Being an entrepreneur is stressful. We live in a fast-paced world where our to-do lists seem never-ending and we’re expected to be available 24/7. It’s challenging to try and grow your business while simultaneously managing everyday life. Which is why meditation can be such a helpful tool for entrepreneurs.
I’ll be honest. I was quite skeptical about working the practice into my daily routine.
Could meditation really be the key to unlocking higher levels of productivity, lower stress and greater focus? Is it as beneficial as everyone says?
Once I finally decided to work a couple of minutes of meditation into my day, I quickly noticed small improvements. While the benefits aren’t just limited to entrepreneurs, there are some incredibly beneficial outcomes for practicing meditation daily.
Today, we’re discussing how meditation can help the busy entrepreneur learn to manage stress and improve productivity, and how with only a few minutes each day you can get started.
What is Meditation?
Simply put, meditation is focusing and re-directing your thoughts. One of the advantages is how personalized it can be from person to person.
Some people practice meditation by merely focusing on their breathing for a period of time. Other people choose to complete an activity, such as cooking or going for a walk, while trying to focus on the task at hand.
Now, your mind will wander when you meditate, but that is ok. One main point is to simply bring your wandering thoughts back to the present.
The Benefits of Meditation
1. Reduces Stress
Meditation has been shown to cause changes in your brain that can help with stress reduction. A study conducted by Sara Lazar found improvement in the amygdala region of the brain, which controls anxiety, stress and fear.
The study found the changes after only eight weeks of meditation.
2. Reduces Ruminating Thoughts
A ruminating thought is when you replay a problematic thought in your head over and over.
Picture this: You’ve been working on a project for weeks, pouring your heart and soul into the work. It is now time to present your project to the world. Except when you do, you’re met with a less-than-enthusiastic response.
As an entrepreneur, we are tied incredibly close to our work. It can be challenging to let go of negative feedback we get.
Rather than play that negative feedback over and over on an endless loop in your mind, the healthy thing to do would be to move forward.
Meditation helps you reduce ruminating thoughts by helping you focus on the present, rather than things in the past.
3. Increases Attention Span
Imagine how much work you could get done if you could increase your attention span. Meditation improves your attention span, which would work wonders for your productivity.
In a 2008 study conducted by Chambers et al., it was found that those who took part in a 10-day intensive mindfulness meditation retreat had better working memory capacity and longer attention spans, compared to a control group that did not participate in the retreat.
4. Improves Sleep
Stress, ruminating thoughts and several other factors tend to keep us up at night. The relaxation response triggered by meditation allows your body and mind to enter into a peaceful state where you can fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer.
How to Get Started
There are different ways to meditate, and as you begin, you will find which way you prefer!
You can meditate from virtually anywhere. You don’t need any fancy equipment or tools or any previous experience.
If you are brand new, you might like following along with apps or videos.
Some great apps for starting your meditation journey include:
YouTube also has many guided meditation videos that you can listen to by searching “guided meditation.”
You can also try meditating on your own, without any apps or videos by sitting down in a quiet area, closing your eyes, and focusing on your breath as you breathe in and out.
As thoughts wander into your mind (and they will) you simply need to acknowledge them and continue to focus on your breathing.
Meditation doesn’t need to be a lengthy process to start seeing results. If it’s something you haven’t done before, trying it out for two or three minutes at a time, a couple times per day, can often be enough to get you started.