Meditation is defined as a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. Meditation has been known to reduce stress, control anxiety, promote emotional health, and more. There are two major styles of meditation:
- Focused-attention meditation: Concentrates attention on a single object, thought, sound or visualization. It emphasizes ridding your mind of attention and distraction.
- Open-monitoring meditation: Encourages broadened awareness of all aspects of your environment, train of thought and sense of self. It may include becoming aware of thoughts, feelings or impulses that you might normally try to suppress.
According to Johnson and Kristeller (2005), meditation often is associated with solitary retreat, if not the preoccupation with one’s own concerns. The question they propose is, “how, then, does such a practice promote compassion for others?” Through their research, the authors proposed a two-stage model. “The first stage involves disengagement from usual preoccupation with self‐reinforcing, self‐defeating, or self‐indulgent behaviors and reactions; the second involves a focused engagement with a universal human capacity for altruistic experience, love, and compassion,” (Johnson and Kristeller 2005). Their findings indicate that with meditation comes altruistic behavior and self-compassion, therefore by enforcing a positive and healthier mindset.
This blog post will explain how meditation is a proactive practice by listing its benefits, why it is now becoming the new practice in business, and mention a few successful leaders that have taken up the practice. Ultimately, meditation has now become a practice that has helped leading businesses and leaders find further success. Let’s start with the benefits.
Meditation is a Stress Reducer
When increased by mental and physical stress, the hormone cortisol, a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands, can produce harmful effects, such as inflammation-promoting chemicals. Many styles of meditation can help reduce stress, such as Mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is the psychological process of purposely bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present without judgment.
Enhances Self Awareness
Some forms of meditation, such as self-inquiry meditation, aim to help develop a stronger understanding of the self. Understanding the self, or self-awareness has been found to improve self-esteem, reduce feelings of loneliness, and development of empathy. Essentially, self-inquiry meditation helps with the process of knowing/finding yourself. This style is also a great starting point for making positive changes.
Meditation Improves Sleep
Meditation helps control or redirect the racing “runaway” thoughts that most people experience each night. Further, mindfulness meditation can help relax the body, releasing the tension, and placing you in a peaceful state. In addition to better sleep quality, meditation also helps with better memory and self-observation. Now that I have listed some benefits, allow me to introduce the effects of meditation in relation to business.
In addition to the benefits listed above, which are also beneficial to business, I will list more specific-oriented benefits that focus on your most valuable asset: the mind. By not immediately reacting to feelings of pain and pleasure, we toughen our minds and boost our sense of inner peace. Additionally, we broaden our perspective and capability to understand things that stress us out. Unfortunately, most things in our life are out of our control. However, we can control OUR minds. Through patience and persistence, which is also the key to success in terms of business, meditation teaches discipline through the mind. The effects of discipline allow the mind to stay focus, become resilient, especially for overworked CEOs, and improve long-term mental health.
“I came to meditation in my own life during a very stressful work period that then turned into a very stressful personal period. But it freed me from so much pain. It completely inverted my entire point of view on life. I’ve been meditating consistently….and I’ve seen an exponential impact. In terms of scale, the more you do the greater the reward. More than linear.”Ray Dalio
Communicate Effectively While Under Stress
An important trait for entrepreneurs, especially while under stress, is to communicate effectively. Mindfulness meditation can alleviate this stress. Instead of avoiding daily issues, such as investor oversight or negotiations, you can confront them with a level head, therefore increasing the rate of success. With mindfulness meditation, you can hone your communication skills, thus ensuring future personal/professional growth and success.
Awaken a Deeper Creativity
Allowing yourself some time for peace and quiet will allow your mind for some decompression. Why is it important to give our minds some decompression? Silly question, but it is so your mind can refresh itself and allow you to tap into a deeper and creative self. Additionally, giving yourself some quiet time, allows the mind to better manage emotions effectively and productively.
It is hard to be told that failure=success; however, with mindfulness meditation, the idea of failure makes for more of a positive and motivational feeling. Why? Again, it is because you have given your mind to breathe and understand all the things that went wrong, instead of trying to overload yourself with emotion. Meditation allows for better control of emotions and allows a level head, which is what everyone needs when they are in the face of failure. After all, the way you deal with your failure is what defines your next innovative project.
“You cannot change the past, other people or the outcomes you will face as an entrepreneur. However, the one thing you can do is be in control of yourself. In doing so, you will easily find that certain situations, your lifestyle and ultimately your business will prosper with a new mindset.”Kumar Arora
Enjoy the ease of productivity with all the benefits of guided meditation.
Now, if you are not fully convinced that meditation is the right practice for you, let me introduce to you a few successful leaders that may change your mind.
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