What’s the difference between mindfulness and meditation?

  • Meditation is a subset of mindfulness—a set of techniques for practicing mindfulness using a particular structure.
  • Mindfulness can be practiced within or outside of formal meditation and woven into any activity.

Read on as we break down these two practices and share the benefits of mindfulness and meditation in the workplace.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a present-centered conscious awareness around your internal, external, and interactional experience—it includes your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.

Mindfulness Can Help You:

  • Self-observation—detachment from self-created “stories”
  • Conscious response vs. unconscious reaction
  • Attention with intention
  • Enhances capacity to respond skillfully to circumstances
  • Mind training

Mindfulness Benefits in the Workplace:

  • Reduces distractions
  • Improves concentration and task focus
  • Helps alleviate procrastination
  • Decreases stress
  • Improves the quality of work-related interactions and relationships—with co-workers, superiors, and subordinates (known as Emotional Intelligence)

How Can Mindfulness Improve Emotional Intelligence (EI)?

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify one’s own emotions, be consciously aware of them as they happen, and regulate them and their effects on one’s behavior. Combined with mindfulness, EI gives you the ability to accurately sense and empathize with the emotions of others and negotiate interactions skillfully.

Meditation

Forms of Meditation:

  • Concentrative practices aim to sustain conscious attention on specific content, such as particular internal sounds or bodily sensations.
  • Open awareness practices have a more broad-based focus and aim to develop a big-picture monitoring ability to register sensory content and experience without fixating on it

Guidelines for Successful Meditation:

  • A quiet (as possible) space—minimize external distraction
  • Assume a comfortable position with a straight back
  • Start slowly and give yourself a break (self-compassion)—initially it’ll be strange and perhaps uncomfortable
  • Consistency is key—frequency, time of day, location (as practical)

What is Intentional Breathing?

Intentional Breathing connects mind and body, allowing you to breathe with intention and attention. As a foundation to a variety of mindfulness and meditation practices, intentional breathing can help: reduce stress, decrease anxiety, lower blood pressure, improve digestion, increase the level of oxygen in the bloodstream, and improve sleep and energy cycles.

Meditation Benefits in the Workplace

  • Mental balance – Observing, detaching from, and adjusting our thoughts.
  • Emotional balance – Identifying and expressing feelings such as distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and self-calming.
  • Actualize the Serenity Prayer: identifying what we can change vs. what we can’t.

Learn what fits and works for you. Practice with persistence to become better!


About the Author

Dan Mager, MSW, is a FitExpert located in Las Vegas, NV. He has been a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, and clinical director, across a wide range of behavioral health and substance abuse treatment settings, including community-based outpatient services, residential treatment centers, and hospital-based programs.

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