Meditation for High Performance
The brain is considered the most important organ in our bodies. For one, it is literally what makes us human. And, experts are finding that maintaining brain health is the key to longevity.
At Kosterina, we’re passionate about helping people live long, healthy, high-performing lives. We know that one way to keep our brains and bodies healthy into old age is by consuming foods rich in polyphenols, or antioxidants, - like EVOO. But, brain health isn't just about what we eat - it's also about how we think.
Over the past several years, I’ve been inspired to meditate by many high performers who claim it’s their secret to success. Author and podcaster, Tim Ferris -- for his book Tribe of Mentors -- interviewed 140 top performing individuals across many different fields and found that 90% of them meditated. But despite multiple app downloads and many attempts to quite my mind, I’m a meditation failure. I haven’t been able to consistently set aside the time and even when I do, I find that half way through, I’ll remember something urgent on my to do list and I’ll stop half way through. Not quite the effect that I’m seeking!
After hearing Emily Fletcher on a podcast, I read her book: Stress Less, Accomplish More: Meditation for Extraordinary Performance. I thought I’d share some of the takeaways and learnings with you here as I work through her method.
So Fletcher spends quite a bit of time in the book touting the benefits of mindfulness and meditation – increased productivity, better sleep, more energy, disease prevention, healing, longevity, youthful appearance, etc. She states that the common meditation apps like Calm and Headspace are great for reliving stress today, right now, and in the moment that you’re meditating. But a deeper practice allows for reduction of stress that has built up and accumulated in the past paving the way for higher performance and more substantial benefits.
The quick “cliff’s notes” version of her method is:
- You have to set aside two 15-minute blocks per day for meditation – ideally one first thing in the morning and one in the mid afternoon. Each session consists of 3 parts:
- Mindfulness: The first 2 minutes of the practice is what she calls Comes to Your Senses. Close your eyes and go through each of the 5 senses and think about what you hear, see, smell, taste and feel. Think first about the obvious sensations (i.e. louder sounds, brighter light, etc) and then move to the more subtle (background noise, dim light, etc).
- Meditation: Then for the next 12 minutes or so (you can use a timer and look at it whenever you want) – aim to clear your mind using a mantra. Apparently the way to meditate with a mantra is to repeat one word over and over in your head. She recommends using the word One. When your mind wanders away, push the thought aside (don’t indulge or entertain it), and just come back to the manta -- One. One. One.
- Manifesting: For the last couple of minutes, think about something you’re grateful for and begin to imagine one of your dreams, goals or desires as if it’s your current reality. Imagine it as if it’s happening right now.
Have you been able to successfully practice meditation consistently? Give it a shot. I’d love to hear what you think.