Striking out on your own and starting your own business is something that people dream about, and with good reason. Moving on from working for others to crafting something for yourself can be one of the most exhilarating, interesting and ultimately most rewarding things you can do. The downside is that it can also be one of the most stressful.
In order to ensure that you enjoy the experience and grab every opportunity that’s presented to you, it’s important to learn how to manage this stress, otherwise it’s easy to face burnout or negatively impact your health. One method that is gaining in popularity in the business world is meditation, part of a wider trend in corporate wellbeing, and here’s four reasons why it’s worth taking up the habit.
Steve Jobs, always the pioneer, went on long meditation retreats and used the practice to enhance his creativity, seeing it as “mind technology”. Creative thinking and innovation are essential in a startup and psychologists at Leiden University found that “open monitoring” techniques like Vedic meditation allowed individuals to performed better in divergent thinking, generating more new ideas than they had previously. Steve Jobs’ famous inventiveness may have indeed been bolstered by the practice.
Coping with Pressure
Many people can thrive in a high pressure, high stakes environment. But with leisure time at a minimum and a never ending stream of tasks to complete, starting a business can take its toll. There is of course excitement and fulfilment in this, but with little recovery time and constant stress you can find that your health and performance suffers.
Meditation has an immediate calming effect that reduces stress hormones and on a simple level, gives you time to enjoy (an often all too rare) quiet and stillness. Over time, it also influences the areas of the brain that elicits the stress response so that you feel a more consistent sense of composure, allowing you to meet everyday challenges without suffering excessive stress.
Improved productivity and focus
People can worry that with relaxation and a more laid-back attitude they can take their eye off the ball, and not perform optimally. However, studies have shown that meditation can in fact cause an opposite effect. The reduced stress and positivity that comes with meditation can raise productivity by a third, and meditators find it easier to focus on even boring tasks. With greater problem solving ability and clarity of thinking, it becomes easier to prioritise and work efficiently, which ultimately improves the potential for your startup to succeed.
You’ll be in good company
Meditation has been taken up by hugely successful businesses and business leaders, such as Arianna Huffington, the editor-in-cheif and president of The Huffington Post. Arianna believes that meditation not only helps on a personal level but can improve a business as a whole, having said that
“Stress-reduction doesn’t just make us happier and healthier, they’re a proven competitive advantage for any business that wants one”.
This attitude is shared by others, like CEO Oprah Winfrey and the executive chairman of the Ford Motor Company Bill Ford, who are both keen proponents of meditation. Google has even taking the step of starting their “Search Inside Yourself” program in order to improve their business through the promotion of compassion and happiness.
More energy and motivation
It’s impossible to work well if you are completely drained and months or years of long days, late nights and worry can do this to you. By providing a rest that is three times as deep as sleep, , meditation can keep energy levels up and with it, your motivation and enthusiasm. By looking after yourself, you can find that you are in the best position possible to achieve the success you have envisaged, with all the passion and excitement that spurred you on to take the first step.
Author: Holly Ashby is a writer who currently works for Will Williams Meditation in London, a meditation centre that provides corporate wellbeing programs to increase productivity and creativity.