Many of the world’s top entrepreneurs and CEOS, such as Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Tony Robbins, have been known to meditate or have some form of mindfulness practice. Some may consider meditation a novelty or avoid it due to believing that it having religious ties, however, there’s a plethora of scientifically verified physical and psychological benefits which can be attained through secular (Non-religious) meditation.
We here at Zen Marketing Solutions in Hastings, East Sussex have found that meditation has been a great tool to settle the mind. We have found meditation to be the best method of dealing with the hectic demands of running and managing a growing business. Many of the benefits have also carried over into our everyday lives. For this reason, we’ve written this article which outlines some of the benefits of meditation. We hope that other business owners find the information insightful or useful.
1) Reduced Stress
Financial pressure, long hours and uncertainty are all parts of the highly demanding yet rewarding task of running a business. All business owners will experience stress while running a business and, although a bit of stress can actually be helpful, excess stress can cause anxiety, depression and cardiovascular disease. It has been shown that as little as 10 minutes of meditation can help you control stress. The reason for this is that some of the biggest causes of stress are from worrying about the future or fretting about the past. It is for this reason that meditation focuses on putting your state of conscious in the present moment. The more you meditate, the more you’ll find yourself in the present moment. This is much better than worrying about the future or past, and as a result, you’ll find that you are less stressed.
2) Improved Productivity
There’s an old theory that meditation is like exercise for your mind. To back this theory up, there have been many studies which have proved the correlation between meditation and improvement of concentration, memory and multi-tasking. Consider the study by the University of Washington researchers on The Effects of Mindfulness Meditation Training on Multitasking in High-Stress Information Environment. The study involved three groups of human resource managers which enrolled in different courses: (1) those who underwent an 8-week training course on mindfulness-based meditation, (2) those who endured a wait period, were tested, and then underwent the same 8-week training, and (3) those who had 8-weeks of training in body relaxation. The study then concluded that “human attention is a trainable resource and that certain forms of meditation constitute a viable form of such training.”
3) Increased Health
Not only is your health paramount in running your business, it’s the most important aspect of your life. Meditating has many psychological health benefits; one of which we’ve touched on is the reduction of stress and the NHS are now using meditation as a direct treatment for depression and anxiety.
As well as psychological health benefits, there is also very strong evidence that meditation and mindfulness have a direct positive effect on physical health. A great example of this is the effect meditation has on your cardiovascular system. Again, this is due to the reduction in stress. Stress is your body’s natural alarm system; when you’re stressed your body releases the hormone adrenaline which causes your breathing to quicken and your heart rate and blood pressure to rise. Over time, repeated activation of the stress response takes a toll on the body. Research shows that prolonged stress contributes to high blood pressure and promotes the formation of artery clogging deposits, both of which have a negative impact on the cardiovascular system.
4) Greater Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is a key requirement for every business owner. According to the Oxford English dictionary, emotional intelligence is: “The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”
There is no doubt that skilled handling of emotions will improve behavioural skills, interpersonal skills and the ability to make better judgements and decisions, which are all essential while running a business, but how does meditation help with this? As mentioned previously, some forms of meditation and mindfulness focus on spending more time in the present moment. While in the present moment, one is more aware of emotions and thought patterns. This allows us to experience situations objectively. This allows you to react more intelligently instead of being controlled by your own emotions.
5) Boosted Creativity
IBMS 2010 global study surveyed more than 1500 chief executive officers from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide and concluded that creativity is the most important leadership quality for success in business. Creativity is the fuel behind your imagination which can lead you to reach new, innovative, never before explored areas. In business terms imagination is what is known as “thinking outside the box”. Meditation can play a large role in improving your creativity; Steve Jobs often referred to meditation as the main source of his creativity, below is a quote from the man himself:
“If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things–that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before.”
Meditation is great, it’s free, it’s beneficial, it has no downsides, so go and get started! If you have any questions regarding meditation or the subjects mentioned in this article please feel free to contact us with any questions, and if we can’t answer your questions, we’ll point you in the direction of someone or a resource that can.