I am constantly amazed when I read about super-successful people, how many of the BUSIEST people on the planet take time each day to literally sit and do nothing. It sounds so counter-intuitive, but they swear it's worth it.
I was really resistant to meditation myself until it kept punching me in the face everywhere I turned.
It started poking me when I was reading Tim Ferriss' book last year – Tools of Titans, the tools, tactics, and ‘inside baseball’ of the billionaires, icons, and world-class performers.
Meditation was mentioned by so many top performers that it was so apparent that I should dig a little deeper.
I started to meditate a bit. Not consistently (and a little resentfully) but I was doing it on occasion, very infrequently. More as an “I'm feeling totally overwhelmed. I'm going to go sit a bit.” As if it's an instant thing. lol. Laughing at myself as I type that.
Then, as I've been listening to a book a day, the topic of meditation KEPT coming up over and over again with science proving its benefits to our bodies and minds.
And then, a few months ago, I was reading”My Morning Routine” by Benjamin Spall & Michael Xander, and it again, was mentioned again and again I was like “OK already…. I get it. I'll do it every day.” 😉
Oprah Winfrey told Dr. Oz that encouraging everyone at her office to meditate has benefited her company immensely. It started with 7 people meditating, to 270 and now EVERYONE meditates in her company.
The effects? She said….
“People who used to have migraines, don’t. People are sleeping better. People have better relationships. People interact with other people better. It’s been fantastic,” she said.
Jerry Seinfeld says this about what could have been the most stressful years of his life…
“With the Seinfeld show, I was doing a TV series in which I was the star of the show, the executive producer of the show, the head writer, in charge of casting and editing, for 24 episodes on network television—not cable—for nine years!
And I’m just a normal guy. And that was not a normal situation to be in… So I meditated every day. And that’s how I survived the nine years.”
So that lead me to research some more. I looked up some people I admire and I also asked my smart friends this:
Do you meditate? If so, what style / how?
How often? Why?
And what results have you felt from it?
This post is a compilation of responses from my friends and quotes from people who I admire who are not my friends – yet. 🙂
I hope you enjoy this post. If so, please share!
New York Times Best-Selling Author
From Nicole: In a guest post for the Medium, Tim said…
For the last few years, I’ve interviewed more than 200 world-class performers for my podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. The guests range from super celebs (Jamie Foxx, Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc.) and athletes (icons of powerlifting, gymnastics, surfing, etc.) to legendary Special Operations commanders and black-market biochemists.
The result was my book Tools of Titans, the tools, tactics, and ‘inside baseball’ of the billionaires, icons, and world-class performers I have been fortunate enough to interview.
Of all the routines and habits, the most consistent among guests is some form of daily meditation or mindfulness practice.
More than 80% of the world-class performers I interviewed shared this trait.
It is a “meta-skill” that improves everything else. You’re starting your day by practicing focus when it doesn’t matter (sitting on a couch for 10 minutes) so that you can focus better later when it does matter (negotiation, conversation with a loved one, max deadlift, mind-melding with a Vulcan, etc.).
Meditation acts as a warm bath for the mind. Perhaps you’re a world-conquering machine with elite focus, but you might need to CTFO (chill the f* out) a few minutes a day before you BTFO (burn the f* out).
Meditation allows me to step back, so that I’m observing my thoughts instead of being tumbled by them. I can step out of the washing machine and calmly look inside it.
Maruxa “Muh-Roo-Shah” 🙂 Murphy
Yes, I absolutely meditate. To me, meditation is my first line of defense every morning to ensure I can create more love, opportunities, and impact on all I plan to do that day.
I wake up before the kids and the husband does, grab a cup of my Perky Perky coffee, and then listen to a meditation through Insight Timer (an app that has thousands of guided meditations). I usually will meditate for 15-30 minutes and then stretch and then get started with waking up the kids for school.
I've actually however, added 3 more mini-meditations throughout my day as well though! I'm working with a coach named Betty Jean Bell on loving myself and my body (I'm currently trying to lose some weight and keep it off) and as part of her training, she has me doing 5-10 minute meditations on self-love and awareness of body morning, midday and before bed. They are INCREDIBLE and I've found adding this mini-meditation breaks has helped me see what is possible when I am more present with myself. I love meditation!
There's plenty more below from Lewis Howes, Natalie Sisson, a bunch of other smart awesome people, and of course, me. Plus I created a separate post with tips on where to begin and the best tools and resources that I like.
You are welcome to keep scrolling to read. Or if you'd like the resources, too, just sign up here…
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Entrepreneur and Adventurer
From Nicole: In a blog post about her morning routine, Natalie says…
After I’ve rolled up my yoga mat and am feeling pretty good about myself, I sit on the comfy rug at the foot of our bed, and lean my back up against the bed, and I open up my insight timer app.
Note: This is the ONLY time I grab my phone. I will choose somewhere from a 10 to 20 minute guided meditation, a chanting mantra meditation, or simply one that just plays a really beautiful chime or gong, when the time is up.
I’ll focus on my breath. But I’m more of a fan of the guided meditation because I still haven’t quite worked on the focusing the mind.
Depending on how excited I am about the day ahead, which is usually a lot, my mind can be wandering to some of those tasks and projects already. So I really liked the guided meditation. This app is free.
You can bookmark your favourites.
She goes into a bit more details her free download “My Morning Routine Checklist” (<- get it!) where she says…
It’s taught me to be much more grateful, aware and present and to behave more mindfully in all situations. It’s also incredible for focusing on breath and as a result I breathe more deeply and have a greater sense of calm throughout the day, not just during meditations.
Research shows that meditation can help reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors and have been shown to help with anxiety and depression.
Plus, it helps us to stay centered and calm, shift our mental perception and change our reactions to varying situations, as well as allow us to connect with our inner wisdom.
What’s more you don’t have to be sitting like a zen monk to do it either, you can lie down, sit and even do walking yoga. Make sure it works with you and your lifestyle.
Candice L. Davis
Meditation makes me a better writer and a more effective business owner. Sure, I expected to feel more focused and creative right after meditating, but I also discovered the effects carry over throughout the day. When I'm meditating regularly, I can make decisions faster and I'm much less prone to distraction. It's easier to bat away the noise and create the next product, write a blog post, or connect with a client.
I usually meditate every day, sometimes for five minutes and sometimes for up to thirty minutes.
Whether I use a mantra meditation or a guided meditation to release anxiety, allow abundance, or fall asleep, I find the results are equally as good.
Photographer, Former Professional Athlete, Founder/CEO of CreativeLive
From Nicole: In a blog post about his morning routine, he shares:
I’ve been on record for several years now sharing my experiences with meditation. Meditation and the resulting benefits, have probably been the biggest game-changers for me as an adult.
Throughout my life I’ve tried a few different methods with differing degrees of “success” but it wasn’t until I found Transcendental Meditation that I really felt like I was receiving the greatest benefit. Again – I’m not aiming to be preachy here – just sharing what’s worked for me.
It’s perhaps also worth noting that I am not at all religious in the classic sense. I consider myself spiritual (think that we are all connected and that life is a magical thing and the world a magical place), but I don’t look at meditation as a woo-woo thing, or a religious thing, or anything other than a healthy practice that connects our physical + mental worlds in a meaningful way.
Again, I’m not advocating you use TM specifically — there are a lot of different methods out there …but it’s been hugely beneficial in my life and worth trying if you haven’t already.
The science also, finally agrees with the thousands of years of practice, that meditation increases creativity, reduces stress, adds clarity and focus, and a lot of joy to the lives of many people the world over.
LinkedIn Consultant & Strategist
I started meditating 2.5 years ago. Something to do with my 40th birthday?;-) Midlife crisis or as Brene Brown would say ‘midlife unraveling'. I'm a type A personality who always believed that there is no way that I can sit still and think of nothing! But when I start something that I really believe in, then I'm going all in. It was like that with meditation. I really knew that I needed this in my life so I wanted to make it a regular practice.
I try to meditate every week day, for 15 – 20 minutes, before the kids get up. When I say ‘try' it's because it really is a ‘practice'. I don't just sit there and get in some kind of woo-woo trance. Usually out of the 20 minutes I get 15 minutes monkey mind (meaning the mind goes in all kind of directions and I keep coming back to the present, breath or whatever else it is that I'm focusing on) and only 5 minutes are these moments of absolute silent mind. But those 5 minutes are so worth it!! And I know that by practicing daily these 5 minutes will become longer and longer 😉
As you can tell I'm still a meditation-newbie. But I have seen major changes in my life & business thanks to meditation. I'm less anxious and less reactive. I don't make a big deal out of small mistakes anymore. If I send an email with a broken link to my whole list I don't panic. When someone on my webinar says that there's no sound, I don't hyper ventilate. I trust in the process and I trust in the compassion of others. When a big mandate gets cancelled last minute I trust that there was probably a good reason for it and that it's not about me, because I am enough.
In fact that's probably the most important thing I have come to realize thanks to meditation: I am. And I am enough.
From Nicole: If you are an introvert, you'll love Sarah's podcast. You can listen to our interview here.
From Nicole: In his book “The Millionaire Morning” (<- which you can get free plus shipping at this link), Lewis says:
Meditation has been something that’s expanded my mind ever since I started when I was 19 years old, training in sports.
It allowed me to stay calm, focus on my vision, and decompress my mind from any stresses of life. When I meditate, the rest of my day goes much smoother, and when I don’t I sometimes feel overwhelmed.
In his podcast, he gave some more details on one type of meditation (of several) that he does each morning:
During this meditation, I’m visualising, who is the human being that I want to become? What is the dream that I have in my heart, and how am I going to bring this to life, today? And I also reflect on, again, when things go wrong, how am I going to respond? Do I want to be a human that responds out of frustration and anger, or from a place of peace, calm and love. And that’s what I do during my meditation, and at the end of that, I move my body a little bit, to kind of come out of the meditation, and then I’m off to taking on the most important task for the day.
A few years ago I read the book ‘Rewire‘ which has some great information about meditation. The subtitle is “Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior”. There is a particular meditation suggestion where you sit and imagine that you are holding yourself as a baby. Your goal is to comfort your tiny self.
It was profound for me. I had a flood of emotion around thoughts, wondering if anyone actually held and comforted me as a baby. Imagining that I was holding and loving myself as a baby was so much easier than imaging loving myself as a grown woman. Interesting, right?
I've repeated that medication practice a few times since then and it becomes more natural and easy every time.
That experience got me interested in meditation. I bought 10% Happier and enjoyed that. I listen to the 10% Happier podcast and used the App for awhile too.
It hasn't become a steady habit for me, but I turn to it when I'm feeling twisted up about something.
Creative Business & Success Coach
Yes, I do meditate! I have been using Calm.com and Headspace. They are my two favorite meditation apps. It’s definitely a “practice” as in I’m always practicing. I find when I do it consistently it helps me be more present. When I’m out of practice then I find I get really great ideas during my meditation and I struggle between letting go of the pull of the idea or jumping up to write my great idea down! Back to the breath…
From Nicole: Laura has a cool free gift for coaches (or for you to use in your own business). Get it here: Easily Creating Client Breakthrough Magic. (Contains 5 Coaching Tools.)
President of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios & Author
From Nicole: In the book “My Morning Routine” by Benjamin Spall & Michael Xander, he shares:
“I meditate every day (I haven't missed a day in years) for thirty to sixty minutes before working out. It is always some form of Vipassana meditation, such as focusing on the breath. I have received a great deal of benefit from the simple yet difficult practice of learning to stop the internal voice in my head. I learned that the voice isn't me, and I don't need to keep rethinking events of the past, nor overthink plans for the future. This skill has helped me both to focus and to pause before responding to unexpected event.”
He goes on to say that he keeps a pen and paper by him when he meditates in case he gets a great idea so that he can jot it down and get back to his meditation.
Awesome Human, Author, Business Consultant, etc.
I meditate. In fact, that's me doing a little yoga / meditation in the Atlanta airport. 😉
Usually twice a day, but I do get in at least 15 minutes once per day, every day in the morning.
My second meditation is usually another 15 minutes, but if my schedule isn't conducive, it may be just 1-5 minutes whenever I can fit it in, even if it's in my car when I get home from running an errand.
I usually find my afternoon meditation to be more relaxing than my morning one and I look forward to it more.
It's something I commit to doing but if I need to miss it, I'm not going to beat myself up about it. 🙂
I am fairly new to meditation compared to some of the people above, but it definitely makes me smarter, kinder, and more successful than just letting my monkey mind rule the day.
I find that I can have one of two days…
A day without meditation.
Roll out of bed, grab my coffee, then my phone, check email and I'm off in reaction mode all freaking day long. My stress levels are high, I feel resentful, and I'm overall not the best version of me as the day goes along. As things seem to snowball (because I'm being reactive), I then “don't have time” for an afternoon meditation, because I'm not being productive.
A day with meditation.
Roll out of bed, grab a cup of water (add green powder) and my coffee and bring them both to my bedroom. Drink the water concoction, and set my coffee on my night stand.
Then, I grab my phone and choose my meditation app for that morning. if I'm listening to something, I put on my headphones, sit comfortably in bed, close my eyes.
Before I start the app, though, I do a breathing exercise and then a quick mindfulness exercise that I love. Then I look at the time (if I'm not using an app) or I press play on the timer / music and let my mind rest. (Remember, even while you sleep your mind is still active, so this time is so needed!)
After my 15-20 minute meditation ends, I decide whether to do another or if I'm ready for the day. I either choose a second 15 minutes after a few sips of coffee, or decide that I'm done.
Usually if I do a second one, it's just silence with me and my mantra. (Or my afternoon one is.)
After the meditation time, I stretch a bit in bed. Nothing too big. Just some forward stretches and side stretches – mostly so I can reach the puppies and pet them a bit.
I then grab my notepad and write the following four things.
- My number of days in a row of the habits I'm currently practicing. So, for instance, it may say “Day 45 of BAD (Book a Day)“.
- My “creation statements” (through my coaching with Belanie Dishong).
- I write “Why am I so thankful?” on the same page and list 10 reasons. They might be something basic to life like clean water (which so many on the planet do not have access to), or sushi (because sushi), or men who do yoga in kilts (comments filtered).
- My 5 wins for the day. Basically what 5 things do I need to accomplish so that the day will have been a success to me? They may be personal or business or a mix of two.
I get out of bed, calm, thankful, and ready for my day. I am less reactive when things go wrong, and I don't physically feel like crap, like I'm in fight or flight all day. I can just be.
And, it's not made up. This stuff is being proven with science now.
For instance, Sarah Lazar, Ph.D. has been studying the effects of meditating for 8 weeks on two groups. She did a brain scan before and after the 8 weeks in a study that was funded by the NIH.
Here's what she found.
Lazar: We found differences in brain volume after eight weeks in five different regions in the brains of the two groups.
In the group that learned meditation, we found thickening in four regions:
1. The primary difference, we found in the posterior cingulate, which is involved in mind wandering, and self relevance.
2. The left hippocampus, which assists in learning, cognition, memory and emotional regulation.
3. The temporo parietal junction, or TPJ, which is associated with perspective taking, empathy and compassion.
4. An area of the brain stem called the Pons, where a lot of regulatory neurotransmitters are produced.
The amygdala, the fight or flight part of the brain which is important for anxiety, fear and stress in general. That area got smaller in the group that went through the mindfulness-based stress reduction program.
The change in the amygdala was also correlated to a reduction in stress levels.
But if stress, health, and productivity isn't enough of a reason, there is this…
Your Sex Life.
“If stress is impacting our sex—which it is—and if meditation is the most effective stress-relieving tool that we have, then it stands to reason that if you’re practicing meditation, it may in fact make your sex better.” – Ziva Meditation Founder Emily Fletcher
How to Start?
What NOT to do is to say “I'm going to meditate twice every day for 15 minutes each time, like these people.” That's a lot. And I think I would have quit if I'd started like that.
I've created a separate post with tips on where to begin and the best tools and resources that I like. You'll also receive this post in an email in case you want to refer back to it.
If you'd like that, just sign up here…