You’ work in the tech industry filled with high expectations and high valuations. When you work in tech it usually means you probably deal with higher-than-average stress levels and work longer-than-average hours. Believe me, as a tech leader at companies like Adobe, CloudApp, and Scorpion I know. These things will eventually take a toll.
Yes, you love what you do. And your business has the potential to literally “change the world”—at least for you and your family. But for that to happen, you have to stay sharp.
That’s why I want to introduce you to meditation it can help to keep your mental health strong. While the practice may seem too “spiritual” or “out there” for you, it’s really just about focusing, reducing stress, and empowering your brain to make better decisions. These are all things you need to do to succeed anyway, right?
So keep reading. In this article, I’ll answer the questions:
- What is meditation?
- What are the different kinds of meditation? And…
- Should you start a meditation practice of your own?
Then I’ll share seven meditation techniques you can use to meditate effectively and can have a massive impact on your overall work-life balance. Doing so could have major implications on the success of your business. Let’s dive in!
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a mindfulness practice, wherein practitioners attempt to focus their attention on a specific topic, or alternatively, to free their minds from distraction.
Apps like Headspace and Calm have introduced meditation practices to millions of people throughout the world. But the truth is, meditation has been around for thousands of years, though scientists are just beginning to understand its many health benefits.
Meditation has the potential to revolutionize your life as an entrepreneur. Depending on the kind you do, it can help you relax, reduce stress, and improve your health.
What Are the Different Kinds of Meditation?
Contrary to popular belief, meditation isn’t a strictly religious practice—although many religions teach meditation practices. There are different kinds of mediation, which can be used to achieve different outcomes. Here are a few popular styles to be aware of:
- Spiritual Meditation: Practiced around the globe, spiritual meditation is a mindfulness practice in which the mediator attempts to connect with a higher power.
- Guided Meditation: As you would expect, guided meditation is led by someone other than the practitioner. Such meditations can happen in-person or via audio recordings.
- Transcendental Meditation: A style of mantra meditation, transcendental meditation asks practitioners to repeat phrases or sounds to achieve thoughtless awareness.
- Body-Scan Meditation: True to its name, body-scan meditation teaches practitioners to scan themselves, analyzing their physical beings to pinpoint bodily sensations.
- Breathing Meditation: Though a simple mindfulness practice, breathing meditation is powerful, helping practitioners de-stress by encouraging them to focus on their breath.
- Yoga: Originally from India, Yoga is a physical form of meditation that is now popular in many different countries. It can be spiritual or non-spiritual.
Should You Start a Meditation Practice of Your Own?
Honestly, it’s completely up to you.
Just know that those who meditate tend to enjoy a few specific benefits, which may help you level up in your entrepreneurial journey. Some of these benefits include:
Life as an entrepreneur is stressful. There are always new projects to complete, fires to extinguish, and opportunities to chase. Meditation can help with general stress reduction because it’s known to strengthen the positive-thinking areas of the brain.
Building a business is hard. Building a business on little to no rest is nearly impossible. Fortunately, meditation has been proven to aid sleep. Those who commit to a regular mediation practice tend to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer than those who don’t.
To achieve entrepreneurial success, you have to think outside of the box. If you simply do what every other company already does, you’ll fail. Research shows that meditation increases creative thinking, enabling practitioners to find new, better solutions in less time.
Improved Brain Function
Finally, meditation will help your brain reach peak performance on a regular basis. It will help you banish negative ruminating thoughts. And it will help you increase your attention span. Both of these things will help you produce higher quality work in less time.
7 Meditation Techniques to Help You Get Started
Are you ready to start your own meditation practice? Keep these seven tips in mind to ensure your meditation sessions help you achieve your entrepreneurial goals and be a gateway to better stress management.
1. Go Somewhere Quiet
It’s hard to meditate in loud, distracting environments. I suggest finding a quiet spot, in which you can be alone with your thoughts for a predetermined amount of time.
Your “spot” might be your bedroom. Or a closet. Or a private office. It doesn’t really matter as long as it affords you a calming atmosphere for your meditation session. Just do your best to choose a spot you can return to. That way you don’t have to constantly search for a new one.
And one more thing: make sure your spot is free of digital distractions. Text messages, email alerts, etc. from your phone and computer will make it hard to meditate as well. Pause those notifications.
2. Make Your Body Comfortable
The place you choose to practice your meditation techniques should also be comfortable.
Your garage might be quiet, but if you live in Minneapolis, you probably won’t want to meditate there in the winter time, when temperatures regularly dip into the single digits.
Make yourself comfortable during your regular meditation practice. This will look different for everyone. Some people might enjoy sitting cross-legged on the carpet. Others will want to sit in a comfortable chair. Still others will prefer to conduct mindfulness sessions laying down.
It’s important to remember that specific meditation techniques will require different environments. It will be difficult to participate in walking meditation in one’s master closet, for example. But that doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable. Invest in proper shoes, pants, etc. to ensure discomfort doesn’t become a major distraction while you practice mindfulness.
3. Set a Time Limit For Your Session
Next, choose a time limit for your meditation session and stick to it.
If you’re new to this kind of mindfulness practice, I suggest starting with short sessions—just 5 to 10 minutes. It will be much easier to actually meditate this way, because you won’t have to psych yourself up for a 60+ minute session. We both know that won’t happen.
Time limits will also allow you to easily schedule time for meditation. When this happens, you’ll be much more likely to commit to the practice and improve your mental health.
4. Focus On Your Breathing
So, what do you actually do while meditating? It depends on the meditation practice you’ve chosen. But, in general, pay special attention to your breathing.
Take a deep breath in. Let the oxygen expand your stomach. Then slowly exhale, taking time to notice the way each breath feels. Start the cycle over again with another breath.
Note: if you’re engaged in guided meditation, follow the directions of your instructor. He or she will tell you exactly what to do and when to do it, though focused breathing will likely be a large part of your practice. Either way, adhere to their guidance.
5. Don’t Get Discouraged
Fair warning: meditation is not easy. You can’t just sit down on the floor, repeat a phrase or two, and expect to automatically achieve inner peace. It will take discipline.
Your mind will wander. One minute you’ll be focused on your breathing. Next you’ll be thinking about a work-related problem. And you probably won’t even remember when the change in your mental state happened. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal.
When you notice that your mind has wandered, simply refocus on your breath. Don’t beat yourself up. Eventually you’ll develop the mental discipline needed for deep meditation.
6. End With Kindness
There’s a specific kind of mindfulness practice called loving kindness meditation. Practitioners of this meditation style generate benevolent energy towards themselves and others.
I’ll be honest, it’s not an ideal meditation practice for everyone (though you should definitely try it if it sounds interesting to you.) So I’m not going to promote it here. What I will do is encourage you to end each of your meditations with a bit of positive self talk.
As you end your session, think about the things you’ve accomplished at work and the unique skills you have. Then use these thoughts to fuel your success into the future.
7. Make it a Habit
You won’t improve your mental health, relieve stress and anxiety, or boost your creativity after one mindfulness session. You need to commit to regular meditation to see results.
So take a look at your calendar and schedule in time for this important practice. If you can set aside 5 to 10 minutes a day, you might just change your life.
Reach Your Entrepreneurial Goals With Meditation
You’ve already poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your company. So, if you still haven’t achieved the business success you’ve always dreamed about, you’re probably looking for the missing piece of the puzzle. Meditation might be the answer you seek.
Those who’ve already built large organizations can benefit from mindfulness meditation practice, too, as it will help reduce stress and increase brain function.
Wherever you are in your entrepreneurial journey, and whatever goals you may have, meditation has the power to help you achieve more, faster. I encourage you to try it using the seven meditation techniques listed above. I’m confident you’ll enjoy the results.