The Importance of Meditation in Entrepreneurship
with Ariel Garten
with guest Ariel Garten #MakingBank S5E13
Living in this world, especially in these times of a pandemic, everyone is under stress. Whether that stress comes from work, relationships, a set of expectations placed on you, or other sources, it has an effect on our body and our mental state. Feeling tired, overworked, and uninspired from stress can be frustrating, and often times piles on to the negative feeling of never really getting the chance to breathe.
When you’re an entrepreneur, stress is the worst kind of enemy. Big things are constantly coming your way as they are being discovered and created, and you’ve got a huge role to play in each and every factor. How you deal with stress is as important and running your own business – and in this podcast you’ll figure out why.
Ariel Garten, founder of the successful tech start-up Muse, joins a recent episode of the Making Bank Podcast to talk about the importance of meditation when dealing with stress and how it can better you as an entrepreneur and person.
Meditation: What it is
Ariel says that “meditation is a practice or training that leads to healthy and positive mind states.” In order to understand how to deal with stress, you must understand what meditation does for your brain and body.
How many times in a day do you walk into a room and forget why you walked into the room in the first place? Or totally forgot the paragraph that you just were reading? Or how many times have you heard a negative voice in your head telling you that you can’t achieve something? These thoughts and actions are the cause of thoughtlessness, the proof that we are running on habits and routines.
This thoughtlessness can be detrimental, it can create bad habits and can alter the quality of your work. Often times we fall into the routine of having repetitive and negative thoughts that cause fear or affect moods. To most people, that may seem normal, a part of ourselves that we have to live with. However, with meditation you are going into a deeper level of consciousness and discover that you have a choice to where your mind travels.
Meditation breaks the autopilot; it puts you directly into your own head so that you aren’t doing tasks mindlessly. Becoming aware of what you’re doing, what you’re creating, or what you’re communicating is important allows you to set intention, and this intention overall helps your brain handle the stress that you deal with on a day to day basis.
How Meditation Affects the Brain
When you meditate you are strengthening your prefrontal cortex, which part of your brain is associated with thinking, planning, higher order processing and attention. Along with that, you’re down regulating your amygdala, which is your fight or flight response. These two aspects of the brain are important because they essentially “make us the humans that we are.”
The prefrontal cortex observes what’s going on in a situation and communicates to your amygdala, which determines how you’re going to react in that specific situation. Ariel says, “what we find is people who are long-term meditators are able to maintain, or even increase the thickness of their prefrontal cortex…and they’re able to downregulate the activity of their amygdala.” That results in more rational thinking, controlled emotional responses, along with less fear and reactivity.
Meditation allows you to be able to stay focused and present in a situation, rather than run when you’re feeling fear or stress. Controlling your emotional reaction is a huge part of being mindful of thoughts and actions, as it’s easy to let your emotions run your actions. Putting effort towards mediating allows your reactions to be more levelheaded and processed rather than combative.
Meditation in Entrepreneurship
“When you think about it, entrepreneurship is just like…we constantly have things flying towards us.” Constantly dealing with things that most people would never be able to deal with because it’s too stressful and crazy is part of the job that entrepreneurs take on. You have to train yourself to deal with everything that is coming your way, not turn from it or have an overwhelming fear that a solution is impossible. Facing those problems and stressors directly and finding ways to manage them effectively are all things that you can discover while participating in meditation.
Whether you deal with sales dropping, working with people who aren’t doing their jobs correctly, or even making a mistake in an email, you’re dealing with things all day long. Learning how to control your responses to these certain stressors with meditations allow you to encourage a better, more stable and aware mind state than before and can lead you to more successful conversations or changes that help you and your business grow to be better.
When it comes to practicing meditation, you’ve got to put in the time and effort. “The better you get at this exercise, the better you get at identifying when your thoughts are wandering and choosing to take your mind away from it and the more your brain intuitively learns to stay in the state of focused attention.” The more effort you put forth in breaking habits and creating new thoughts, the better person – entrepreneur or not – you’ll be.