There are many incredible benefits of meditation, especially for leaders. This exercise, for instance, can help ground you and bring you back to the present moment when you’re feeling overwhelmed, thereby allowing you to regain your focus.
But whether you’re a beginner or are looking to deepen your practice, developing effective meditation skills requires time, as well as establishing some basic mindfulness skills. To help you discover what works well, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:
What is a good way for people to improve their meditation skills, particularly if they’re still getting a feel for what works best for them?
Here is their advice:
When I’m trying to unwind, I find that burning incense helps me stay focused because it causes me to stop and focus on the smell and all of the unique scents. This is a great practice for letting your mind wander so you can meditate.
I’ve found that controlling my breathing and taking time between each breath helps me find my meditation zone. You learn to focus on the air filling and deflating in your lungs and everything else seems to fade away.
To improve your meditation skills, it helps to choose the right space. Pick a quiet space that’s free from distraction, and it helps if you have a comfortable place to sit or lie down. You could even invest in a meditation chair if need be.
It’s crucial to stay consistent with a meditation routine so your body gets used to it. The time it takes is different for everyone as everyone starts at different levels, but the key is to keep at it until you notice a change. If you’re able to focus on your breathing and ignore the commotion around you, that’s a good starting point.
There are a number of meditation apps on the market that you can use to improve your meditation skills. It can be hard meditating without any direction, but a meditations app, like Calm or Stop, Breathe and Think, provide guided meditations to help you improve your skills.
I’ve had some success combining meditation with listening to binaural sound waves. If you have a nice pair of headphones, putting on an audio track of a sustained reverberating tone can help you avoid distractions while meditating. Personally, I like listening to tones in the 4 to 8 Hz range when trying to relax, and in the 12 to 40 Hz range when trying to focus.
There are thousands of different types and styles of meditation and you will not resonate or enjoy all of them. Some will be easier and more effective for you and some you will struggle with and may not produce any results. The solution? Find the one that works for you and run with it. After 15 years of daily meditation trying many different styles, I can tell you this works fantastically well.
You are what you eat! Don’t eat a lot of oily and spicy food. Avoid unhealthy food that causes an upset and heavy stomach — too much fast food, fermented, junk and canned goods will make you feel tired and sleepy while meditating. It’s best to eat healthy food and keep your stomach light.
The best way to improve meditation skills is to make it a part of your morning routine and practice every day. Meditation is hard to do at first, but once you get into the habit of it, you will find yourself able to focus better and see the positive results from this practice.
Most meditation experts will tell you that it’s not a skill that you get better at. If you take it too seriously and start obsessing over not thinking about anything or whether it is “working,” you’re going to get the opposite of the desired results. Focus on your breath and when you get distracted, observe those thoughts for a second and switch your focus back. It doesn’t mean you’re failing.
Like exercise and good eating habits, it’s very easy to start new habits only to not stay committed. Meditation takes work and it’s not easy to know if you are doing it right or what types of changes you might experience if you stay committed. That’s why I recommend getting professionally trained in Transcendental Meditation so you have a coach to help you stay committed.
A great way for people to improve their meditation skills is to make a habit to do it every day, even if it is only for a few minutes. Instead of blocking out a ton of time once a week to sit and meditate, carve out five minute periods of time in your day to get silent and let your mind relax. The more often you can find stillness and meditate, the easier it will become to get in that mind state.
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.