Tracey Briggs, MA, AFAA-CPT, NASM- CES, FNS
Employee Wellness Team
Meditation and mindfulness are terms that are synonymous with most wellness practices. These terms are often used interchangeably, but there are subtle differences between the two. Meditation usually refers to a formal exercise that can calm the mind and enhance awareness of ourselves, our minds, and our environment. Mindfulness means being aware of the present moment, and meditation comes under the umbrella of “mindfulness,” which is a broader concept.
Underlying each of the different meditation techniques is a simple coming to awareness of the present moment. Being aware of what is happening in the present moment allows us to observe what is rising and falling away in our conscious mind.
When someone mentions meditating, I have visceral feelings that always pop into my mind. While some of us may conjure up peace and serenity, others may feel a pang of dread and obstinate. What you feel truly depends on your exposure to meditation and the “successes or failures” you have experienced with learning to perfect such a skill.
First of all, realizing that meditation is not an activity that is graded as successful or not is the first positive step in the right direction. You will improve with time, but the benefit of meditating is immediate if you indulge in the practice. You can manage stress, anxiety, pain, and depression with consistent participation.
Guided meditation is a unique style of meditation in which one or more participants meditate in response to verbal instruction, which can be comprised of verbal guidance, written script, audio, or audio-visual mediums. Various studies and findings suggest that guided meditation is a significantly beneficial technique in achieving improved mental health and can provide an alternative approach to promoting well-being. The Journal of the American Medical Association found that a mindfulness stress reduction program helped relieve anxiety symptoms in individuals with generalized anxiety disorder, a condition marked by poor sleep and irritability.
Crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic have shown that change is the only constant. Meditation and mindfulness can offer a helpful way to live with this constant change and provide useful skills. We can learn to better cope with our worries, stressors, and circumstances. Meditation can create a deep understanding of self and foster serenity and a solid foundation of well-being.
One isn’t necessarily better than another. Whether you subscribe to a meditation app like Headspace, learn from a Mindful Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) expert like Michelle DuVal, or you follow time and topic-specific guided meditations available from Benefits & Employee Wellness, the effect of any of these practices can have a resounding positive benefit for your overall health and quality of life.
Visit the Employee Wellness Programs website to learn more about the programs we offer for emotional, financial, physical and nutritional wellness.