Mindfulness can be a beneficial method of stress relief for many leaders and business owners, but it’s not always easy to master. Being present in each moment is challenging when you’re constantly dwelling on past mistakes or worrying about future plans. However, anyone can become more mindful with the right strategies and a little bit of practice.
To find out what works, we asked a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members the following question:
Which method do you prefer for practicing mindfulness? Why does this approach work so well?
Here’s what they said:
Kirtan yoga and meditation, combining elements of music and chanting, are best for me to recharge, be present and get myself to a mindful state. If you have trouble concentrating on traditional mantras and have an active mind, the kirtan and chanting are excellent for silencing the inner monologue.
2. Meditative Breathing
Meditation is a great practice for mindfulness because it regulates the work of our nervous system and helps our brains focus on the right thing. If your days are extremely busy, you have to make time for it whenever you can. So put your phone on airplane mode, concentrate on your breath and see what your mind is trying to tell you. Every time, I find that my thoughts are enough to keep me going.
3. Guided Meditation Apps
I’m still new to practicing mindfulness and find that some of the guided meditations have been helpful to keep my mind from wandering. Some of my favorite apps are Headspace and Calm. Guided meditations are a great way to start the day and relax.
I’ve recently learned to compartmentalize and give each task or moment 100 percent of my attention. When I’m with my kids, I’m in the moment without screens. When I’m cooking dinner, I no longer FaceTime. When working, I ignore incoming notifications, knowing they’ll still be there when I’ve finished my thought. One thing at a time, and 100 percent in the moment.
5. Reflect on Your Accomplishments
Entrepreneurs always want the best for themselves and for their businesses. We are very ambitious and high achievers. So when things don’t go according to plan, we tend to be really hard on ourselves. One method I used specifically to be mindful is to look how far I’ve come. Reminiscing on both the good and the bad times can be a good reminder that I can and will overcome any obstacle in my way.
6. Progressive Relaxation
One of my favorite methods of mindfulness is called body scan or progressive relaxation. This method encourages practitioners to “scan” their bodies for areas of tension with the goal of noticing and releasing that tension. I can do this easily in my office. I start at usually at my feet and work up through the body. I visualize a wave, drifting over the body to release tension. Anyone can do it!
I have found reading to be extremely helpful towards zoning out of the day-to-day micro challenges. A book has the power to help you sink into a new universe. A few minutes of quiet reading can help you revisit a thought with more clarity and composure.
8. Puzzle Games
If I need to give my mind some breathing room, I’ll play a puzzle game on my phone or computer. When I play something like 2048 or Tetris, I get into this rhythm where it feels as though I enter a meditative state. Usually, playing a round or two of these games will only take up between 20 to 30 minutes of my time, but will leave me feeling as refreshed as if I had taken a long nap.
9. Go Into Nature
I enjoy practicing mindfulness in nature. Whenever I can, I will go to a national park or the ocean with my family to relax. There’s something about being in nature that makes you feel so small which is a very humbling experience. Check out Google Maps and see what kind of cool parks are in your area if you’re looking to practice mindfulness closer to nature.
10. Active Listening
I have noticed that I am sometimes quick to respond in conversation or even judgment in my own mind. Meditation, reading and travel have allowed for mental openness. Taking these in everyday interactions, I practice to challenge myself to listen and not respond (internally and externally). This has allowed me to be more mindful and approach life with a unique perspective every time.
11. Fly Somewhere
When I sit on an airplane, I am able to learn a little more about who I am as a person and what value I can bring to the world. I always get new ideas on the plane while reading a book or speaking to someone next to me. If you want to achieve mindfulness, take a flight and see where it takes you. You receive so much from a flight because you have a secure place to think.
12. Get Up Early
Setting the alarm early allows me to wake up slowly and start the day with intention. This is my favorite way to stay mindful. When I was younger, I would get up and rush to work right away, and I found that by starting the day that way I was in a rush from start to finish. I was always late and running out of time.
13. People Watch
People-watching isn’t anything weird or creepy. In fact, most of us do it when we’re sitting in a coffee shop watching people walk by on the sidewalk. It’s a great way to relax and practice mindfulness because we stop focusing on ourselves and just watch people in the moment.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.