The age of mindfulness and meditation is here. Once relegated to a “hippy” activity, it’s estimated that as many as 500 million people meditate worldwide, including 14% of Americans.
First a couple of definitions are in order. People use the terms mindfulness and meditation interchangeably but, while they’re closely related, they’re not exactly the same thing.
· Mindfulness means being aware of and anchoring yourself in the present moment without judgment and refocusing your attention when it wanders, often to reduce stress or anxiety in the moment.
· Meditation is a more structured practice, involving more intentional focus, and using mental training techniques.
Another way to understand the difference: meditation involves mindfulness but not all mindfulness leads to a meditative state. For instance, you may be at your desk and stressed about your work so you take a couple of minutes to close your eyes and control your breathing to calm yourself — that’s mindfulness. Meditation requires more of a hard pause, often with the help of movement-based or visual focus, over the course of several minutes or more.
Studies suggest that both mindfulness and meditation can reduce physical pain, anxiety, stress and even depression.
Here are some other ways long-term meditation practice can be beneficial:
· Meditation can reduce the risk of being hospitalized for coronary disease by 87%
· It can reduce wake time for people with insomnia by 50%.
· After following a meditation practice for 6 to 9 months, almost two-thirds of people prone to anxiety reduced their anxiety levels.
· It can help lower blood pressure — and in a study 16% of people who practiced meditation were able to stop taking hypertension drugs.
· It can reduce PMS symptoms by 57%.
· It can help people with back pain improve their ability to do daily tasks by 30%.
· It can increase work productivity by 120%.
Click here for more on meditation, including some helpful apps to get started.
Do you practice mindfulness or meditation? What benefits have you seen? Tell the Shop Talk community all about it.
Did you know?
Mindfulness can increase body satisfaction
Women who received three-week self-compassion meditation training experienced significantly less body dissatisfaction and body shame as well as gains in self-compassion and body appreciation. (Source)