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How to harness the benefits of mindfulness

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Do you know what Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn CEO, Ariana Huffington, author and businesswoman, and Mark Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, have in common? They all meditate daily.

In the United States, over 18 million people practice mindfulness, and the numbers in the Western world are growing fast, especially amongst entrepreneurs and business people.

The aim of mindfulness meditation is to gain full awareness of the present moment without any judgmental thoughts. It is proved to benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing and has no connection with any religion. Mindfulness is beneficial at any time but can be particularly beneficial in times of high stress or anxiety.

Another major benefit for busy business people and CEOs is that you don’t need to spend a large amount of time each day meditating. As little as 5 minutes daily can be enough.

The method of mindfulness meditation is quite simple, but there are misconceptions about how to do it properly.

Common misconceptions include:

  • Meditation takes up a lot of time. Many believe the practise should be done for at least 1 hour, but it is possible to meditate less than 5 minutes every day and feel the benefits.

  • Busy Mind = Bad Meditator: this misconception is more common for beginners. The focus should be training your brain for mindfulness (living in the present moment) and avoiding worries about the future.

  • It’s not for me: everyone can practice and benefit from meditation, from any age or background.

  • You must be religious to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness originates from Buddhist traditions, but it is a secular form of meditation – you can practice it anywhere and don’t need to be religious to reap the benefits.

Remember the boys rescued in the cave in Thailand? The episode proved meditation can help deal with anxiety and stress in even the most difficult situations. The families of the boys were reported to have meditated during the 17- day operation, especially in the last days. Mediation and mindfulness can again now be used to ease any anxiety brought on by Covid-19 uncertainty.

If you find your job stressful or struggle to manage your workload and well-being, mindfulness meditation could help you relax and refocus.

Mindfulness improves your body and mind

The benefits for the mind:

Mindfulness is proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Focusing on the present (mindfulness) can help lower levels of cortisol, the physical and emotional stress hormone.

Meditation can train the mind to focus on the present moment and may reduce the propensity to overthinking while increasing creativity. The result is greater emotional control of both your personal and professional life.

Due to these benefits, many companies are adopting meditation as a tool to improve the workplace environment (less stress) and be more productive in real-time.

The benefits for the body:

As well as benefiting the mind, mindfulness can improve your immune system. Meditators have a higher level of antibody numbers compared with people who do not practice. Meditation can also lower the risk of developing blood pressure problems, cardiovascular diseases and even cancer.

Mindfulness exercise can also aid weight loss as meditation may help to control compulsion and eating disorders caused by Anxiety and Depression, it is subject for several studies at moment coordinated by doctors and psychologists in North America. (Mindful Eating) (Mental Health & Meditation)

Meditation can change your life, bringing great benefits for body and mind in a short period of practice.

To practice mindfulness meditation simply:

  • Choose a quiet place where you will be comfortable and undisturbed. Make sure to time yourself (up to 3 minutes) to help control meditation time. Take a seat and be comfortable, try to keep your posture as natural as possible.

  • Breathe. Close your eyes and inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth naturally while focusing on your breathing. Take a deep breath for 10x, next time 12x and keep going until 15x per session.

  • End the meditation slowly: At the end of the meditation open your eyes slowly and stand up smoothly from your position, the more you practice the easier it gets naturally.

After 1-week practice, try to meditate for longer than 3 minutes, and increase the time naturally until 10 minutes a day becomes a habit. If your attention is moving away from your breathing, try taming it again. It is normal that this happens so don’t be discouraged!

Discipline is important. Create a habit for meditation by meditating at the same time each day. This can be done before to sleep, or before to go for work, just choose the best time for you. If you had considered mindfulness before but felt you didn’t have the time to use the current situation to give it a go – as little as 5 minutes daily can make all the difference.

Interested in more articles like this? Browse more in the Wellbeing at Work section of our Career Advice Centre. If you are concerned about your role due to Covid-19 and would like to speak to one of our consultants please get in touch.

This blog was originally published in 2018 and has since been updated and republished.