Mindfulness vs Meditation – What’s the Difference?

Have you ever wondered about the difference between mindfulness practices and meditation? Mindfulness and meditation, often used interchangeably, are distinct practices with unique approaches to achieving inner peace and heightened awareness. In this exploration, we delve into the essence of meditation and mindfulness, demystifying their differences and uncovering their individual benefits.

Meditation: Focused Attention vs. Open Monitoring

Meditation, a formal seated practice, encompasses two major styles—Focused Attention Meditation (FAM) and Open Monitoring Meditation (OMM). FAM narrows focus to a specific object or emotion, enhancing concentration. In contrast, OMM fosters an open awareness of thoughts, emotions, sounds, or body sensations, stimulating creativity and solution-focused thinking. Some meditation techniques blend both styles, offering a versatile approach to mental well-being.

Choosing Your Path: Concentration or Creativity

The choice between FAM and OMM depends on individual goals. FAM proves effective in developing concentration and improving focus, making it suitable for those seeking enhanced attention. On the other hand, OMM excels in boosting creativity and conflict resolution skills, making it an ideal choice for those seeking innovative perspectives and adaptive thinking.

Mindfulness: The Art of Paying Attention

Mindfulness, in essence, is the act of paying attention. Whether practiced formally in meditation or informally in daily activities, mindfulness involves tuning into your senses without judgment. A study suggests that nearly half of our waking hours are spent dwelling on the past or future, contributing to unhappiness. Mindfulness exercises aim to bring us back to the present, fostering satisfaction and well-being.

Sample Mindfulness Exercise: Three Mindful Breaths

Ready to embark on a mindfulness exercise? Follow this simple guide:

  1. Begin by taking a moment to settle your body comfortably.
  2. Close your eyes, or if you prefer, keep them slightly open with a soft focus looking downward a few feet in front of you. Allow your spine to lift, and let your shoulders soften (approximately 2 seconds).
  3. Take a slow, gentle inhale, directing your attention to the sensation of air passing through your nostrils and filling your chest and abdomen. Notice the transition as the inhale ends, shifting into a slow, gentle exhale. Pay attention to the sensations in your body as the air passes back out. Take a moment to rest and then begin again.
  4. The long, slow inhale guides your attention to the sensation of air as you breathe, while the extended exhale brings focus to the sensations. Rest once more at the end of the exhale before proceeding to one more breath cycle—inhale (3-4 seconds), exhale (7-8 seconds).

Engage in the Three Mindful Breaths exercise to nurture present-moment awareness. This straightforward practice involves concentrating on the sensations of breathing and gently redirecting your attention to the present whenever your mind begins to wander. Commit to this exercise for at least one daily session over seven days to explore its transformative benefits.


Mindfulness and meditation, while sharing common ground, offer distinct paths to well-being. Whether you choose the concentration-oriented approach of meditation or the present-moment awareness of mindfulness, incorporating these practices into your daily routine can lead to enhanced mental clarity, emotional balance, and overall satisfaction.

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