure

  • Reduced stress, anxiety, & depression

  • Reduced PTSD symptoms

  • Helps promote abstinence from substance use

  • Improved pain tolerance/enhance pain reduction

  • Effectively aids weight control & managing eating behaviors

  • Reduced cravings & symptoms of withdrawal associated with alcohol use disorders

  • Improved outcomes for cancer patients: reduced psychological distress, fatigue, sleep disturbance, pain, symptoms of anxiety & depression



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