Mindfulness Vs. Meditation: Understanding The Difference

The practice of mindfulness and meditation is growing popular day by day. Whether on your social media handles or in real life — you will find messages like “Be mindful” with selfies and pictures clicked on Yoga mats. 

Mainstream conversations have been filled with a piqued interest in mental health and wellness. And while it is indeed heartening, the increased participation or discussions have certainly not simplified the terms enough. It is still complicated, especially when it comes to understanding mindfulness vs. meditation – two related but different concepts. 

If you have been confused between mindfulness and meditation — you are not alone. We have all been there, pal. However, learning the difference between the terms is necessary for you to pick and choose the practice that works for you the most. 

On that note, in this post, we are going to dive deeper into mindfulness vs. meditation. We will first begin with understanding the terms individually and then elaborating on their differences. So, let’s get started. 

mindfulness vs. meditation

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the idea of being in the present moment. In this practice, you concentrate on a particular thing in a certain way that brings you to the current moment and calms your otherwise stressed nerves. Simply put, mindfulness activities can range from tasks as mundane as cooking or doing dishes or therapeutic exercises like journaling or coloring. 

The purpose of mindfulness is to bring a sense of awareness about the present moment yet shut out the noise in your surroundings that drives your stress and anxiety. On an average day, a human mind has over 60,000 thoughts a day. Adding to the problem is the overwhelming burden of external stimuli like technology, social media, etc. In such tumultuous and stressful times, mindfulness can provide you with a sense of reprieve and rest.

What Is Meditation?

At the very center, meditation is when you set aside some time to do something solely for yourself and your mental peace. Yes, that’s all, actually. So, as long as you do something well for yourself, that’s called meditation. Therefore, meditation becomes an umbrella term that can include practices like exercise meditation, music meditation, prayer meditation, and so on. 

Read more: 11 Ways How To Practice Mindfulness

Then Where Does The Confusion Arise In Deciphering Mindfulness Vs? Meditation?

The confusion between the two terms actually arises due to a specific type of meditation termed mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is just a practice of being aware of the present moment. It can be practiced in both formal and informal ways. So, when you are doing it informally, you are just incorporating the practice into your daily life activities, say cooking or coloring. But, when you do the same practice formally, it is named mindfulness meditation. 

So mindfulness meditation is an activity where you intentionally pay attention to your surrounding and try to be grounded in the present moment. 

Phew! So What Is Mindfulness Vs. Meditation Exactly?

 Now that we have understood the basic terms and the point of confusion, let us outline the important differences between mindfulness and meditation.

1. Meditation can be a tool to develop mindfulness.

Meditation as a practice can be a great way to develop mindfulness. Doing things for yourself helps you calm your mind and develop a sense of awareness for the present. In the long term, meditation, and especially mindfulness meditation, can help you internalize the idea of being in the present. This way, even in stressful and adverse circumstances, you will learn to recentre yourself and do things differently.

2. Meditation is a practice, while mindfulness is more of an ability.

Meditation is the practice of doing something – praying, exercising, drawing, listening to music, etc. On the other hand, mindfulness is the ability to be more aware of your presence throughout your day. 

Read more: Meditation For The Modern Age – Headspace App Review


Deciphering mindfulness vs. meditation is undoubtedly complex. In conclusion, meditation is the practice of doing something for your own happiness. There are a wide variety of meditations. On the other hand, mindfulness is the ability to be aware of your surroundings. These are two related but different concepts that only overlap when talking about mindfulness meditation.

To learn more about the various forms of meditation, click here.

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