Why Top Executives Meditate (and Why Should You)

If you want to perform at a high level – whether in tennis, chess or at work – you either have to study how the masters in that field train and operate, or you need to be so stupendously talented that nobody is in a position to give you any advice at all.

For most of us, the latter doesn’t apply, so getting better is partly a question of emulating what we see those we admire doing.

At the C level in top companies, this obviously includes things like actively networking, knowing as much as possible about your industry and training your subordinates.

A less visible habit is becoming more popular among top executives, though: meditation. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why some business superstars consider this a vital part of their daily routine:

Rebooting a Negative Mindset

When you have to deal with dozens of issues each day, it’s inevitable that you’ll have some successes and some failures.

The problem arises when our responses to setbacks start bleeding over into other matters. Meditation helps us to dispassionately examine our negative thoughts and get back on an even keel before the next meeting.

Most of us will have experienced days where we hit an upsetting snag first thing in the morning, after which nothing we try seems to go right.

Rationally speaking, this can’t be because your horoscope says that your day will suck or accidents come in threes: the most likely explanation is simply that suffering a reverse conditions us to act in a way that doesn’t lead to success.

Remaining Objective

Although we’d like to deny it, our “rational” decisions are shaped at least as much by our emotions as by the relevant facts.

This becomes even truer when we’re under pressure. Anyone interested in how this works will find plenty of examples in Ben Horowitz’s book, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things.”

Simply put, when our emotions are engaged, we become less able to find creative solutions to problems, see the wood for the trees and tell our needs from our wants.

Meditating, even if only briefly, helps us separate fact from perception and feeling from thought, leading to better judgment and more a consistent management style.

Releasing Stress

Although closely related to the previous points, the negative impact of persistent stress on our health makes it worthwhile discussing this separately.

The roots of stress are many: frustration, anger, disappointment, anxiety. These feelings can’t really be avoided in a management position, so many executives turn to a therapist or therapy, exercise or uninterrupted time with their family for release.

These approaches are all effective, but meditation has the advantage that doing it regularly trains our minds to enter a “centered” state within a very short time of closing our eyes and stilling our thoughts.

Once the habit has been established, whenever things get to the point where our palms are sweaty and we feel the need to yell at the wallpaper, we need only take two or five minutes to get back to the “real” us.

This ability is simply invaluable for anyone who has to be at their best all the time, which means that it’s great news that meditation can be learned by anyone.

In addition, meditation can help you get better in sports. One example is golf.

How to Create a Designated Area for Meditation at Work

Starting a regular meditation practice can benefit both your and the staff’s body and your mind. One way to make it easier to integrate meditation into your daily life is by creating a dedicated space where you can meditate or find some quiet time in the workplace.

This space can be however big or small you would like. Whether you transform an entire room into a calming retreat or just set up a small area in a corner a underused room, with the right accessories, you can have a relaxing space where you can clear your mind and refocus your energy.

1. Decide where to create your space.

Take a close look at your home, paying particular attention to any areas that currently aren’t being used. Ideally, the space should be well ventilated. It should also be a comfortable temperature and should have good lighting.

You may need to add shades or curtains to any windows to help keep the space from getting too hot during the summer. If air pollution or odors are a problem, you may also want to bring in an electronic air purifier.

During colder weather, a space heater may be required to make the room comfortable and cozy enough for meditation.

2. Remove any unnecessary distractions.

Meditating is all about being able to clear your mind of clutter and focus within. External distractions can take away from that experience. Try to keep your meditation space free from electronics or noisy appliances.

If you have work waiting to be done, make sure that you can’t see it from your room. Keeping your space clean will make it easier for you to clear your mind rather than getting distracted by items on your to-do list.

If necessary, you may also want to hang a sign on the door when you are meditating letting people know that it is your quiet time and that you don’t want to be disturbed.

3. Regularly tidy up the space.

Any dirt or clutter can make it harder for you to concentrate. Your space should be clean and tidy at all times so that you can meditate without distractions.

4. Consider adding beautiful items that inspire you.

Although it is not necessary, you may find it beneficial to add a few inspiring items to the space.

Whether you put out a vase of flowers, add a comfortable rug to the floor, light candles, or frame photographs or artwork, you can create a calming and attractive space that you love. A water feature or water wall could also be idyllic in a space like this.

5. Keep comfort in mind.

Meditating is easier when you are comfortable. Consider adding a plush chair or pillows that you can use to find a comfortable position while you relax. You may even find it beneficial to have a blanket in the room that you can cover up with to stay warm.

About The Author

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.