The most reliable tool to increase happiness is meditation.
I meditate only five to ten minutes per day right now and that’s enough. When life gets more stressful, I meditate more.
I spent a year trying strategies to boost my happiness while also growing the value of my businesses. I tried gratitude practice, spending money on others, focusing on the positive, cultivating good relationships, and meditation. All were helpful, meditation was the most helpful.
I want greater business and financial success. I want to build my businesses, make a bigger impact, and keep growing. However, I don’t want to do it at the expense of my own well being or the well being of others.
If I get there by sacrificing my values, it’s not worth it.
Meditation gives us the mental space to make better decisions. It provides separation from emotional impulses to allow us to make good decisions in-line with our longer-term goals.
How to Make Time to Meditate
It’s hard for me to meditate. I feel like I’m too busy in the afternoons to meditate, so that’s not a great option. My schedule at night can be too unpredictable, so that’s not a great option. This leaves me with the morning.
But, as soon as I wake up, my mind starts racing with ideas and I want to dive into work. Sitting down to do “nothing” and meditate isn’t easy.
I’ve learned to do it anyway. It’s taken me years to realize this, but the benefits of meditation what I would gain from an extra 5 to 20 minutes of additional work.
How to Meditate for Non-Meditators
Experienced meditators talk in esoteric terms about meditation like “going deeper and deeper into layers of the subconscious”. To me, it’s just quieting my mind and interrupting the emotional impulses that hijack good decision-making.
So I sit. I follow a process shared with my by my executive coach’s Buddhist coach. Here’s the process:
- Close your eyes
- Take a few deep breaths
- Express gratitude or positive thoughts about yourself, your family, and all beings
- Begin by scanning the body imagining you’re breathing into each part of your body including: your belly, ribs, chest, neck, face, head, back of your head, spine, lower back, legs, arms, and hands
- Do some more deep breathing
- Express gratitude again
- Open your eyes
If this sounds too difficult, I recommend downloading a meditation app such as Calm and going through a multi-day meditation series. It’s a great way to get started.
You can also access the 12 minute meditation that I explain above here.
How Much to Meditate
Some experienced meditators spend hours in daily meditation. I haven’t found that desirable or necessary.
I’ve experienced huge benefits meditating 20 minutes per day. For a few months, this included 12 minutes in the morning and 8 minutes at night. I used the Streaks app to track my daily meditation progress.
Today, I meditate only five to ten minutes per day. I’d like to get back to 20 minutes per day.
How to Get Started
Start small. Start with one minute per day. Then two minutes per day. Add an additional one minute per day until you get to 15-20 minutes per day.
I’ve noticed huge benefits after only four or five days of daily 20-minute meditations. I feel lighter, happier, less stressed, and more in control of my life.
I think you’ll experience the same.
If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things–that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before.