A version of this article first appeared at Antwerp Avenue.
If you’re anything like us, you’re probably exhausted from hearing people talk about the powers of mindfulness and meditation. Over the past few years, it’s been impossible to listen to a podcast or click on an Instagram page without the benefits of meditation being thrown in your face. Meditation is often associated with hippies sitting at a festival wearing tie-dye or doing 10 day silent retreats in the mountains of India. Sure, a lot of people who meditate fit into those categories. But recent research has shown that meditation has incredible benefits for people using it to boost their professional life. Here, I take a look at some of the ways meditation can help you achieve your business dreams.
The modern lifestyle is exhausting, no doubt about it. From the need to smash our goals at work and the gym, to the pressure of maintaining a social life that looks great on Instagram, it often feels like we need to be in a million places at once.
For entrepreneurs and freelancers, who often carry an extra financial burden, making time to relax can save you from a burnout and from developing stress related health issues. Meditation is a great form of stress relief because it can be performed anywhere, and without any specialist equipment. The basis of meditation is focusing on one thing – or on nothing – for an extended period of time – essentially, being mindful. But if you’re really busy, you can work meditation into your daily life. Next time you’re walking somewhere, switch off your music and pay attention to your steps, and the way it feels when your feet touch the ground. Even taking a shower or doing the washing up mindfully can help – try and stay in the moment and feel the water on your skin, slowing down to focus on the sensations. After all – you’ve got to do the washing up anyway, so you may as well multi-task!
If you’re facing a difficult situation at work and can’t see a way out, meditation is here to help. We know how it goes – you’re trying to figure out how to solve a difficult supply problem, or how to break off a relationship with a client. Sometimes, you spend so long going over the problem in your mind that you can’t seem to find a way out. Since it involves clearing your mind of outside distractions, meditation can give you a fresh perspective on a sticky situation. Next time you’re struggling, take a few minutes to sit quietly and focus on breathing deeply and calmly – and then go back and try and figure out your problem. Chances are, you’ll find it much easier to come to a solution once you’ve given your mind some distance.
Clarity on your goals
Part of being an entrepreneur is being able to see into the future: things might not work out exactly how you planned, but it’s good to know the general direction you want your business to take. If you’re at a crossroads and not sure what your business goals should be for the upcoming months, you guessed it! Meditation to the rescue again.
This time, try taking some time away from distractions. Maybe go and sit in the park with your phone on flight mode, and just a notebook and a pen for company. Spend a few minutes sitting peacefully and give yourself the freedom to daydream about your business. In this state of semi-consciousness, new ideas can pop into your head, finally able to surface when the chatter in your brain calms down. This is a useful exercise to repeat regularly, even if you know exactly the direction you want your business to take. Who knows what million dollar ideas might be hiding in your mind, waiting for a quiet moment to appear…