The first benefit I’ve discovered is that, during meditation, my stress quickly melts away because of the environment I place myself in.
You have probably heard of the term “burnout,” if not, felt the very real symptoms of it like debilitating anxiety, depression, and insomnia. These occur because your brain is screaming to you that you need to stop and take a break, and the longer you ignore it, the worse it gets (thankfully, talking about your stress with others helps tremendously, and we’ll talk about that in a future article).
For some people, these symptoms never go away, or at least take years of hard work to get rid of them. Which is why I have two favorite mantras I live by, and its why I treat all my team members with love and kindness.
My favourite sayings
My most favourite saying is “Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint”, and that’s because it’s extremely important to be realistic with yourself about what you are truly capable of accomplishing in a given day, week, month, quarter, or year.
Venture capital firms push their founders to move as fast as possible, but this only increases their likelihood of stress and burnout, which is the number one killer of any business venture. I insist that my team understand this saying well because several of them have burned out in the past, and we lost amazing people who we cherished greatly so they could nurse their mind back to health. When we hire people, we allow them to create their own work schedule, where their family life comes first. Once they have taken care of those demands and needs, they can come to work with a clear mind, thus setting them free to focus on their work with all their hearts and giving us everything they have.
The second saying is “once you lose your health, it’s impossible to get it back.” What I mean is, if you have the tools in your kit to understand the needs of your mind, body, and soul, you can then do everything in your power to work at and improve yourself every day. Over time, this protects you and decreases the chance of burnout, allowing you to enjoy the fruits of your labour with vigour, rather than waste it on psychological therapy and escapes from reality. That’s why meditation is one of my favourite tools.
So, how did I get started with meditation?
When I was a kid, I got swept up in the craze of doctors in the 1990s diagnosing “boys with too much energy to know what to do with themselves” as having a chemical imbalance called ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I was prescribed Ritalin and forced to take it on school days. After some time, I started hiding the pills inside the living room couch to avoid taking them, because they made me feel like a zombie. But when we moved to another city, the pills all fell out a hole in the bottom of the couch and my parents found literally 500 pills, and they were PISSED. So the jig was up and I was back to taking these damn pills I hated so much.
In high school, I made the decision to take myself off the pills with my parents’ approval, but after one semester I almost failed school due to being bored by the slow pace and lack of intellectual stimulation, and back on the pills again I was. When I first started university, I insisted I go off the pills permanently, and that I would work hard to manage my immense levels of energy through some other means. At this time, my father got the idea to introduce me to his meditation instructor, who taught him when he was in university. At that’s how it began. I was 18 years old, and for the first time started feeling the ability to slow my mind down and harness my energy in a focused manner. I found that the only way to really enjoy meditation was to make it part of my daily routine, and I have kept it that way for 16 years (as of September 2020 when this article was published).
How can it actually save your life though?
Meditation has a lot of amazing benefits, many of which have been proven by hard science, but we won’t get into them here. I’m only going to cover the few most important benefits I’ve experienced, and you can read more about them all over the internet. I’ll also share a link from this post’s page to a guide for how you can get started meditating today!
Benefit #1 – Lowered resting heart rate
The first benefit I’ve discovered is that during meditation, my stress at the moment quickly melts away because of the environment I place myself in. I create sensory deprivation by putting my phone on airplane mode, wearing an eye mask, putting my noise cancellation headphones on, and making the room dark and cool. This allows me to totally relax without the anxiety of anticipating notification pings and other distractions so that during meditation I can let go completely. Total relaxation leads to breathing less, which lowers your heart rate.
The long-term benefit of this is a permanently lowered resting heart rate, which means it takes a lot more to get me worked up and anxious. Side note, the average resting heart rate of people who don’t meditate is 70-80 beats per minute, while people who meditate daily have an average resting heart rate of 50-60 beats per minute. This is a huge difference and is proven every time I get medical checks and they are shocked at how slow my heart beats. Meditating will absolutely lower your chances of having panic attacks, which decreases the chance of heart attacks.
Benefit #2 – Increased self-awareness
Meditation requires that you let go of everything you are worried about. If you can’t learn to let go, meditation will NEVER work for you. So once you let go, meditation will OPEN your mind to the subconscious thoughts that float around all day without you even realizing they exist.
The method of meditation I use is designed to allow these completely nonsensical thoughts to rise up to the conscious mind without reacting to them emotionally. I know this sounds hard, and it IS, so if you can get good at it, it allows you to become more aware and more logical. Therefore, learning to let go allows you in the long-term to worry less and accept that there are many things you can’t control, which frees your mind to focus on what you CAN control. Meditating will make you a more relaxed person, which gives you the chance to be a more focused leader who makes better decisions and increases your health span by protecting against stress.
Benefit #3 – Increased empathy
Meditation has absolutely allowed me to become a more empathetic, grounded, relaxed, and generous person. It’s hard to explain why this is, but I think it’s because meditation allows you to feel more connected to the universe and it lets you realise that you are not the centre of existence. By losing your ego, you start to see that other people and animals matter a lot more than yourself, which develops your sense of humility.
The Secret (Law of Attraction) states that people attract the kinds of people that are like them through their mindset, beliefs, and actions. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.] Therefore, humble people will attract other people with high levels of emotional intelligence.
This also means that we have the inner strength to treat others with increased love and kindness, which they give back to us and to others around them as a result, something we like to call “paying it forward.” In essence, through our words and actions, we can help others increase their emotional intelligence, which makes the world a better place. If we view this from the point of view of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, meditation can help us move up the ladder towards enlightenment.
The higher the level you attain, the better able you are to understand the world around you, and help others reach higher too. Enlightenment at a psychological and spiritual level will make you a much better human, a better leader, and a more attractive mate. Meditation will save your life because humans are hardwired to be social, and the higher your EQ, the more empathy you have, the more likely you will be to attract great people into your life, which means you are much less likely to die at a young age.
What can you take away from this
• Meditation is an amazing way to improve your mind, body, and soul.
• The sooner you get started, the sooner you will see all sorts of benefits.
• The longer you keep up this routine and make it a solid tool in your kit, the stronger the effects will be.