Ed’s note: This post was written by guest editor Dr Addie Wootten, CEO of Smiling Mind.
The life of an entrepreneur comes with its ups and downs, and sometimes stress can get the better of us. It’s important to take the time to reset and allow yourself a moment in between your growing number of tasks. One of the most effective ways to manage high-stress and unpredictable situations can be to take some time out of your day to practise mindfulness and meditate regularly.
What is mindfulness, you ask? It simply means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgement. The many benefits of this can include improved sleep, clearer thinking and decision making, and a reduction in feelings of stress and anxiety.
Practising mindfulness can be done anywhere, anytime, between meetings or on your way to the office. All you need is your mobile phone. Here are five simple ways to embrace mindfulness as a tool which can help you to set yourself up for productivity and success.
1. Meditate on the go
Mindfulness is just one tool that can help you manage stress. Finding a few minutes each day to meditate is easy, because you can do it anywhere using your phone. You don’t need to close your eyes. You don’t even need to be sitting down. Research from Virgin Mobile found that Aussies spend on average over an hour and a half (95 minutes) commuting each day, with 83 per cent admitting they crave a calmer commute. Whether you’re walking or sitting on the train, your commute is the perfect time to plug into a guided meditation.
2. Slow things down
We live in a world that is so fast-paced we sometimes forget to stop and reflect on the present moment. By slowing down and focusing on one thing at a time, you can become more efficient, productive and resilient. Try making a conscious effort to slow down when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, go for a walk, or listen to a short meditation on your smartphone.
3. Switch off distractions and notifications
Turning off notifications on your phone for intervals of time can give you some digital balance and help you to connect with yourself and the present moment. Start by turning off push notifications on your apps, and try using the “do not disturb” feature while you listen to a mindfulness meditation on your smartphone.
4. Focus on your breathing
Controlled breathing not only keeps the mind and body functioning at their best, it also promotes feelings of calm and relaxation. All it takes is 10 minutes or less. Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed, and focus on taking long, deep breaths until you feel relaxed. It’s as simple as that.
5. Write a list of things you’re grateful for
Take five minutes out of your day to jot down the people, places and events you appreciate in your life. The more you start to notice and appreciate what makes you happy, the more you can then implement these things into your daily life. Whether you write your list on a piece of paper, or on your phone, keeping it with you means you’ll have something to look at whenever you need a boost.
The Daily Commute is a free mindfulness meditation program now available to download from Google Play and the Apple App Store.