As an entrepreneur, life can get pretty hectic. Between projects to complete, people to lead and a business to run, stress and anxiety become pretty much par for the course.
That's why it's so important to take the time to prioritize your mental health and focus on ways to stay calm, focused and energized. But how? The key is meditation.
Meditation is a solitary practice in which you sit quietly for a period of time and try to clear your mind, regulate your breath and focus your thoughts. Research shows that meditation can lead to a 40% reduction in psychological distress, such as stress, anxiety and depression, according to the David Lynch Foundation.
Once you get your mind in the right place, you'll be better able to tackle your work, get more done and improve your business. This is because meditation can also help increase creativity and intelligence.
In an article on Transcendental Meditation, filmmaker David Lynch says, "I heard a phrase, 'True happiness is not out there. True happiness lies within.' And this phrase had a ring of truth to me, but the phrase doesn't tell you where the within is, nor how to get there. One day it hit me that meditation would be the way to go within."
If you want to bring more balance to your life, a regular meditation practice can help. Here are 10 ways to get started:
1. Focus on your breath
Start your meditation by taking several deep breaths. Try to focus your mind on your breathing and feel how each breath affects your body. Your breath will be your guide throughout meditation.
In his book, "Stepping into Freedom," Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says, "Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor."
2. Do a body scan
Take a moment to focus on each part of your body. Feel your arms at your side, your feet on the floor and your seat in the chair. Assess how you feel in each area.
You can perform the body scan meditation lying down, seated or another posture. Notice if any part of your body is tense or tight. Focus on trying to soften or ease these areas and relax your muscles.
3. Evaluate your energy
Think about how you're feeling today in the moment. Are you tired or energetic? If you feel like you have low energy, what might be draining it? Consider what might be causing you to lose sleep or is taking too much of your mental space. Then, figure out what you can do to either reduce the problem or cut it out completely.
4. Practice gratitude
In his book, "Meditation: Insights and Inspirations," spiritual master Amit Ray says, "Looking at beauty in the world is the first step of purifying the mind."
Start your meditation on a positive note by thinking about three things you are grateful for. By focusing on the things you love about your life, you'll recognize why your life is good and become happier.
5. Choose a mantra
In her book, "Thrive," Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, writes, "Meditation is not about stopping thoughts, but recognizing that we are more than our thoughts and our feelings."
Mantra meditation is a way for us to control those thoughts and feelings around a central idea. By choosing and repeating a mantra during your meditation, you can set intentions based on your goals and what you want to accomplish in your day and in your life.
6. Reflect on the day
If you meditate in the morning, think about the previous day, and if you meditate at night, think about everything that happened before that point in the day. What happened? What did you learn?
Try to find at least one lesson or takeaway that you can reflect on. Then figure out how you can take that lesson and carry it into the next day.
7. Reflect on the past week
At the beginning of every week, make it a point to reflect on the previous week. What problems did you encounter and how did you resolve them? Is there anything you are still holding onto? Think about letting the issue go so that you can enter the new week with a clean slate and a fresh mind.
8. Think about what you can do for others
Meditate on the areas you need to improve. How can you improve in a way that will benefit others' lives and not just your own? One small act of kindness a day can make a huge difference. Think about what you can do to help those around you who you are close with and those who are strangers to you.
9. Focus on your personal fulfillment
Think about your main goals. What can you do today to get one step closer to achieving them?
"Keep your best wishes close to your heart and watch what happens," author Tony DeLiso writes in his book, "Legacy: The Power Within."
Don't get too caught up in what you must do, though. Take the time to assess your life and ask yourself if you feel fulfilled. If you don't, try to figure out what you can do to be more fulfilled and enjoy your life more.
10. Think about what inspires you
Open your mind up to new ideas as you meditate. You never know where your next big one will come from. As you meditate, focus your thoughts on the things that inspire you. This might be articles or books you've read, people who you admire or something completely random. Whatever it is, think about why it inspires you and see if it sparks some creativity.
Do you practice meditation? What benefits has it had on your personal success? Let me know in the comments below: