It’s amazing to think about how many miles an hour or brains seem to go all the time, and yet we barely take the time to take the keys out of the ignition and let the engine cool off. When we go so fast all the time, we stress ourselves – sometimes to the point of breaking.

To be mindful is to be focus on yourself with no distractions. You turn your mind off and focus on your body, counting each toe and finger, working yourself over as you go along. You inventory every single part of yourself and then clear your mind, becoming self-aware of who you are, what you think and how you feel.

If this sounds a lot like some meditation exercises, then you’d be on the right track. Mindfulness and meditation can sometimes actually be considered one in the same, but there is one big difference to keep track of.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is essentially the above description: you prepare yourself to release all of your thoughts and focus on your body, then your mind. This brings a person’s focus back down to themselves as a whole instead of their cluttered thoughts of everyday life, work and stress.

You can accomplish this in a number of ways. You can do it sitting down in a chair with nothing else to focus on, keeping things extremely simple. Others like to lie in bed and practice mindfulness meditation as a sleep aide. Yoga can also be added into the mix.

One thing that always comes along with being mindful is self-cataloging – thus the “mindful” in “mindful meditation.” Without it, you’re just meditating, which leads us to the difference…

Mindfulness vs. Meditation

Meditation can exist without mindfulness, and it often does. Typical meditation means clearing your mind and being at one with your body, but it removes the high level self-awareness. You aren’t supposed to be thinking about cataloging your thoughts and feelings, but instead letting them all go to hopefully work towards enlightenment.

Being mindful is very focused and thought-intensive. To be mindful is to be totally aware of yourself, how you feel and your thoughts. This involves being very in tune with your mind and how it works – which can sometimes be the opposite of meditation.

However, it doesn’t hurt to try both sometimes. Becoming self-aware and mindful are very useful in order to develop productivity skills and relieve stress, but we often need a break from even this deep level of thought. Mindfulness is supposed to be collected and calm thought, but using meditation to let go entirely can also be a great stress relief.

In conclusion, mindfulness and meditation have a lot in common, but they can also vastly differ from each other. In order to achieve the best results possible, practice different mindfulness techniques, including meditation. Then try meditation techniques that don’t involve being mindful. See which put you most at ease and have a greater positive impact on your life.