Five Magic Minutes A Day

5 minutes of meditation a day will improve your life. Be mindful or compose yourself for the day or tasks ahead. It truly can be the key to a successful day, and a successful you.

Did you know that many successful CEOs and other influential figures meditate regularly? It’s a fact. For example, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs studied Zen philosophy in the 1970s and became one of the first CEOs to introduce meditation into work culture. Admirably, Apple now offers employees a meditation room and half an hour a day to meditate. Research on mindfulness suggests that meditation sharpens skills like memory, attention, and emotional intelligence, in addition to multiple studies proving that meditation can decrease anxiety. The benefits are limitless. Meditation is indeed being realized by the masses. “Headspace,” the largest of almost 1,000 mindfulness apps, raised 36.7 million USD in funding in 2017.

I only began meditating a year and a half ago, since living in Dongguan. After meeting a group of South African teachers who held weekly meditation sessions, I joined them for the first time and never looked back. It was a pleasantly surreal experience overall, as one of our group initially guided us with her voice into relaxation and gradually, my mind was taken away from distractions. After a few minutes we were left to our own devices. I remember the pungent scent of sandalwood incense from that day, now one of my favorite smells.

Research on mindfulness suggests that meditation sharpens skills like memory, attention, and emotional intelligence, in addition to multiple studies proving that meditation can decrease anxiety.

Roughly 30 minutes passed, before we came around from our meditative state and discussed how we felt or what we thought about. The session as a whole definitely brought us closer together and increased our empathy for one another. One of the group members explained how meditation for him was all about breathing exercises and slowing down his breathing until it was controlled. Another group member talked more about how the sounds she could hear outside of the apartment were integrated thoroughly into the thoughts she had during the time we had our eyes closed—an emotional and creative response. Later down the line, I also met someone who had begun meditating as a way to handle his anger issues. With each person who takes the time to do so, typically there is a story of why.

Since I began the group session, I continued to explore with meditation in my own space at home, and even sometimes outside, by the river in Wanjiang or at Qifeng Park. It always feels right when accompanied by nature somehow.

You may not consider yourself the ideal candidate, because you may not really understand what meditation or mindfulness is. Perhaps you think you’re not patient enough, or you don’t have the time to “wander” physically or psychologically. But remember, being mindful is just about being in the present moment. Meditation is just about giving yourself a little time or space, to calm and compose yourself. Whether you give yourself a few minutes while sitting on the sofa, or you take 30 minutes to delve deeper and learn more about yourself and your subconscious; it’s all effective in the end.

Whether you sit in silence and turn off your thoughts, or visualize the goals you wish to achieve in the next year; it is surprising at first how much “lighter” you feel. It’s as if you drop some of the weight of life’s pressures and suddenly feel more motivated. I imagine that is how CEOs ensure the stresses they face daily don’t make them crumble. I can also see meditation being a key factor in many successful people’s continued accomplishments.

You can also choose to listen to calming music or even find the right app for you. Some feature sound guides, meaning that you can be led into a relaxed state. This is ideal for those who have a shorter attention span or can’t sit in silence. Here’s a test: why not try it? You can go solo or try with a friend. If you would like to try a group session, look to the end of the article.

Ever had a bad day where things keep spiraling out of control and it’s one bad turn after another? That used to happen to me often. However, it’s all about your mentality and how you handle things. Starting your day right, or being mindful before you enter a job interview, or go on a date, for example, can really put you in the right mindset and mood. Take a leaf out of the average successful CEO’s book and give it a go. You might just be thankful you did.

To discuss further or take part in a group meditation session, scan the QR code.