Mindfulness vs. Relaxation

Mindfulness vs. Relaxation

Is Being Mindful and Relaxed the Same Thing?

The short answer is "no". Simply put, being mindful is being aware, and being relaxed is to be free of tension.

Being mindful is to become aware of how you are feeling physically, emotionally, mentally, and increasing awareness of your environment. Being mindful is tuning in to how you are experiencing the present moment and reserving judgment. That might mean becoming aware that you are pretty chilled out, or the exact opposite, maybe you're all revved up!

Relaxation is a whole different thing. Relaxation is the state of being free from tension. This could be physically or mentally. 

Why do we the two get confused?

Many people use mindfulness practices to identify areas of tension to help them relax. For example, if I sit back, and pay attention to my shoulders and neck, I may notice that I'm tensing up my muscles, and that this is giving me a headache. So with this awareness, I decide to roll my shoulders back a few times, take a couple of deep breaths, and purposely allow these muscles to relax. Often too, the product of a mindful practice is to become relaxed. As we focus on the here and now, and accept and acknowledge our thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, we can help to capture a mind that might easily wander into anxiety. This may help us relax.

So with this in mind, why not take 2 minutes to become more aware of the present moment. Scan your body for tension, identify the noises around you, or allow your eyes to rest on your favorite color in the room. Maybe you'll relax, or maybe you'll become re-energized for the rest of your day!

Nicole Wutschnik
Certified Personal Trainer
Certified Group Fitness Instructor
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