Entrepreneurship & Mindfulness – Less Stress, More Balance!
What if you could make the brain work better with simple brain training skills?
What if you could learn to ‘switch off’ an area of the brain that is responsible for worry and stress? And instead ‘switch on’ a different area of the brain that’s responsible for focus and attention in the present moment?
In basic terms, that’s what mindfulness training is.
It’s not yoga or general wellbeing activities or putting your feet up.
It’s a very specific training of the mind that teaches you how to access skills of awareness that can be adopted to notice what’s going on in the mind, body and environment in any given moment. This is done by focusing on the breath and the body.
It sounds simple, doesn’t it? But it’s not always easy.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness helps you to know yourself more closely and to relate differently to the world going on around you. It isn’t about accepting everything that happens. It’s about learning to be more attuned to what’s going on and how to respond to feelings, emotions and events in an informed, open and intelligent way.
As an entrepreneur experiencing all of life’s ups and downs (both professionally and personally), learning and adopting the skills of mindfulness has been invaluable. I have a morning practice but I also rely on these skills during many micro-moments throughout the day to help with concentration, flexibility and resilience.
Some would say it’s also a set of ethics and a way of living but this is not a prerequisite – nor is it necessary to sit cross-legged on the floor for 40 minutes each morning…unless you want to!
The Entrepreneur Mindset
“Lost productivity due to workplace stress and depression has risen in the past two decades and is estimated to cost the UK economy more than £12 billion a year” CIPD
Now more than ever, we live busy and hurried lives. And, particularly post-COVID, there is a growing mental health crisis. Entrepreneurs are a particular breed of people who manage many different roles and juggle multiple needs and priorities. As a result, pressure and stress levels can be high.
During one particular day this week, I navigated five significant life events before lunchtime! had the elation of good GCSE results, followed by the curveball of a relation’s medical diagnosis, a Zoom presentation with a new client and then a huge technical hitch, a child standing at my office door with blood and plasters and so it went on. Thankfully not all days are like this and I was very, very happy to be able to rely on the skills of mindfulness to navigate me through.
“Looking after mental health in business is simply good business and the right thing to do” Mark Henick, CEO of Strategic Mental Health Solutions
No matter who we are – solopreneur, entrepreneur or SME – the key to positive mental health is PREVENTION. This requires a shift in our mindset (and in our business cultures) to prioritise health and mental health first; your mind and body.
A significant superpower of mindfulness is that it encourages self-reliance and self-leadership. Rather than being unaware of the signs of ill health or low mood, we can plan consistent, tried and tested mindful practice to help with our own health before it becomes problematic.
Over time I’ve come to realise I value 3 key things about mindfulness –
- After nearly 50 years of research coming out of key centres in the UK (including the NHS) and the US we know the science is robust and the long-lasting, positive effects I see from teaching mindfulness both 121 and in groups are striking.
Clients report noticeable changes, they feel more relaxed, flexible and engaged and less irritable, less illness and rigidity.
- It is a genuinely low-impact and sustainable activity that requires little more than a clear intention to give it a try, a quiet-ish space to practice, and a relatively comfortable chair to sit in.
The only other vital element is YOU, your body and brain which is always with you.
- Lastly, and importantly, consistent practice of mindfulness can create community often with like-minded people.
It is NOT therapy but it can be a therapeutic process where people share a little about work and life experiences that help to create belonging and understanding which is extremely valuable, especially post-Covid.
Why not be an early adopter and give it a go? There’s nothing to lose and possibly a lot to gain.
Written by Georgie Payne from Time For The Mind.