The art of meditation has been practiced by great leaders, thinkers and warriors for centuries in eastern cultures such as India, China, and Japan. Monks and emperors alike have employed meditative practice to their daily lives to sharpen their minds and gain insight that would otherwise elude them. In the same way, many western CEOs and business people have attributed their success and ability to make tough decisions to their meditative practice. While many people have thought about meditating in order to improve their personal life, few consider the numerous benefits it can bring to their professional life. Find out more about Zen business acumen by learning how meditation can help your business. Let’s begin by examining what meditation is and how it affects your mind and body.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is the application of the principle of mindfulness to one’s thought processes. Mindfulness is the Buddhist teaching of focusing one’s awareness and attention on the ever-present moment while simultaneously acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, bodily sensations and thoughts. It focuses on spending time in contemplation of emotions and sense of center.
There are various physical processes attached to mindfulness meditation. You might employ techniques such as controlled breathing to focus solely on the sensations of your breath. You could use a mantra, a single repeated thought or saying a few words over and over to focus your mind. Silence also serves as a focal point. Since this practice involves deep focus, it’s important to find a place that is quiet. You could try remaining seated with proper posture on the floor or using a meditation stool to achieve mindfulness.
The fundamental concept at play for meditation in general though is the focus of your will and thought upon what is happening in the now while accepting the past and future without dwelling on them. If you spend too much time dwelling on the past, it prevents you from succeeding in the present. Meditation allows you to carefully deal with the past so these thoughts don’t keep you from enjoying the present.
How Does Meditation Help Your Business?
There are many different ways the daily practice of mindfulness can add to your business. This is mostly due to the fact that mindfulness meditation sharpens your perception, concentration, and memory. Mindfulness meditation is also highly beneficial to your self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Meditation allows practitioners to untangle unhealthy or unproductive mindsets to the point that they no longer need those old ways of thinking. Discover a few of the academically and scientifically tangible benefits of meditation on your business and professional life.
Build and Maintain Resilience
Scientific studies of meditation have shown that daily practice has the potential to reduce anxiety in practitioners. This allows them to perform better, even under stress. The mindful awareness of the “now” may help practitioners deal with crises by curtailing spiraling thoughts and worries before they take control. When the pressure is on at work or a crisis arises, the meditative thinker can remain cool under fire. Many studies also indicate that people coping with or recovering from trauma benefit greatly from regular meditative practice. Meditation helps them to direct their thoughts towards healthier spaces and patterns of behavior.
Increase Your Emotional Intelligence
Recent brain-imaging studies of meditation practitioners show evidence that regular meditation contributes to superior emotional control. Take the time to focus on and examine your thoughts and feelings on a daily basis. When you do this, you learn to find the root causes of why you feel what you feel and how to change your mindset to accept and cope with those feelings. It’s important to make the time to deal with these feelings. If you don’t, they can negatively affect your business and ultimately yourself.
Patience and Paying Attention
Meditation also teaches patience and the true nature of listening. Instead of simply waiting to speak, meditation demands that you listen with the whole mind. The more practice a person has with giving something their complete attention, the greater their understanding of the expressed emotions and thoughts of others. During a meditation practice, you spend time “listening” to your thoughts and emotions. Finding a calming focus trains you to focus on things that are going on around you. This “consciousness through listening” is especially important in the development of empathy, which is an essential business skill for developing strong business relationships with staff and clients. You’ll develop a deeper relationship with them as well.
New creativity research has found that people discover their best insights and reach their greatest breakthroughs when their mind is in a meditative, relaxed mindset. This is largely attributed to the fact that meditation requires divergent thinking in our problem-solving. Meditation allows you to focus the chaos in your mind so you have a clear mind for the day. The workplace is stressful and we don’t often have time to sit and contemplate. However, a few minutes makes a difference in our focus. An open mind can consider and accept as many solutions to a problem as possible. This “open-mindedness,” or willingness to accept solutions outside our comfort zone or normal realm of thought, is essential for creatives and business leaders alike.
Develop Better Relationships
When we get stressed, our perspective of others and our ability to empathize with them narrows considerably. This can have a profound negative impact on everyone’s performance, including your own. Regular meditative practice allows you to focus on directing your emotions positively while allowing yourself to feel compassion for others. It is this compassionate mindset that inspires teams to work harder and stress less because they know that they are understood and supported, even when they struggle. If you take the time to care for yourself, you’ll have more patience and compassion to help those around you. A good business leader knows the value of compassion, and meditation is one key to developing strong compassion for others.
Meditation Practice Techniques
There several different meditation techniques that people enjoy using. The most important one is the art of breathing. To practice breathing techniques, sit in a quiet, cross-legged position. Make sure you find a comfortable place to sit and wear loose clothing. Start with just a few minutes each day. Eventually, you’ll work up to several minutes of practice.
Close your eyes and and be still for a few moments. Then, gradually focus your breathing into a rhythmic pattern. Slowly breathe deeply in and then out. You can do this for as long as it feel comfortable to you. Then, just relax and breathe naturally.
The benefits of meditation are endless. The list of potential benefits that meditation brings to business leaders and individual professional lives is long and varied. These are just a few of the ways a daily meditative practice allows you to stress less, empathize more, improve your ability to make judgment calls, and allow you to live a more fulfilling and productive life.
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