What Is the Difference Between Mindfulness vs. Awareness?

Understanding mindfulness vs. awareness is an essential concept in meditation. Try practicing mindfulness and awareness to help ground yourself in the present.


Photo by Jay Castor on Unsplash


Mindfulness vs. Awareness: What's the Difference?


Did you know that meditation practices can help lower depression and anxiety? According to a research study by Smiling Mind, practicing mindfulness helped support lower scores on depression and anxiety tests when compared to those who did not practice mindfulness.


Practicing meditation is also great practice to support your emotional and physical health. Meditation is a mind-body state focusing on attention and reducing stress and anxiety. The foundations of meditation, known as mindfulness and awareness, are essential concepts to master to get the most out of your meditation.


Below, we'll explore the basics of mindfulness vs. awareness and how to practice these techniques in your meditation efforts.


About Mindfulness


Mindfulness refers to a mental state where you focus entirely on the present. In doing this, mindfulness stresses the importance of focusing only on the "now," paying close attention to feelings and thoughts in the present moment. While it may sound simple, mindfulness can be harder to master than you'd think! Despite realizing it, our minds often focus on past or future events, standing in the way of our thoughts and feelings in the present.


Practicing mindfulness involves training your mind to focus on "today." In turn, mindfulness can help support enhanced well-being, improved memory, reduced stress and anxiety, and much more! With time, researchers continue to learn more ways that practicing mindfulness can benefit us.


Since mindfulness involves focusing on the present, it is easy to see how mindfulness can help support those suffering from anxiety or depression. Mindfulness allows people to focus on actively engaging in the present without fear or shame from past situations.


About Awareness


The concept of awareness refers to our knowledge or perception of a situation or the world around us. Our awareness involves our senses and staying conscious in the present. We use awareness to focus on our thoughts, emotions, and sensations experienced during meditation. The topics of mindfulness vs. awareness are closely related.


Awareness is a subset of mindfulness that allows for processing thoughts without judgment. This means that having a great awareness enables people to sort their ideas out and determine which thoughts to act upon. The concept of awareness focuses on detaching from our many emotions to make conscious decisions.


Mindfulness vs. Awareness


Since mindfulness and awareness are closely related, it can take some time to understand the differences between mindfulness vs. awareness. In summary, mindfulness involves recognizing what is happening in the present moment without judgment. Mindfulness is a skill used in many meditation practices, while awareness is a concept that is ingrained in us. Awareness involves using our senses to perceive and interpret what is happening around us.


Practicing Mindfulness and Awareness


Incorporating mindfulness and awareness exercises into your daily routine doesn't need to be complicated! Many simple ways to practice mindfulness can help support an enhanced quality of life. Practicing mindfulness and awareness can go a long way in our work and personal lives.


Try incorporating a few basic ways to practice mindfulness and awareness to get started.

Slow Down and Pay Attention: If you catch yourself always getting wrapped up in the next thing "to do," try to slow down consciously. In our busy world, stopping and being present in the moment can be challenging. Practicing mindfulness and awareness means slowing down to experience the world around you and the feeling associated with it. Furthermore, put down your cell phone during big moments and focus on enjoying the present!

Breathing: Through focused breathing, you can ground yourself and help support mindfulness and awareness. Start by taking long, deep breaths, which can help refocus your thoughts and emotions on the present moment. Deep breathing can be beneficial during times when you feel anxious or stressed.

STOP Acronym: Remember the STOP acronym to ground yourself in times of anxiety.

– S – Stop what you are doing; put everything down.

– T – Take a deep breath.

– O – Observe your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

– P- Proceed with something that will support your current emotions.

Try Mindfulness Exercises: To help support mindfulness in your daily life, give a few everyday mindfulness exercises a try! One example, known as walking mediation, involves finding a quiet walking place where you'll focus on your awareness of the environment during the walk.

Try Mindful Eating: Eating is something we often rush through, especially during stressful times. Mindful eating can allow you to engage with the experience of eating, enhancing enjoyment. Taking time to smell and slowly chew your food can help to ground you in the present moment. Enhanced awareness during eating can help you slow down!

Mindfulness in Social Interactions: Take time to notice your friends and family when you're socializing. Slow down and focus on being present during the conversation. In the workplace, mindful conversations with coworkers can help improve workflow too.

Try Body Scan Meditation: Body scan meditation can help you become more aware of your thoughts and ground yourself. Start by lying on your back with your legs extended and your arms at your side. Leave your palms facing up. You can lie on the floor, on a bed, or on a couch. Focus your attention on each part of your body, starting from your head down to your toes. During this, be aware of how each body part feels and pay close attention to the sensations you feel.


Why Mindfulness and Awareness Matters


Understanding the concepts of mindfulness vs. awareness is essential for everyone. Practicing mindfulness and awareness can offer many benefits no matter where or what stage of life we're in. Increasing awareness helps us manage expectations of ourselves and others, improve our self-esteem, and demonstrate more kindness and compassion. Mindfulness can help to overcome negative emotions and improve overall well-being.


Give these simple mindfulness and awareness techniques a try in your personal or work life to help you get the most out of every day!