Before I began my meditation practice, if I hit a wall — something that could be brought on by a lack of ideas, information overload, or an over-abundance of technological stimulation — I would take a nap.
It was the only way I could think of to fully rest my mind and start fresh. Often times it worked, but it quickly turned into an unproductive way to check out and it never really got to the root of my stressors like I had hoped it would.
What I found myself longing for was a vacation, a long sabbatical in which I could turn off all electronics and stop the feeling that I was being tugged in a million different directions. Unfortunately, I was juggling projects that required I be plugged in at least some of the time.
So I turned to meditation.
In the beginning I started each session hoping for some “aha” moment, a monumental breakthrough, something a lot of us (inaccurately) tend to believe should come with a successful meditation practice.
Sometimes I did get that — a great idea would pop into my mind, I would gain some clarity about a problem I was facing — but more often than not, the session was followed by a tangible feeling of peace, relaxation and release.
It was precisely what I needed to be able to clear out the cobwebs accumulating in my mind and return to work with greater focus and creativity.
Many of us (me included) turn to TV at the end of a long day to rest our body and mind. In reality, the constant stimulation offered by television does the opposite — it creates more for our already overworked minds to deal with.
Dealing with stress and creating a safe place for our minds to rest is essential when it comes to avoiding the burnout of work. Here are a few tips to help you establish your own meditation practice and increase the productivity in your professional life.
Tip #1 – Start out small.
When I first began my meditation practice, fifteen minutes was about all I could stand. After that point I had a hard time keeping my mind quiet. But, like exercise, practice eventually enabled me to sit in a meditative state for an hour.
If all you only have the time and patience for five minutes, that’s fine. Try committing to those five minutes once in the morning and once before you go to bed. This will help you start and end each day from a place of peace and relaxation — ensuring that everything else in between runs smoother than before.
Tip #2 – Connect with your breathing.
I am ridiculously quick to jump off the deep end when things appear to be going badly. Meditation has taught me to stop mid-freakout, check in with my breath, and try to adjust my reaction to be more in alignment with the severity of the situation.
In any business, having the ability to be clear-headed is essential and can curb costly mistakes before they happen. If you learn to pay attention to your breath, you can have a more successful meditation practice and a more fruitful professional life.
Tip #3 – Learn how to be in tune with what your mind needs.
As a collective human race, we are really great and doing, doing, doing and not getting anything done. We fill up our days with busyness that in all actuality gets us nowhere.
Instead of turning your wheels simply because that’s what you’ve been trained to do, pay attention to when your mind could benefit from a rest. Completing hours of mediocre work is not as great as creating an hour of solid, inspired work made possible by a clear, focused mind.
Tip #4 – If silence doesn’t work, try something else.
When I would try to meditate in a completely silent setting, I would usually find myself nodding off or becoming distracted by the constant hum of my thoughts. Then, I was introduced to theta meditation music.
The sound kept my mind from returning to my to-do list, but it wasn’t so overpowering that I couldn’t concentrate on relaxing and letting go. It kept me in the meditation zone for much longer than silence did.
This may not be the answer for you, but there are countless meditation programs out there — chances are, there is one that will speak to you.
Tip #5 – Create a meditation space.
The space that you meditate in is often the factor that determines how successful your practice will be. It should be away from distractions and comfortable enough to allow you to sit for a significant amount of time — but not too comfortable that it becomes easy to fall asleep.
Choose a space that you actually want to visit, one that invokes a feeling of calm and peace.
Dedicating yourself to a regular meditation practice may seem like something extra to add to your already hectic life, but in truth, it will make your hectic life calmer, more relaxed and easier to handle.
How is your meditation practice coming along?
Photo by AnnaOmelchenko.
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