In today’s world, it can be difficult to find a few moments of true quiet. I don’t mean just quiet away from kids, spouses, traffic, pets and the countless other people and things all vying for our attention. I mean quiet from the noise within. While we all have this noise, I want to focus from the standpoint of an entrepreneur. There’s a flood of ideas, thoughts, and things to do constantly. One thing I have found that truly helps me not only focus, but be more creative and innovative, is meditation. Meditation is my mental health time; to set an intention for my day and to cultivate deep compassion and gratitude.
So, what exactly is meditation? Meditation is a wellness practice that focuses on being mindful and present by training ourselves to be more aware, attentive, and compassionate. Originating in the East, meditation is now popular worldwide due to its incredible benefits.
It’s taken me quite a while to really hone my practice. Initially, I was fidgety and could only sit still for a few minutes without my mind wandering. New ideas would come to me or an item to add to the to do list and I’d immediately get up to go write everything down. I would hear a noise and focus on that for the next several minutes wondering what it was, which would lead down a whole different corridor in my mind. All this to say, it was hard to focus.
But I stuck with it. I would fight the urge to get up and go write things down. Instead, when I would find my thoughts wondering, I would think about them like clouds in the sky – passing by without sticking around – or waves in the ocean, not being able to take hold. It takes practice, and patience, until it becomes a habit. Mediation is now a habit for me, and I have found the benefits to be amazing for me personally and professionally.
While these benefits are true for anyone, I feel the benefit of meditation on entrepreneurs is limitless. There is always so much noise in our heads. We are creative and innovative, sometimes to our own detriment. We have the stress of the economy, finding new customers, paying the bills, securing investors, ensuring the well-being of our employees all while trying to keep our own family and sanity in check.
5 benefits of meditation are:
Gaining a new perspective. Meditation allows us to slow down and process information without reacting. It allows us to see a potential solution to a problem that we otherwise could have missed. A sense of open-mindedness is created.
Increasing self-awareness. Meditation is introspective. Depending on the type of mediation you do, you can develop a greater understanding of yourself and how you relate to others. You can also start to recognize any negative or self-defeating thoughts and start to move toward more constructive patterns of thinking.
Increasing creativity and innovation. Meditation allows us to open our minds to new ideas; to what is possible. But, because it improves attention, it becomes easier to assess the usefulness of an idea versus the novelty of an idea. Meditation also nurtures the courage to move on from setbacks or skepticism, which can impede creativity and innovation.
Increasing resilience. Meditation helps build resilience, which helps mitigate stress, regulates emotions, creates a more positive outlook, leads to more kindness, empathy…well you get the picture.
Focusing on the present. Part of practicing meditation is focusing on the present moment – your breath, any tension points in your body – and starts with finding a comfortable seat or position. Tap into how you are feeling in the moment. Mindfulness meditation is allowing what is versus what was or what will be.
So how do you start a practice?
- Get comfortable. Either sit in a chair with your feet on the floor or sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Depending on the type of meditation, you can even lay down.
- Define your time and place. This is what helps you build a routine or habit. Find a quiet place and determine what time of day you want to meditate. I find first thing in the morning is the best for me.
- Sit tall and close your eyes. If it’s not comfortable to close your eyes, then softly gaze at a stationary object in the room. Get your fidgets out to sit tall and be comfortable.
- Focus on your breath. Breathe in and breathe out, allowing you to build concentration on one point of focus.
- Scan the body. Observe the sensations of the body. Does your nose itch? Are your hands cold? These sensations will pass. You are just building your awareness by observing them.
- Start small. Start with 5-10 minutes a day and build up from there. The point is just to be intentional and actually meditate. I promise, it does become easier with time.
There are many apps available to help you develop a meditation practice. Do what feels good to you and allows you to develop the muscle to meditate. Above all else, be kind to yourself. Meditation takes time and focus, but I know you are capable.