Every health trip, no matter why you started it, is it both mind and body. If you ignore one piece of this duo, you will only be able to go that far.
If you are somewhere on the side of mental health along the way, chances are you’ve come across the terms “mindfulness” and “meditation”. Sometimes they are used as interchangeables, which can make it difficult to figure out how to incorporate them into health practices. When it comes to something, especially your health, knowledge is power. So let’s take a look at these two concepts and explore how you can use them in your life.
What is mindfulness?
Attentiveness is the quality of self-awareness and the environment at the moment.
Attentiveness is all about awareness. Think about yourself right now. What time of day? What colors and smells are around you? How does the seat you are sitting on (or the ground you are standing on) feel against the skin and muscles beneath it? How do your clothes feel on your body? What does the quality of your breathing look like?
Considering these questions and feeling your mind move around the room and feeling the answers to them, you feel mindfulness. The purpose of this is to be present, to be in this very moment that is happening to you now. But what’s the point of that?
Well, those present and attentive can increase performance, reduce stress and create the conditions in order to truly address any issue. Attentiveness allows you to have perspective and recognize what is important to you. We still need to consider the future when making choices, and we need to acknowledge your past to move forward, but presence helps you put all those ideas and worries the other way around so you can be fully involved in the present.
What is meditation?
Going to the gym is for the body, meditation is for the mind.
Meditation is a practice causing us to consciously take some time – be it thirty seconds or two hours – to train a sense of awareness.
When you think of meditation, the image of a peaceful monk in saffron robes sitting cross-legged may just come to mind. While Buddhist monks train for a very long time to master meditation, art for them is not exceptional. Meditation is a skill that has been developed and can be developed by people around the world, and there is a good chance that you have actually done some meditative exercises without even knowing it (if you have ever prayed or paused for a second to do deep breathing while under stress, you have already dipped your fingers in this practice).
There are many types of meditation, but they all serve the same purpose: teaching understanding that will help us gain some perspective. Some types are meant to reassure us, others develop qualities such as compassion and gratitude.
The benefits of meditation are actually very similar to mindfulness (we’ll learn why this happens later), and include improved sleep, focus, self-awareness and more, and it’s a great way to get to know yourself in your body and become more present.
Mindfulness versus meditation
We love this is a quote from positive psychology: attentiveness is quality, meditation is practice.
We strive to be considerate at all times; moving through life, enjoying the present, is what cheesecakes are made of, but accurate wood carvings (“Dream as if you will live forever, live as if you will die tomorrow”, anyone?) Attentiveness – one of the keys to enjoying life and taking full advantage of it.
Meditation is more of a skill, so it’s called “practice” – you really need to practice it to work and improve your life. Although we should strive to be mindful all day, meditation requires you to do so select a few points to start practicing. Think of it as walking into a mental room.
Mindfulness and meditation are certainly related, but they are clearly not interchangeable concepts. This can be confusing when terms such as “mindfulness meditation” (which is a meditation practice specifically dedicated to the development of greater mindfulness) come into play.
One way to turn your head around this is to recognize that when we practice meditation, we treat us carefully, but if we are careful, we do not always practice meditation.
How do I practice mindfulness and meditation?
As we have said, mindfulness is all to live in the moment. Since the default for most of us no remembering there are a few things we can do to stop do to improve attention – for example, endlessly scrolling the phone and tying the TV, doing multiple things at once and spending too much time, a. fuss over the past and b. worrying about the future.
There are many different ways to meditate, so how you want to approach it is a personal decision. You can follow meditation under guidance on digital platforms like iChuze Fitness. Y.you can go to the sound bath. You can even use physical movements, such as yoga, for meditation. We have a whole blog post totally dedicated to how to get started.
Whether you decide to just find more thoughtful moments in your life or devote hours to reflection, the desire to attend is always full of opportunities for health and happiness. If you want to get started today, try the 7-day free trial iChuzeFitness.com and join meditation with us together.