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Concentration and meditation: What's the difference?

Concentration meditation: Difference between concentration and meditation

To kick things off, consider the following activities:

  1. Reading a book
  2. Repeating a mantra in mind.
  3. Focusing on the flame of candle.
  4. Savoring the aroma of your morning coffee or tea

Now, ask yourself: are these acts of concentration or meditation? Quite confusing right? In today's fast-paced world, the terms 'meditation' and 'concentration' often intertwine in discussions about mental wellness, productivity, and personal growth. Many of us might use these terms interchangeably, but understanding their distinct nuances is pivotal. Both play integral roles in shaping our mental landscapes in different ways.

So, how do they differ, and when should you use each approach in your daily life? Let's find out.

What is Concentration?

Definition: Concentration refers to the process of focusing your entire attention and mental ability on a single task, subject, or thought, excluding all other external and internal distractions. It's the act of channeling your cognitive resources like attention, memory and reasoning onto one particular point or activity at a time.

Role in daily life: Every day, whether you realize it or not, you utilize concentration in multifarious ways. Be it reading a book, listening carefully in a meeting, to performing intricate tasks which could be assembling a puzzle, painting, programming, sewing, etc. So, concentration is your cognitive anchor that keeps you in a track, away from distractions. It's that underpinning force that keeps you aligned with your objectives and prevents you from getting lost in this modern world where even a minor social media notification can break your flow. The benefits are palpable: enhanced productivity, better retention of information, and improved performance in tasks that demand careful attention. The efficiency and quality of your work is majorly dependent on how well you concentrate.

A man concentrating on his work: Is concentration the same as meditation?

Techniques for boosting concentration: While numerous methods can enhance your concentration, some tried and true techniques include:

  1. Prioritization: Making a list of tasks and start with the most important one.
  2. Decluttered workspace: Ensuring a clean workspace free from unnecessary items and distractions.
  3. Pomodoro technique: Breaking work into intervals, typically 25 minutes long, followed by short breaks.
  4. Mindful Eating: Being consciously present during meals instead of watching something or getting caught in thoughts so as to nourish both the body and mind.
  5. Digital Detox: Less usage of screen time to avoid blue light, especially before bedtime.

And interestingly, among these techniques, meditation tailored for focus is emerging as a powerful tool to not only enhance concentration but to refine the very fabric of our attention.

Also read:

What's the best time to meditate?

Can meditation increase your height naturally after 18?

What is Meditation?

Definition: Meditation is a practice where individuals use techniques like mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity, to improve attention span and become more self aware, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. Rooted in ancient traditions, it transcends mere concentration, providing a pathway to understanding yourself deeply as well as the world around you.

Role in daily life: In the tumult of modern life, meditation emerges as a sanctuary for the soul. Its calming effects are manifold: from reducing stress and anxiety, boosting focus, memory and self confidence, to enhancing overall well-being. By consistently engaging in meditation, you can cultivate a meditative mind—a state of sustained calmness, clarity, and attentiveness, even outside of meditation sessions. This meditative state helps you in navigating the complexities of daily life, making decisions with clarity, and promoting genuine mind relaxation. Over time, the ripple effects of meditation can transform not just individual lives, but also resonate within communities, fostering harmony and mutual understanding.

A girl sitting in meditation posture: What's the difference between concentration and meditation

Types of Meditation: Meditation manifests in various forms like loving kindness, chakra, progressive relaxation, transcendental meditation and a whole lot of other forms, each with its unique characteristics, it helps you attain inner peace and understand yourself in a better manner which is essential for personal growth. To know about the different types of meditation and find the right one for you, read this blog:

12 types of meditation: Which is the right one for you?

Key differences between meditation and concentration

Concentration and meditation as often used interchangeably, yet they remain distinct practices, each wielding its unique power and benefits. Let's delve into their core differences:


  • Concentration: At its core, concentration is the art of single-mindedness. It's about zeroing in your attention on a single task, a thought, or an object, keeping potential distractions at bay. Whether it's solving a math problem, reading a book, or listening to someone speak, concentration is about holding your attention steady.
  • Meditation: Meditation, on the other hand, often encompasses a broader spectrum of awareness. While certain meditation practices do focus on specific points (like concentration meditation), others, like mindfulness meditation, are about cultivating a non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. Some meditative practices even involve the act of "letting go", making you feel connected to everything around you.


  • Concentration: Concentration usually occurs in limited duration, dictated by the task at hand. Once the task concludes, so does the act of concentration.
  • Meditation: Meditation can span diverse durations, from a few minutes to several hours. Prolonged meditation retreats can even last for days, wherein you spend your time being in the meditative state, in a state of complete awareness.


  • Concentration: The primary outcome of concentration is enhanced task performance. Whether it's studying for an exam, crafting an artwork, or playing a musical instrument, strong concentration amplifies your efficiency and the quality of your output.
  • Meditation: The outcomes of meditation are multi-faceted. Immediate effects might include a sense of calm and relaxation. However, the real magic of meditation can be achieved with consistent practice which can yield profound long-term benefits. You'll feel more relaxed, less stressed, handle your emotions well, know yourself better as well as see positive changes in your brain such as improvement in cognitive abilities like memory, empathy, and stress.


  • Concentration: Concentration is predominantly an active process. It requires effort to maintain focus, especially when faced with potential distractions. It's similar to flexing your muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it gets.
  • Meditation: Depending on the type, meditation can be passive or observational. For instance, in mindfulness meditation, practitioners passively observe thoughts as they arise and fade. There's no active effort to change, judge, or hold onto these thoughts. In contrast, concentration meditation does require an active effort to maintain focus on a particular point.

In essence, while both concentration and meditation are crucial tools for mental well-being and performance, they cater to different aspects of our cognitive and emotional landscapes.

Concentration meditation vs. Mindfulness meditation

Concentration meditation

  • What it is: Concentration meditation is about focusing your attention a single point, could be sound, visual object, or thought.
  • Goal: The main goal is to prevent the mind from wandering and even if it does, bringing the attention back to the breath.

Mindfulness Meditation

  • What it is: mindfulness meditation is about observing your thoughts, your feelings as they come and go. Rather than focusing your attention a single point, you act like a spectator observing your own thoughts.
  • Goal: The main goal is to observe your thoughts with a neutral perspective, without being overly attached or reactive towards them. It's about being in the present moment.

Also read: The Linkedin CEO who 'did nothing'

How concentration and meditation complement each other

Concentration and meditation, while distinct in their nature, share a symbiotic relationship. When practiced in tandem, they can elevate each other, resulting in a more refined mental sharpness and profound inner peace. Here's a closer look at how these two interweave and complement each other:

1. Concentration as a foundation for meditation

  • Enhanced meditation practice: A developed sense of concentration can be a boon for meditation, especially for beginners. When you have a good focus potential, you can enter deeper states of meditation more rapidly, making the practice more effective and rewarding.
  • Fewer distractions: A trained mind, adept in concentration, encounters fewer distractions during meditation. This results in less frequent wandering of thoughts, allowing for a more immersive meditative experience.
  • Versatility in practice: Strong concentration abilities open doors to a variety of meditation techniques that require sustained focus, such as concentration meditation, chakra meditation, or mantra-based practices.

Also read:

Is it safe to do Om chanting 108 times?

2. Meditation augments concentration in daily life

  • Increased attention span: Regular meditation nurtures the brain's ability to maintain attention. This refined attention span translates directly into enhanced concentration in various tasks, from reading and writing to intricate problem-solving.
  • Reduced mental fatigue: Mindfulness and other meditation practices instill a sense of calm and balance, reducing the mental fatigue that often impedes concentration. A meditated mind is more resilient to prolonged tasks that demand focus.
  • Improved emotional regulation: Emotional turbulence is a common disruptor of concentration. As meditation fosters emotional balance, it indirectly promotes better concentration by minimizing emotional distractions.
  • Enhanced memory and recall: Certain meditation techniques, like mindfulness, have been linked to improved memory and cognitive function. This not only aids in concentration but also in the retention and recall of information, making tasks like studying or project planning more efficient.

In essence, concentration and meditation, when practiced together, can greatly amplify each other. Concentration paves the way for a richer, deeper meditative experience, while meditation paves the way for heightened focus and clarity in daily life. This relationship between the two can lead to both personal and professional growth, giving you a sense of balance and positivity in life.

Final thoughts

In this fast paced world, it becomes more important for you to slow down and keep your mind calm and balanced. And that's what meditation aims to provide you so that you are more efficient while handling your daily work. It's like a deep journey within yourself which will help you know yourself better in the long run. On the other hand, concentration keeps you focused in what you're doing instead of being carried away by distractions.

When meditation and concentration are used together, they can make you more calm yet sharp. And they're not just something you should do; they are important skills for life.

Here's to a journey of balance, focus, and inner tranquility.

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