The difference between mindfulness, meditation and manifestation

Mindfulness, meditation, and manifestation are workouts for the mind, each enabling us to develop different strengths and address various weaknesses. They help us become better versions of ourselves. As these ancient practices steadily gain popularity, transitioning into mainstream culture, some of their principles and values are inevitably getting lost in translation. In this article, we’ll explore the differences and similarities between them.

While some may consider mindfulness, meditation, and manifestation as interchangeable, they each provide distinct experiences and outcomes. It’s worthwhile learning and appreciating their individual nuances. Just as people have preferences in exercise, we can approach these practices similarly. 

We all gravitate towards different challenges, and it’s valuable to recognise what resonates with us personally. For some, meditation may feel difficult to embrace, while mindfulness might feel more accessible. Though all three practices are possible for everyone to enjoy, individuals may find one to be more impactful.

Below, you’ll find descriptions of each practice and how to approach them. I encourage you to experiment with the practice that fascinates you. One may resonate with you more than the others but, if you’re drawn to all three, why not give them all a try?


Do you ever find yourself stopping to soak in the visual delights on your walk in the park – the trees, flowers, and beautiful weather? This is a form of mindfulness! Taking a moment to gently focus on the present allows us to step away from our inner chatter, daily worries, and to-do list.

We can tune into the here and now by admiring our environment, deepening our breath, or by recognising the sensations of touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste. Intentionally anchoring ourselves to what is happening around us grants us distance from our daily concerns – the ‘what might go wrong’ possibilities – those ‘what if’ worries.

As humans, our minds are often preoccupied with potential threats. We spend a lot of our precious time thinking about what could happen to us yet, most of the time, those negative outcomes never become our reality.

Our brains are hardwired to protect us, and to recognise possible dangers, they aren’t wired to help us stay calm and happy. However, in our modern world, we don’t need to remain on high alert. We have the luxury of time and space to simply exist, and to appreciate the small moments. Through mindfulness practice, we can cultivate feelings of peace and joy within ourselves.

Mindful guided imagery exercise

Even when we are unable to practice mindfulness in an ideal setting, we possess the ability to transport ourselves there – mindful moments can unfold wherever we choose. We can use our powerful imaginations to create a moment of mindfulness for ourselves. Our minds and bodies are connected – when we envision something peaceful and calming, our bodies respond by softening and relaxing. 

Feeling stressed at work? Take a moment to ease the tension. Lower your gaze, take a few deep breaths, allow yourself to detach from your duties, and visualise your safe place. It might be a place that actually exists – your favourite nature spot, your bedroom, or it may be a make-believe place. Maybe you visualise yourself floating in the clouds. Wherever makes you feel good and safe, take yourself there. 

To stay focused on this visualisation, ponder the following: 

  • What are you doing in this place? 
  • What sounds do you hear? 
  • Is anyone there with you? 
  • What colours do you see? 
  • What time of day is it there? 
  • What are you wearing?

Mindfulness practice can be as simple as immersing yourself in your present or imagined environment and cherishing the experience. Use gratitude as the focal point!


Arguably, the more you practice mindfulness, the more accessible meditation may become to you. Meditation is a form of mindfulness – it necessitates attention to the present moment, with added elements, techniques, and purposes. 

Meditation needs mindfulness, but mindfulness doesn’t need meditation.

Many individuals struggle to embrace meditation as they fear they are ‘getting it wrong,’ but there is no getting it ‘right’! You don’t need to be cross-legged with an empty mind, totally at peace every session. Even experienced meditators struggle to slow down their inner chatter, and some of us with limited flexibility have to lie down rather than sit tall.

Avoid adopting a perfectionist mentality when meditating. Instead of thinking, “I need to feel this way”, reframe your attitude to “I am ready for whatever comes my way”. Having an open mind to whatever arises during a session is preferable. Meditation doesn’t always lead to you feeling completely relaxed, and that is OK.

Meditation allows us to enter a profound state of awareness. It provides an opportunity to delve deeper than we might in a mindfulness session and explore ourselves – who we really are and what we want from life.

There are benefits beyond physical and mental relaxation. Through meditation, we can learn to treat ourselves with greater kindness, address insecurities, and stimulate personal growth. So, if you are looking for a truly transformational practice, meditation might open the right doors for you.

There are many different types of meditation worth exploring. Trial and error is your best bet, as different approaches offer a totally unique experience. Here are some types of meditation you can try:

Meditation exercise

Find a comfortable position where you can remain still. Lower your gaze or close your eyes. Lengthen your spine, relax your shoulders, slightly tuck your chin in, and begin to deepen your breath. 

Allow your breath to gradually slow down (don’t rush this process, or you may find yourself out of breath). Stop deep breathing if you start to feel lightheaded or uncomfortable, and listen to your body.

Gently observe the rise and fall of your stomach and notice the sensations you experience. If your focus wavers, place one hand on your upper stomach and the other on your lower to deepen your connection with the sensations. Take it a step further by visualising (in your mind, not with your eyes) your entire body softening as you synchronise with your breath and notice its effects on your body’s movement. 

While it may seem mundane to follow the movements of your stomach, it’s valuable to recognise how much work your body is doing just to function. Your body is an intelligent vehicle that enables you to hug your friends, visit your favourite café, and go on walks in nature. Take a moment to thank your body for everything it does to keep you alive and moving.

Extend this meditation by exploring other sensations within your body, nurturing a deep sense of connection and gratitude for the gift of experiencing life through your body. I recommend going beyond five minutes – it takes time to ease into the process.


While many perceive manifestation as a practice aimed at attaining physical and material wealth, its essence lies in enriching the mind. Manifestation is not magic; it is not about simply voicing wishes for your dream life to materialise. Instead, it entails confronting your current self-conceptions and notions of possibility to reach a state where you can genuinely believe that your desired life is attainable.

Similar to meditation, manifestation enables us to delve deep and unearth personal truths:

  • How do we feel about ourselves? 
  • What are our perceived limitations? 
  • What do we believe is meant for us? 

These are the questions we can reflect on and gradually become comfortable answering when we practice manifestation. When we wholeheartedly believe in our aspirations, we position ourselves to take action and manifest the desired outcomes.

Many of us encounter mental blocks; we might believe we aren’t intelligent enough to secure our dream job or that we aren’t attractive enough to find a loving partner. Manifestation requires us to confront these concerns.

It empowers us to delineate our desires and then identify what obstructs us – most commonly our self-perception. We aim to embody the energy of someone deserving of the dream job or a loving partner. How do we achieve this? Well, we can utilise manifestation journaling prompts to delve deep and uncover how we might be hindering ourselves.

Manifestation journaling prompts

  • What topics/activities/projects are you naturally curious about or talented at?
  • What holds you back from doing the things you want to do?
  • What resources do you have available that you are grateful for? This can be people, places, social media, books, anything.
  • When do you feel you are in a position of power?
  • What daily habits hold you back and limit your life?
  • What values have you adopted from others (parents, friends, public figures) that don’t feel important to you?
  • What task are you avoiding that, once completed, could make you feel better and proud of yourself?
  • What do you believe you deserve in this life – what feelings, experiences, and achievements?

Many of us struggle with feelings of unworthiness, yet we all deserve to live a fulfilling life. Understanding and empathising with ourselves is crucial. We can only act on our dreams when we truly feel deserving of pursuing them.

Mindfulness, meditation, and manifestation are powerful practices that offer transformative benefits when approached with openness and readiness. If you find yourself trapped in negative thought patterns or poor self-perception, these practices can empower you to break free and cultivate positive change.

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Written by Alessia Sutherberry
Alessia is a coach, content creator and writer who cares deeply about making people feel good about themselves. She helps people understand where their self-limiting beliefs stem from so they can foster self-awareness and self-love.
Written by Alessia Sutherberry
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