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It’s Dec. 20 and I’m sitting in my too-cold sunroom in St. Petersburg, Florida. The temperature outside is 61 degrees. I know. We Floridians have it rough. The time is 5:30 a.m.
This is a habit of mine to get up every morning by 5:30 and I’ve been doing it for so long, my eyes pop open without any need for alarm clocks — even on the weekends. I love the mornings. I love hot coffee and I love the opportunity to get still for a moment before the sun rises and my day begins.
Many of us have trouble meditating. The mind just doesn’t want to shut up. Thinking, thinking, thinking. We think we can think ourselves out of trouble. We stew about things that are irritating us. Many of us live in a drama every day. We have anxiety in our chests and a feeling of frustration we’re constantly trying to shake off.
Life becomes something we’re “getting through.” We survive, we persevere and we hope for happier days ahead. We’re waiting. Waiting for retirement. Waiting for things to slow down.
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” -Mark Twain
Related: Why Practicing Mindfulness in Daily Life Is Invaluable For Entrepreneurs
Stopping the drama
Sitting still in quiet darkness with only your breath allows you to tune into the present moment. Listening to your breath with your eyes closed in total aloneness, you’ll find that there is pure peace in that. A sensation of calm will wash over you like a warm blanket.
But watch — here come the negative thoughts. They’ll start to creep in. Thought flow will enter. The mind is tricky; it wants in. You’ll need to be strict with your mind. This is the time that you set aside for yourself. Just like when you’re starting to work out, there will be resistance. There will be a feeling of “I can’t do this.”
Stick with it because it’s a practice; results won’t happen overnight. Show up every day and give 10 minutes, 15 minutes, whatever you can. Over time, the benefits of your practice to stay in the present moment will start to show up in your life. For business owners, staying in the present moment is a superpower. It’s where creativity lives; it’s where passion lives; it’s where true happiness is.
Organizes your mind
By giving your mind a break, you’re cleaning house. Decluttering. You’re creating a space between your busy, overthinking mind and what really is important.
After meditation, grab your journal and map out your day. Think about how you want your day to go. Step into it with a plan and don’t sacrifice your health. Put it first. Remember, you can’t think greater than how you feel. Do the things to feel your best self first.
From that space, move into your day.
Related: 21 Time Management Hacks Successful People Do Daily
Ability to connect with your staff and customers
Reminding yourself that the present moment is exactly where you need to be allows for deeper connections with people. When you’re really present, people can feel it. When you walk into the office, you’ll have an air of positivity about you. When someone needs you and you give them your undivided attention, they’ll remember it.
If something unsettling does pop up, give it your full attention and then let it go. It’s gone. Onto the next thing.
Breathe and reset. If it really throws you for a loop, take 10 minutes for yourself again and remember the truth. It only lives in your mind now. The event passed. Let it go.
Preserves your energy
It takes a lot of energy to feel negative emotions. You can actually feel it physically. The head feels heavy. The shoulders and back and jaw feel stiff. Teeth grinding (bruxism) affects millions of people. You know why? We hold stress in our jaw. We’re not loose.
Staying in the present moment preserves our energy and even cultivates energy. When you’re not worried and you’re instead happy to be where you are, positive energy flows through you. You’ll be able to get to the things you’ve been meaning to and even have energy left over to have some fun.
Related: 6 Ways to Start the New Year With a Blank Slate
Keeps you grateful
When you’re in the present moment, peace washes over you. You’re not looking for what’s next. You’re happy with what is.
You’re not worried about what happened in the past and you’re not worried about what’s going to happen in the future. You’re just here. Appreciation and gratefulness blossom inside of you.
As a business owner, you may be saying, “But I have to plan and push forward. My drive is what gets us to the next level. It keeps us growing.”
The drive doesn’t need to go away. It’s healthy to map out your goals and work toward those goals. But remember, what you’re looking for is not there — it’s here in the present moment. If you’re a human being on this earth, you want peace, health and happiness.
You may want riches, too, but don’t sacrifice your health to get there. That’s the old way. We’re learning so much about the mind, body and human behavior. If you study people that are successful in all areas of their life, you’ll quickly see a pattern: presence; appreciation; a desire to learn and grow; and a deep connectedness to nature and what is in the heart of oneself. I wish you all much success in 2023.