This Business Trip is a regular column that looks at how small changes can help you better optimize your business travel time.
This article was first published August 1st in Billy.
THE CHALLENGE: GETTING AROUND TO IT
The case for meditation just keeps getting stronger.
According to research by the American Medical Association, meditation has been documented as providing real help for patients with depression, anxiety, and pain.
Researchers have also found that a regular meditation practice increased happiness, emotional resilience, and resulted in fewer sick days being taken.
But that’s not all.
Meditation has also been linked to professional performance since it has shown to increase creativity, the ability to manage stress, and self-regulatation as well as raising rates efficiency and productivity.
So why aren’t we all doing it?
Getting it into your regular routine is a challenge – and one that, until my last business trip, I had never been able to do.
It helped that the next morning, I was able to try it again – with no kid interruptions.
“Business travel is a powerful time to re-think our morning routine. Being away from the many responsibilities of our family allows us the opportunity to begin practicing a morning ritual in a quiet space that we can bring home with us” says Emily Ridout co-founder of the Toronto yoga studio 889 where she leads a regular meditation circle.
“At home, I steal away less than five minutes to sneak to the basement in the morning, light a candle, squeeze in a yoga pose or sequence. It’s much harder to clear your mind when you are worried that you are making someone late for school or you are also thinking about what to put in a lunch box.” Says Lisa Mattam, a successful entrepreneur, and owner of Sahajan an Ayurvedic Organic Skincare company.
“When I travel, I find I can take my practice to a deeper level.”
“Practicing this ritual away from family distractions and in a space where you are fully present with yourself is highly effective and you can start to see the positive benefits over the course of your first day. Being away from your usual routines, also provides
Travelling for business and being away from the family, actually often means that you more open and have more space available to observe these subtle yet powerful changes.” Says Emily.
Emily recommends the following:
Breathe: A simple observation of your breath when you wake up. Lie in bed and observe your breath. Observe and note the qualities of your breath. The length of the inhalation and exhalation (which one is longer? which one is easier?). Observe the speed of your breathing (fast? slow?). Observe the temperature of the air as it enters your nostrils (is it warm/cool?). Next – scan you body and find a place in your body where you can feel you are holding tension. See if you can breathe into that space of tension and slowly begin to soften it. Next – set an intention for your day that you can continue to come back to throughout the day. The more simple the better. For example – “May I be peaceful” or “May I live with ease” or “May I choose kindness”. Come back to this during your day to ground you and remind you of your inner power.
Unplug: I love the interactive kit called “Unplug” by Sharon Salzberg. This kit includes meditations and breathing exercises to unplug. It includes 10 guided audio meditations (all are 8 minutes or less!) and a guidebook with techniques for breaking free from habitual and stressful patterns. This kit allows you a simply way to be guided in the morning for 5-8 minutes before taking in the world of stimulation. This kit is a great way to get started on a morning ritual.
Commit: If you are committed to making change and want a step-by-step, day-by-day guide, I recommend the book “May Cause Miracles” by Gabrielle Bernstein. This would be great to start on business travel, get acquainted with the daily ritual of her system and then carry it into your life for 40-days. This program includes 5-10 minute meditations and written exercises in both the morning and the evening.
Repeat: Trying an easy routine while you are away, means that you can take a simple (in my case under 5 minute practice) home with you, already established and comfortable and you no longer have to attempt to “begin” when things are much busier.
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