For those who have never been exposed to or practiced either meditation or mindfulness, you may be wondering: What are they, are they different and what are the benefits? 

As we are in this season of thankfulness for our nation’s veterans and all the freedoms we have, our team wanted to shed light on these practices and how they can help you develop a deeper sense of gratitude. 

MEDITATION

Meditation is the overall practice of focused thought or reflection with the purpose of reaching a heightened level of awareness. It is a process in which one tunes out the world and turns their attention inward, either towards peace or finding insight.

MINDFULNESS

Mindfulness is actually a form of meditation. It is described as the act of being aware of the present moment experience, but doing so without judgment, elaboration, or emotional reactivity. You can practice mindfulness informally by just being aware and paying attention to whatever you’re doing (or not doing). 

As an example, mindfulness could look like truly savoring a food or beverage, focusing your attention on breathing, or being present in a conversation. 

There are many ways to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into their day, and it doesn’t have to be on your own. There are tools and apps, such as Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer or Simple Habit, that can walk you through short or longer mindfulness sessions.

BENEFITS OF PRACTICING MEDITATION & MINDFULNESS 

Research shows that practicing meditation and gratitude activates areas of our brain associated with social judgment, decision-making, and emotional processing. It is proven to lower heart rate, support healthy blood pressure and immune functioning, and improve sleep quality and duration. People who intentionally practice mindfulness even show less symptoms of physical illness, are happier, less stressed and friendlier to others.

As part of our Boot Salute 11-day activity plan leading up to Veterans Day, we’ve created two, custom meditation exercises for you to try. Simply register with a donation of $11.11 to access the full plan, including the 11-minute Sound Meditation and 11-minute Mindfulness Session. Visit our Boot Salute page to learn more or sign up.