Meditation or Mindfulness? Part 1

Is there a difference between meditation and mindfulness? When we think of meditation we sometimes think of prayer or formal programs like yoga?

When we think of mindfulness what comes to mind? Just being without thoughts?

Or are they the same? Is it a combination of the two or is it much more?

The definition of meditation is: a practice or technique where an individual focuses their mind on an object or thought to clear their mind and calm their mind and body.
It is commonly used not only in religion but also as a means to reduce stress, anxiety, depression or pain. It brings forth peace, clarity of mind and well being.

Meditation can help us understand our own mind. We can transform our mind from negative to positive, from disturbed to peaceful, from unhappy to happy. Overcoming negative minds can cultivate constructive thoughts.

The definition of mindfulness is: the psychological process of bringing ones attention to experiences occurring in the present moment which can be developed through the practice of meditation or other training.

Mindfulness helps us be present in each moment with non-judgemental awareness.There are several ways such as a body scan, letting thoughts arise and pass or in daily life being aware of the taste, smell and texture of what we eat. or see.

The benefit helps the brain self regulate by increasing activity in the anterior cingulate cortex. A shift from using the right prefrontal cortex is claimed to be associated with a trend away from depression and anxiety towards happiness, relaxation and emotional balance. It is said to be an effective means to reduce rumination and worry.

So the answer to the question are they the same or much more could be answered by Mindfulness can be both. Both methods can be effective and beneficial.

Personally I practice a combination but primarily mindfulness. AS an example of how I do it. I start by taking in a deep breath, hold for a few seconds and then exhale slowly. Some programs count breaths like as, in for 5, hold for 5, out for 7 called the 5-5-7 breath. I don’t dwell on the count I just do the length that works for me. I shift my mind to breathing in fresh air that is clean, calm and peaceful and breathing out all the stress or whatever comes to me at the time. After about 3 deep breaths I put my hands on my chest or abdomen and focus on my breathing. In and out normal breaths. I don’t count then but you can if it helps you focus. As my thoughts begin to wander which is normal I gently tell my mind to put that thought on the shelf for later and return to the breathing. I don’t belittle or judge myself for the wandering just gently tell myself to return the focus on the breath. In the beginning I could only stay with the breath for a few minutes but as I practiced more it has increased to as much as 15 minutes. I no longer time it as its just part of my quiet time and even a few minutes is beneficial. But longer is better.

In meditation many times they use a formal structure with specific positions or mantra. I don’t use any of those but its fine if you do. Some people do better with the structure some get stressed trying to achieve a certain position, pose or phrase instead of receiving the benefit of the meditation itself and then decide it doesn’t work for them or they can’t do it. It would be better for them to not worry about that relax and go with the flow.

In my case this usually leads to my prayer or worship time. My faith is in God, but its a good time to be with your “Higher Power” as you see it as meditation enhances the experience.

Practicing daily or several times a day is beneficial and to me it brings a sense of peace and calmness. Mindfulness can be used in many places throughout the day. Just stop and focus on the moment. Try mindful eating. As you take a bite before you chew stop and focus on the flavor and texture. When you chew feel the sensation of your teeth on the food.

As you walk practice mindful walking. Focus on your feet as they touch the ground. what comes in contact first heels or toes? Feel the earths energy as it flows through your body.

Look around you and stop. Using all your senses to be in that moment.How does the air smell or feel? What do you hear? What do you see up close and in the distance? Does it have a taste? Practice being in the moment for a few minutes each day. We get so busy we fail to enjoy whats all around us.

There are special benefits to use this with children too but for that see Part 2 of my blog on mindfulness.

I have recently added diffusing essential oils to enhance my sessions as they can be used for so may things. If you are interested in purchasing some go to Youngliving. com. Use my number as referral or consultant number which is 15383920.

As a Life and Health coach I have used mindfulness and essential oils in my sessions with clients. To learn more about life or health coaching call or email me at 770-917-9847 or granat149@ aol.com and schedule a free discovery session.

I hope you will try some of the things I mentioned and find peace, clarity and calm in your life. Natalie Manfull

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