You may have noticed a significant rise in the number of professional athletes, celebrities and high achievers who meditate.
A short list of famous meditators includes comedian Russell Brand, actor Jim Carrey, TV personality Oprah Winfrey, musician Paul McCartney, basketball stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James, 3-time Olympic gold medalists in beach volleyball Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, and Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post.
It’s commonly said that athletic excellence is 90% mental and only 10% physical.
When you have an all-star lineup of similarly-talented and similarly-trained athletes, the ones who will have the competitive edge are the ones who train their minds just as hard as they train their bodies. A lack of focus can result in a nanosecond of doubt at a critical moment, and lose the race by 100th of a second… a moment of lost focus can result in missing the crucial game-winning shot… an instant of nerves can cause a gymnast to miss a landing…
The focus that is necessary in athletics translates to all areas of life.
Check out what Professional American basketball player Kobe Bryant has to say about his daily practice in this short video…
Entrepreneurs need to be laser-focused on their vision and business-building strategies and not get caught up in self-doubt and the myriad of daily “emergencies” that vie for their attention.
Parents need to be able to manage their stress so that they don’t give in to unreasonable demands (like the ultra-embarrassing in-store tantrum).
Anyone who has ever had to get up in front of people – to perform, give a presentation, lead a group… needs to have confidence and poise and not get stuck in fear.
Surgeons need to maintain focus when they are performing delicate operations.
Meditation is gathering quite a following in the business world, as numerous businesses use meditation to increase employee happiness in the workplace – and many businesses report that employee engagement, productivity, and profits have increased as a result.
So you see, meditation helps people in all walks of life to be more confident, manage their fears, remain focused, and self-regulate their emotions and reactions in stressful situations.
Meditation may have a reputation for being difficult in the beginning – but you can start with a simple mantra meditation, and quickly experience beneficial results. A mantra is a word or phrase that you simply repeat over and over again, while keeping your focus on it. It can be said aloud or silently. It doesn’t have to be in Sanskrit, either! You do not have to learn complicated phrases that are difficult for you to say, if you don’t want to. A simple word like “Love” or “Yes” or short phrases like “I am Love” or “Everything is possible” are easy to say – or you can use any short phrase that has meaning for you.
You can also speed up the process with brainwave entrainment, which allows you to get into a meditative state quickly and easily, and remain there for the duration you choose.
There’s great benefit to doing both a mantra meditation and at the same time using brainwave entrainment. Here’s the easiest way I can think of to help you meditate:
Begin by sitting comfortably (no lotus position is required, to meditate!) and start your brainwave entrainment track. Don’t worry if your mind is very busy – it will slow down quickly as you combine the soothing qualities of your mantra, and the entrainment. Begin saying your mantra, either aloud or silently. If you are saying it aloud, say it with a smile on your face; if you are saying it silently, imagine that you are saying it with a smile on your face. This stimulates a physiological effect where holding a smile helps stimulate the release of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin! When you feel good, it’s easier to relax.
Keep repeating the mantra and try to keep your focus on it. If a thought interrupts you, just acknowledge that you are having a thought, but bring your attention right back to your mantra. It may feel something like those times when you’re driving down the road… and get so caught up in your thoughts that you realize you’ve just driven some distance without being fully present… and then you deliberately bring your attention back to driving because you know that’s where your attention should be. With practice, you’ll be able to stay present-focused quite easily.
The best way to experience the benefits of meditation is to practice daily. You can choose a short meditation practice in the beginning, say 10 minutes – and then gradually lengthen the duration as it becomes more of a habit. Starting with a too-long meditation can backfire because you might find it hard to fit into your schedule, so start smaller and build up.
Give yourself a solid month of daily practice, and take note of any changes in your mood, focus, response to stress, self-awareness, or any physical changes like better sleep.