Waking up, your first thoughts are probably how you’ve got to cover an ocean load of work. We never seem to have time for our nerves to relax and our minds to think about us- our wrecked mental state, and our overworked bodies.
But you know what works? And you most probably already know about this- meditation and mindfulness. Using these right, you’ll get a stronghold over your mind to stop yourself from being plunged into the destructive cycle of distracting thoughts, procrastination, feeling depressed and unmotivated, and even frustration.
But we don’t always understand the difference between mindfulness and meditation and we’re here to untie the knotty mess of what to do when and how to get it right to bring the kind of growth you’ve been craving for and deserve.
So what really is Meditation?
You most probably relate the practice of mediation with the Chinese monks who stay still in a state of focus for days going without food even. Well, it isn’t exactly that confining and rigid but the main idea is to relax from the inside out.
By definition, meditation is most commonly associated with seated meditation. There are many different styles of meditation, including those that focus on opening the heart, extending consciousness, calming the mind, feeling inner peace, and so on.
It’s a focused activity that aims to improve tranquility, concentration, awareness, and emotional balance using every bit of attention you can because distractions are the biggest challenge here.
Seated meditation normally starts with deep breathing in a comfortable position, directing all of your attention to your breath and actively leading your mind toward an anchor, or a single point of focus. It could last anywhere from a minute to an hour or more as long as you aim to let off all the negative energy by the end.
You can begin by trying to relax- close your eyes, and take a few deep, cleansing breaths for about a minute to settle in. Start repeating the chant “SO HUM” quietly to yourself, slowly synchronizing your breath to the sound. Use the word "So" silently while you inhale. Similarly, repeat the word "Hum" while you exhale.
Continue to breathe slowly and synchronize your mantra with your breath, taking care not to rush your breath if your chant begins to speed up. People also find meditation music to help build the momentum and our channel “Music of Wisdom” brings special playlists to help you get into that flow state.
Normally, losing control is normal and the mantra above helps to bring your focus back so find your sweet spot between music and mantras. When your timer goes off, softly release the chant and sit quietly for a few moments before opening your eyes.
How’s mindfulness any different?
You’d be correct to say mindfulness is when you relax and try to focus on what’s going on around but the focus part isn’t quite necessary and here’s why.
The aim is not to relax, it is something entirely different- to get better at observation for achieving effectiveness because the more mentally aware you are, you’d make better decisions.
Paying attention, noticing, and being present in whatever you're doing is mindfulness. When you're actively mindful, you're paying attention to the world around you, as well as your own thoughts, feelings, behaviors, movements, and effects on others.
Many people's minds wander from the thing they're doing to other ideas, desires, concerns, or wishes while they go about their daily lives. Leaving your mind unshackled means you miss out on what others say during an argument which will make it heated because of your ignorance. You’d also forget things you don’t actively try to focus on. It’s a whole mess and mindfulness is the way to go.
Now mindfulness doesn’t have to be in a fixed spot position. You can practice it anytime and at any place (even during meditation). While meditation is often done for a certain amount of time, awareness follows no such rule.
Some people find that music helps them focus on their surroundings better by drowning out the distractive thoughts so you can again use our specifically produced mindfulness tracks on the Music of Wisdom channel.
Staying in the current moment can be tough for the human mind. Most people spend about 46.9% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they are doing, as presented in Harvard research.
You’re mostly obsessing over the past, future, or muddling in should haves and what-ifs, so this type of mindlessness is the norm.
Allowing your brain to run on auto-pilot can make people sad, according to this study. The researchers stated, "A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.” See the point of mindfulness? It distracts you from lingering stress.
Mindfulness is a quality; meditation is a practice.
Where meditation helps you to focus and get a hold of your unstable state of mind and body, it also trains you to be mindful to get the most of your life rather than spend it inside your head. Together you can use these tools of effectiveness to enhance the overall experience of life.
Trust the process, because we all know where depression starts- in your head. And if that’s where you live the most, you’re not living the present. Stay aware, stay awake for your own health’s sake.