It’s often said that mindfulness meditation is the best tool for unlocking the mind. But how many of us can truly say we take the time to meditate throughout our busy days? The number is probably quite low. Many people don’t want to sit alone with their own thoughts. But what if we told you that 80-90% of the top professionals, experts, and money makers in the world practice some type of mindfulness meditation daily? You would probably want to hear more about how to take time out of your day to create your own mindfulness practice.
Tim Ferris, a self-made entrepreneur and well-known podcaster, has interviewed hundreds of brilliant minds, business giants, and cultural idols to create his book “Tools of Titans”. This book details the hidden secrets to each person’s success including their morning rituals, fitness regimes, diets, and mindfulness meditation practices. During his research Tim discovered that 80% of the people he interviewed have adopted some sort of daily mindfulness meditation practice. In fact, it was found to be the most consistent pattern between them all (1). So what is so beneficial about mindfulness meditation that 80% of world-class performers and business moguls are practicing it every single day?
First, what exactly is mindfulness meditation? Mindfulness meditation is the practice or act of being consciously aware of your actions and thoughts with a mindful attitude while meditating (2). It allows you to learn how to detach from your busy mind and become the witness to your own thoughts. Mindfulness meditation is a meta-skill that can help improve everything else in your life, says Ferris (1). By starting your day focusing on something that doesn’t matter (like the smell of your morning coffee and sitting on your couch for 10 minutes without thinking about anything else but that), you can focus better throughout the day on things that actually matter. Now this means waking up, not reaching for the phone to check work emails, and just observing your thoughts for 10 minutes in your own space.
For most of the day we are constantly circling around our own minds, being bombarded with a million thoughts running through our head. The consistent practice of mindfulness or meditation for 10 – 20 minutes a day, can help you take a step back from these thoughts, observe them, and organize them in a more productive way. According to Ferris a consistent mindfulness meditation has helped him develop better self-observation skills, becoming the commander of his own thoughts to help make high-level decisions from outside of his mind instead of trying to make sense of them as they come. Not to mention research shows that meditation can reduce ruminating thoughts and greater emotional control about past failures or current challenges, allowing you to focus on what is important right now (3), which isa skill most decision makers would benefit from when running a business.
There are so many other benefits to mindfulness meditation besides focus and concentration. Numerous studies have shown it has been highly beneficial outcomes for both mental and physical conditions(4).
However, one form of meditation that works for one person, may not work for you– and that’s okay. There are so many different ways to meditate and practice mindfulness. Try one or more of the following methods:
- Use an app like Headspace or Calm. Both apps offer guided meditations, courses, and quick meditations that will help do the trick daily. They are basically gym memberships for the mind, allowing you to expand and train the mind.
- Listen to guided meditations of YouTube, Spotify, I-Tunes or any podcast app. Find someone who you really connect and listen to it with headphones on in a quiet space.
- Try a mantra-based meditation for 10 – 20 minutes right when you wake up. Sit in silence and repeat words that mean something to you. It can be anything from “love”, “nature”, “kindness”, “happiness”, “gratitude” etc., to help you focus on a theme for the day.
- Try a quick yoga class or other form of movement meditation. There are so many 20-40 minute online yoga classes on YouTube, the web, or Instagram. Some great examples are “Yoga with Adrienne” on YouTube, “AloMoves” with Alo, and “Yoga Girl” on Instagram.
- For a deeper form of meditation, try out Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra (also called Yogic Sleep), is a deep form of meditation where the body is relaxed but the mind is awake and focused. It is a state of consciousness between awake and sleep invoked by a guided meditation. You can find 20 minute sessions on YouTube to help reset the mind. I highly recommend the one by Shiva Rae found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtqQHWmBce0
- Get a mindfulness colouring book. Spend about 10 minutes a day colouring in a mindfulness colour book. These books were designed to help you concentrate on colouring extremely detailed pictures. You can get these kinds of colouring books from Amazon or Indigo.
With anything you are trying for the first time don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t work right away. Mindfulness meditation practices take time and dedication to see results. Ferris suggests committing to at least one 7-day cycle of 5 – 10 minutes a day. Start small and start to build your practice as time goes on. If you are skeptical, remember that some of the most successful people like Tim Robbins, Marc Benioff, and Jeff Weiner have all adopted a mindfulness meditation practice and say it is one of the most important tools of success, and what have you got to lose besides bad thinking habits?
- “Tools of Titans.” Tim Ferris.