If practiced regularly, meditation can enable a higher level of success and fulfillment for entrepreneurs by helping them:
- Develop their emotional intelligence
- Enhance their cognitive abilities, such as memory and concentration
- Enrich their relationships, in business and at home
- Improve their physical health
- Cultivate intuition and other manifestations of spiritual energy
Whether you’re a beginner in the world of business or a seasoned entrepreneur, your decision to begin a meditation practice is important. Hey, if the benefits are real, then the investment of time and effort will be worth it.
Good thinking. In this article, I’ll share with you the benefits of meditation for entrepreneurs, based on research and my personal experience.
Without further ado, here are five ways in which meditation can help you do better in business.
1. Meditation improves emotional intelligence
Many peer-reviewed studies point to the positive effects of meditation on emotional intelligence (EI), which is a huge deal for entrepreneurs. Let’s first define EI, and here’s a succinct and helpful definition:
“Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions,” (Cherry, 2020, par. 1).
If we break this down, it’s easy to see the implications for business owners who can reap these rewards of meditation in terms of EI:
- Better mood (more positive emotions, fewer negative emotions)
- More joy (and therefore being less prone to depression)
- Less worry and anxiety
- Greater confidence
- The capacity to stay calm and respond constructively in times of stress
Let’s face it, as entrepreneurs, we deal with stress all the time. Business can be frustrating, and this makes our EI crucial for success.
A study conducted by Chu (2009), revealed that meditation improves the capacity to deal with stress. Compared to the control group, the meditating group exhibited the following:
- higher scores in optimism/mood regulation and the appraisal of emotions
- lower scores in perceived stress, anxiety and insomnia, and severe depression (Chu, 2009, p. 176).
Another study done by Lavretsky et al (2013) examined how meditation affected family caregivers – people with very high levels of stress that often lead to depression.
It showed that meditation resulted in “significantly lower levels of depressive symptoms and greater improvement in mental health and cognitive functioning compared to the relaxation group,” (p. 1).
Many other studies show similar results. In my own experience, meditation has helped me to remain calmer and to respond to stressors in a zen-like state. This has been very helpful, especially in times when my income dipped during my travels.
Being in a foreign country on my own and relying on my ability to manifest financial outcomes used to make me anxious very quickly. But at some point this tendency gave way to a calm expectation that everything would be all right.
2. Cognitive benefits of meditation for entrepreneurs
As an entrepreneur, you can appreciate the value of being mentally sharp and energetic. Here is a list of cognitive benefits associated with meditation in current research:
- Higher creativity
- Enhanced learning and memory
- More accurate thinking
- Increased attention span
- Better decision making
In one study, a team of researchers compared two groups (meditators and non-meditators) in terms of mental performance. The results suggest that “meditation training improves efficiency, possibly via improved sustained attention and impulse control,” (Kozasa et al, 2011, p. 745).
Another study by Tang et al (2007) showed that a meditative practice called “integrative body-mind training,” performed over only 5 days for 20 min a day, produced “significantly better attention and control of stress,” (p. 17152).
Effective decision-making depends largely on an ability to observe thoughts and other inner processes in real time. A recent Harvard Health Publishing article described results of a study in which meditation helped participants catch their own mistakes while working on cognitive tasks.
This is the so-called “witnessing” or observational ability in action, and the stage represented in this study is consistent with a Buddhist method.
In it, first you begin to witness something that’s already done; in the next stage, you catch yourself while committing the deed or the error; and finally, you reach a stage in which you catch yourself before you do something.
This last stage is the highest level of behavior awareness, and meditation helps the practitioner make progress towards it.
As someone who has a moderate case of adult ADD, I can attest that practicing meditation regularly has helped me focus better, for prolonged periods of time. I also make better decisions, even under stress.
Other factors are definitely at play here, such as nutrition, exercise, and sleep. But meditation kind of “pulls it all together” for me.
3. Social benefits of meditation for entrepreneurs
Meditation affords you very important social benefits that are sometimes overlooked:
- Cultivating your company culture
- Better relationships across your sphere of influence
As a business owner, you know the importance of company culture. The better the team members relate to you, the leader, and to each other, the higher the team motivation and performance.
Your relationships with your loved ones, anyone who matters to you, and even with strangers will either energize you or drain your precious energy.
The quality of your relationships and communication depends on how much emotional energy you have stored up and on your continuing stress response.
In their study of different kinds of meditation, Csaszar and Curry (2013) found that a special kind of meditation called Loving-Kindness Meditation (LKM) “can foster compassion, empathy, and connectedness, as well as reduce anger” (p. 5).
In my own experience, the KLM meditation did indeed help me be more forgiving and compassionate when dealing with other people. This has been especially helpful with people I would describe as “difficult” in my life.
In addition to KLM, I’ve noticed that regular practice of any other type of meditation helps become less reactive and more responsive. This ability is linked with the witnessing capacity discussed above.
4. Physical benefits of meditation for entrepreneurs
Stress is treacherous because its effects creep up slowly and begin to affect our physical health. High blood pressure and poor sleep are not far behind the horizon if we neglect self-care.
But the good news is that, according to research, meditation can help:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve sleep
According to Dr. Bhatt, meditation can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
He states that “It appears to produce changes in brain activity. It also can lower your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, oxygen consumption, adrenaline levels, and levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress,” (Harvard Health, 2013, par. 3).
In a study by Tarrasch (2015), grad students, another group prone to high stress, showed “significant improvement in sleep quality” as a result of practicing meditation or relaxation techniques (p. 1329).
These two benefits alone are worth the practice because they provide a whole host of ensuing benefits that come from a stronger heart and quality sleep.
5. Spiritual benefits of meditation for entrepreneurs
Spirituality is not a hard science, although researchers have been attempting to provide some definite answers with regards to the nature of consciousness and the transcendent.
Here are very important benefits to which I can attest, based on my own experience. But you’ll find evidence of these in your own practice and in other people’s accounts, too. Here they are:
- Becoming more centered
- Developing intuition
- Higher capacity to surrender, which is critical
- Getting to know your true self better
Each of these effects deserves an article of its own. But let’s just touch on them.
Approaching and acting from your center allows you to make unique, high-quality choices.
Every entrepreneur is familiar with the power of intuition, and the sharper it is, the better the business decisions.
A capacity to surrender allows you to accept any adversity as a simple, incontrovertible fact of your business life. Meditation deepens this capacity.
And knowing thyself better is a life-long endeavor which meditation facilitates and accelerates.
Hope this short guide has inspired you to start a meditation practice.
Cherry, K. (2020). What is emotional intelligence? Retrieved from: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-emotional-intelligence-2795423
Chu, L. C. (2010). The benefits of meditation vis-à-vis emotional intelligence, perceived stress and negative mental health. Stress & Health: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress, 26(2), 169-180.
Csaszar I. & Curry, J. (2013). Loving kindness meditation: A promising practice for reducing stress and increasing empathy. https://www.counseling.org/docs/default-source/vistas/loving-kindness-meditation.pdf
Kozasa, E. H., Sato, J. R., Lacerda, S. S., Barreiros, M. A., Radvany, J., Russell, T. A., Sanches, L. G., Mello, L. E., Amaro, E. Jr. (2012). Meditation training increases brain efficiency in an attention task. Neuroimage, 59(1), 745-9. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811911007531
Lavretsky, H., Epel, E. S., Siddarth, P., Nazarian, N., Cyr, N. S., Khalsa, D. S., Lin, J., Blackburn, E., & Irwin, M. R. (2013). A pilot study of yogic meditation for family dementia caregivers with depressive symptoms: Effects on mental health, cognition, and telomerase activity. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 28(1), 57-65. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3423469/
Staff. (2020). Meditation may help you catch mental mistakes. Harvard Men’s Health Watch, 24(8), 8-8.
Staff. (2013). Meditation offers significant heart benefits. Harvard Health Letter. Retrieved from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/meditation-offers-significant-heart-benefits
Tang, Y., Ma, Y., Wang, J., Fan, Y., Feng, S., Lu, Q., Yu, Q., Sui, D., Rothbart, M. K., Fan, M., & Posner, M. I. (2007). Short-term meditation training improves attention and self-regulation. PNAS, 104 (43) 17152-17156. https://www.pnas.org/content/104/43/17152.full
Tarrasch, R. (2015). Mindfulness meditation training for graduate students in educational counseling and special education: A qualitative analysis. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 24(5), 1322-1333.