Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the current moment. This means applying focused attention to what you are doing at any given moment. This means when distractions from the present moment present themselves that you consciously refocus your attention to what you are actively doing.
Meditation involves the process of quieting the mind to achieve a state of relaxation of the mind and body. One may meditate sitting with the eyes closed for varying lengths of time anywhere from a few minutes up to 20- 30 minutes at a time. Some people count their breaths and some may use a mantra which is an expression repeated in their head as they are sitting quietly. The point is to focus attention on the restful state without other thoughts coming into the mind but when they do actively refocusing on the meditation.
Some research has shown that incorporating mindfulness and meditation into daily life can have an impact in reducing stress and frequency of headaches. One study from 2014 showed that patients who practice meditation had about 1-2 fewer migraines per month and headaches lasting about an average of 3 hours less than those who did not practice meditation.
Another study showed that the practice of mindfulness significantly reduced pain-intensity and decreased anxiety and depressive symptoms.
For more information about meditation and mindfulness talk to your healthcare provider.
Brooke Steiger, NP