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Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment with an open, non-judgmental attitude. It is about being aware of your thoughts, feelings and sensations without getting caught up in them.
Why am I talking about mindfulness to an entrepreneur? Because being an entrepreneur is stressful. You have to deal with the stress of running a business, making decisions and sometimes not knowing what the future holds. Mindfulness can help you deal with stress by teaching you how to be more present in the moment.
Research has shown that mindfulness can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It can also help improve your sleep, concentration and overall well-being. The research also indicates that mindfulness can help to increase your empathy and compassion towards yourself and others.
Keeping your stress at bay is a significant asset for an entrepreneur. Finding ways to reduce your stress will help you be more productive, creative and successful in your business. That’s why I am bringing mindfulness to you today so you can take a minute here and there from your busy schedule to cope with ongoing stress consistently.
Related: How to Build a Spiritual Practice for Major Business Growth
Benefits of practicing mindfulness in your daily life
- Mindfulness for stress: As an entrepreneur, you are likely to experience a lot of stress. This can be from the pressure of making decisions, meeting deadlines, or dealing with demanding clients or employees. Mindfulness can help you learn how to deal with stress more constructively. When you are feeling stressed, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode. This means that your heart rate and blood pressure increase, and you may start to feel anxious or overwhelmed. Mindfulness can help you to break out of this stress response by teaching you how to focus on your breath and the present moment. Concentrating on your breath helps calm your nervous system and bring your body back.
- Mindfulness for sleep: If you have trouble sleeping, mindfulness can help you relax and let go of the thoughts and worries keeping you awake. It can be helpful to practice some mindfulness exercises before bedtime. What does a good night’s sleep do for an entrepreneur? It helps clear the mind, reduces stress, and better focus the next day.
- Mindfulness for concentration: If you find it hard to concentrate during the day, mindfulness can help you focus on the present moment and not get caught up in your thoughts or emotions. You go through many ups and downs during the day, and practicing mindfulness for a few minutes can bring your focus back.
Related: 11 Effective Ways to Cope with Entrepreneurial Stress
Ways to practice mindfulness
Mindful breathing is a simple but powerful mindfulness practice. Focusing on your breath can help calm and focus your mind. It can be helpful to practice mindful breathing throughout the day, especially when you’re feeling stressed:
- Take a few moments each day to sit quietly and focus on your breathing.
- As you focus on your breath, you will notice that your mind will wander. When this happens, gently bring your attention back to your breath.
Pay full attention to your senses. Whenever you can, take time to really notice what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel. This can be done while eating, walking or simply going about your day. You can also consciously direct your attention to a certain part of your body. For example, you can focus on your hands or feet for a few minutes.
There are numerous opportunities in our everyday life for practicing mindfulness. Incorporate mindfulness by becoming more aware of your daily activities:
- As you brush your teeth, notice the sensation of the toothbrush on your teeth and gums.
- As you shower, feel the water on your skin.
- When you’re cooking, pay attention to the smells and textures of the food.
Related: What Every Entrepreneur Can Gain From Mindfulness
Whenever you can, bring your attention to the present moment. This means being aware of what is happening around you and within you without getting lost in your thoughts or devices around you. Try the following ways to practice mindfulness in the present moment:
- Mindful meeting: If you notice getting anxious in the middle of a meeting, bring your attention back to the room and non-judgmentally observe a person or an object in the room. This is enough to ground you.
- Mindful eating: Eating mindfully means being present and aware of the experience of eating without judgment. It can be helpful to eat slowly and without distractions to focus on the taste, smell and texture of the food.
5. Mindfulness exercises
Above, we explored ways to practice mindfulness with things you already do in your everyday life. Now let’s look at ways to enhance your mindfulness skills to another level. The following exercises would require you to be in certain positions or postures to practice mindfulness:
- body scan: Lie down on your back and close your eyes. Start by focusing on your breath. Take a deep breath and then scan your body from head to toe, noticing any sensations you feel. If you notice any areas of tension, focus on breathing into those areas.
- loving kindness meditation: Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Then, bring to mind someone who you love and wish them well. Repeat a phrase such as, “May you be happy,” “May you be healthy,” or “May you be safe.”
There are many different ways to practice mindfulness. The important thing is to find a way that works for you. Experiment with different exercises and activities to find what works best for you. Remember, the goal is to be present and aware of the moment, without judgment.