Meditation can improve your next business trip, here are a few reasons why you should take 10 minutes a day to practice meditating.
Stress, anxiety, concentration, focus, attention, decision-making, memory, creativity, health…I’m sure that these are all words that resonate with many of you Business Travel Lifer’s on a weekly basis. The good news is that there is something you can do every day that will start to diminish the feelings of stress and anxiety, and amplify positive feelings and sharpness of the mind. Better yet- all you have to do is find a quiet place to sit down (airplane, airport, hotel room or your car will work just fine for this activity). It’s meditation, and multiple studies show that it is extremely beneficial to you well being.
Meditation has been gaining popularity in the Western world since the 60’s. It seems like everyone (and their mother) is hopping on the meditation/mindfulness bandwagon these days. There are even adult coloring books made to encourage mindfulness! So maybe it is the trendy and hip fad that people are getting into these days, but I think that finally, meditation is a trend that is worth all the buzz.
What is meditation? There are many different interpretations and kinds of meditation, but basically, it is the art of ceasing all activity in the brain to find complete and utter peace for a certain length of time. It is a practice that aims to transform the mind and encourage it to develop clarity, concentration, and positivity.
One type of meditation focuses on mindfulness, which usually involves breathing exercises. You would be surprised how much just a ten to fifteen-minute breathing exercise can do for you when it comes to concentration, focus, and clarity. Mindfulness meditation requires taking a small amount of time to focus only on the present moment; not on what you should have done or said at your last meeting, or all of the things you need to finish before heading home tomorrow, just simply letting your mind be present and clear for just ten minutes. It sounds pretty easy I know, but being able to achieve complete stillness in the mind is, in my opinion, one of the hardest skills to master.
Meditation is beneficial. The infographic that I found on LiveandDare.com explains the benefits of meditation pretty well.
It benefits the brain and your mood. Business travel is stressful, that probably goes without saying. With that stress comes other negative moods like anxiety, panic, and even depression. I’m not saying that all business travelers feel this way at times, but I’m putting all the cards on the table to prove a point. There have been studies that show that meditation works to improve these moods.
Another study shows that when participants practiced mindfulness meditation for 8 weeks, there was an increase in gray-matter density in the brain, which is associated with leaning and memory and can also play a role in stress and anxiety management.
Meditation benefits your mind and performance. It is hard to stay focused throughout your entire day of work, it’s also hard to give your full attention where and when it is needed during your business trips. Time Magazine released an article discussing a study that was conducted by researchers at the University of California that showed how meditation increases your ability to stay focused on a certain task. Meditation has neurological effects that can help to improve your ability to process information and make decisions as well.
Creativity is something that almost every type of work requires, and meditation can even help you to be able to come up with new, creative ideas. Researchers from Leiden University in The Netherlands conducted a study that showed that participants who followed OM (open-monitoring) meditation practices performed better in certain tasks that required them to come up with creative, new ideas.
Now for the health bit, well I think it’s safe to say that many of the studies that I sited in this article can support the overall claim that meditation is good for you health- mentally, physically, and emotionally. If you can begin to train your brain to have better focus and concentration, you can get more work done throughout the day, making it possible to then get some exercise in either before or after your work day while on the road.
Ok so now that I have convinced all you Business Travel Lifer’s that you should start meditating while you are on the road (and off the road for that matter), you are probably in need of some tips on how to meditate. The goal is to bring yourself into the present moment. You want to become aware of your surroundings, wherever that may be during your practice. For example, if you are on a plane then you want to sit and close your eyes and listen to what is happening around you. The buzz of the engine, the conversation that’s taking place behind you, the ding of the seatbelt sign turning on, etc. From there you can try to shift your focus to your breathing, counting ten exhales, and then starting over. Start off by taking five to ten minutes a day to practice meditating, even if that means waking up just a bit earlier for your day. Although, if you do it in the morning, I suggest doing it right before heading out the door so that you don’t fall back asleep!
It can be hard to kick start your new meditation journey alone, which is why there are apps to guide you. There are apps for everything, remember? Be sure to look out for my next blog that will list and explain some of the best meditation apps out there. Do any of you already meditate and have you benefitted from your practice? We would love to hear your feedback in the comments!
Business Travel Life
Business Travel Life is an online resource supporting the road warrior lifestyle. We give business travelers the tools they need to maintain their wellness and productivity when traveling. The topics we cover include business travel tips, travel workouts, healthy travel hacks, travel products, general travel tips, and industry trends. Our goal is to make business travel a healthier experience – and to make healthy travel practices more accessible to all road warriors.