The topic of mindfulness seems to be everywhere lately and meditation isn't too far behind. Mindfulness and meditation can fulfill the practice of being present in the moment, but it can be a bit confusing if mindfulness is only thought of as meditation. Let's take a look at the difference between the two and other practices of mindfulness. This is especially helpful if you have stress and anxiety.
What is the difference between Mindfulness and Meditation?
Meditation is a practice to calm the mind and not become attached to our thoughts. There are a variety forms of meditation and it is a wonderful practice with many health benefits.
Mindfulness is being fully present in the moment: what you are doing and what you are thinking. You accept and surrender your life exactly in the space you are in.
What are other practices of mindfulness?
The problem with combining mindfulness and meditation into one is that we lose the many other practices of mindfulness. The truth is that someone with stress and anxiety isn't able to meditate most of the time. When the mind consumes us on a daily basis, shutting it off feels impossible.
Here are some other practices that can guide you to be fully present right now!
We practice mantra without even knowing it. Mantra is an ancient practice and means "mind tool”. It is a way to control our thoughts and be present with them. Anytime you have a repetitive thought filling your mind, you are actually practicing mantra. The majority of the time, the thought is not what you want it to be so you have to find ways to reverse these thoughts. Affirmations or statements like "I am okay" are ways to start moving from the unwanted thought and shifting you to a feeling of being okay in this moment even if your mind thinks it is untrue.
When you feel lost in the past or worried about the future, you can lose site of living in your body. Taking a moment to close your eyes and take deep inhales and exhales allows you to come into your body. You also come into the moment and start to feel present within yourself. When you live in your thoughts, you aren't present in your breath which can cause you to be anxious. Allow your breath to be your guide to come back into your body even if it is for a minute.
3) Present Awareness
When was the last time you were aware of exactly what you were doing? We get lost in the to-do lists and don't pay attention to the task at hand or the people we are with. The next time you find your mind wandering, come back to focus on exactly what you are doing or who you are with. This will allow you to absorb the moment and be okay with all that is.
4) Creative Outlet
Finding a creative outlet like dancing, singing, painting, storytelling, coloring or anything that makes you feel alive, automatically brings you mindfulness. In those moments of creation, the only thing you can think about is what you are doing and how much joy it brings. Overwhelming feelings can take you away from your creativity and put it down at the bottom of your list. Take time to make it a priority and see what happens!
Being mindful is personal and takes time to figure out what you need. The techniques above are only a few ways to come into the moment and they come from the practice of Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti is a devotional practice and allows us to come into a state of love. So whenever you feel anxious, non-present or overwhelmed, take a moment to try one of these tools above!
Molly Sommerhalder, Owner of Swan in the Lotus Yoga and Wellness, LLC
Swan in the Lotus came to me after years of connection to myself and my Goddess, Saraswati. My blog will provide inspiration to travel with courage on this life journey and provide lessons to find joy, love and self-care!