In this episode, I share the basics of meditation, with a focus on its benefits for small business owners.
I believe that meditation is an essential part of running a small business, as it helps to prevent burnout and increase access to creativity and intuition. In this podcast, I will provide tips on how to get started with a meditation practice, as well as common pitfalls to avoid.
By the end of this episode, you’ll have a good foundation for starting your own meditation practice.
Simple Body Scan Meditation: https://meegancare.co.nz/featured-post/ohmpod-12/
Simple Breathing Meditation: https://meegancare.co.nz/featured-post/ohmpod002/
Full Episode Transcript
Hey, wonderful people. Welcome to the podcast. This week I’m going over the basics of meditation with a specific focus on meditation for small business owners. I’ve meditated for over 30 years now. It’s been a really, really strong part of my personal practice, my growth and development, my capacity to be with what’s going on inside of me and not let that hold me back.
I wanna share with you how you can get started with the meditation practice, but also why it’s so useful for us as small business owners. And it is a part of what I teach through my programs when I’m coaching small business owners because it’s such an important piece to be able to.
Work with our emotions, manage our emotions, access that calm and relaxed response in our nervous system so that you know, we wanna be able to take action. We wanna go, go, go within our business, but we also wanna be able to put our foot on the brake and slow down and calm our nervous. firstly, because if we don’t, we’re gonna burn out and we’re gonna quickly slide into overwhelm.
And secondly, because when we access that calm and relaxed response in the parasympathetic nervous system, which is what meditation does for us, Then we have much easier access to our own creativity, to our intuition, and those are such important aspects to our business in whatever we are creating in our purpose-led business.
So here we go with the conversation around meditation. It’s gonna give you a good foundation for how you can get started, what you need to set up, And the very first things that you need to do to begin a meditation practice and the common pitfalls and obstacles that we find along the way.
I’m Meegan Care mindset coach and meditation teacher. This podcast is here to help you unwind self-doubt. People pleasing, imposter syndrome and overwhelm so you can step into the confident leader you were born to be women. It is time to bring your purpose into the world in an impactful way without sacrificing your wellbeing. Are you ready? Let’s begin.
I teach mindfulness-based meditation for mindfulness works who are an Australasian organization. The biggest teacher of meditation throughout Australia and New Zealand, and I teach that as a four week course here in New Plymouth. And it’s such a beautiful course. So if you listen to this podcast and you wanna learn more, you wanna really deepen into a meditation practice, then reach out and I’ll let you know when the next mindfulness works courses are. And I teach mindfulness-based meditation and there
obviously are other forms of meditation, but my wheelhouse is within the mindfulness-based meditation practice.
So what I love about the interest in meditation over the last 20 years is that there’s been so much research done in meditation and the benefits for our brain, for our
nervous system, and so we know that there’s evidence that backs up that
good feeling that you get when you practice on a regular basis.
And what I’m talking about here is always over the long term, you definitely get some short term benefits from meditation. From just one practice, you’ll most likely feel calmer, more relaxed in your body and your nervous system, and over the long term when you practice regularly.
You’ll see that these benefits that I’m gonna talk about, meditation is not a panacea for things like clinical depression, clinical anxiety, but it can be a helpful adjunct to those. And there is research that suggests that over the long term meditation can help to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. But like I said, we need to combine it with other forms of care, counseling, therapy support as we move through those experiences. So the lens I look through when I talk about meditation is we think about it in terms of our nervous system.
So we’ve got the sympathetic branch of the nervous system, which is our stress. It, it accesses the fight and flight response, but it’s also the branch of the nervous system that we we’re accessing When we are taking action, when we’ve got get up and go when we are moving forward. And so we need that, right?
We need that as business owners. We need that in our lives if we are bringing through a purpose into the world. And then the other branch of the nervous system that we often talk about with meditation is the parasympathetic branch. And the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system is the rest and digest branch of the nervous system.
And so this is what mindfulness-based meditation helps us to access is that parasympathetic branch. And so when you are doing meditation, you are bringing online the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, which is enabling your body to go into a rest and restore state. And if we think about the two, these two different branches of the nervous system that I’ve been talking about, Sympathetic branch.
You think of that in a car as the accelerator gets you moving, gets you speeding up, you’re going fast, and then you come to a corner and you’ve gotta slow down. So you need to put the brakes on. And that’s the parasympathetic branch in the nervous system. that slows us down. That brings us into a calmer, more relaxed state.
And so if we want to go on a long journey in our car, we need to have access to both the accelerator and the brake. Cause if we are all accelerator and no brake in our business, what is gonna happen is that we’re gonna burn out. We’re gonna come into overwhelm, we’re gonna get speed wobbles. Things are gonna get a bit messy.
So we need to be able to access both, and this is how meditation is really helpful for us. So how you get started with the meditation practice in terms of frequency, you are much better off doing a little bit every day rather than say an hour once a week. So if you can only do 10 minutes a day than do 10 minutes every day for a week, rather than saving it up and doing an hour once a week, you won’t get the same benefits.
So when you start your meditation practice,, ou wanna set aside a comfortable, quiet place to sit. And the way we teach mindfulness meditation is you’re seated in a chair. You’re not sitting on the ground cross-legged. Although if you’re really comfortable doing that, if that is what you do on a regular basis, then of course sit cross your legs if you prefer.
And I teach meditation. And from a sitting posture rather than lying down. The main reason for that is if you lie down, you are most likely gonna go to sleep. And whilst you might get some good rest, if you sleep in that way or you nap, you Jos off. You are not learning to meditate. When you’re sleeping , so recommend that you sit in a, like a kitchen chair.
You can sit in a lounge chair, but you really want your posture to be fairly upright so you can put a cushion behind your back so you’ve got a little C curve and your back. You’ve got that nice upright posture. You definitely can have some support there to help you with that.So you’re finding a quiet place.
You are organizing a chair to sit in and you wanna set aside a particular time of the day when you’re going to meditate. So you have to like consider it. You know, like, think about it. When am I gonna do this? Try out in the morning first before you start your day. One of the simplest way to step into a meditation practice is as soon as you
get up in the morning, go and sit down, do a practice.
If you’ve said to yourself, I’m gonna do a 20 minute practice, or you might prefer to start with a 10 minute practice, you will set aside that time and you will go and sit in your meditation chair. Don’t meditate in your bed because obviously our brains associate our bed with sleep.
So you’re gonna be in a more sleepy kind of state. You wanna actually. Prime your brain to know what you’re doing. So we’re gonna get clear about posture and that kind of thing. And what you’re doing with that is you are teaching your brain, when I do this, when I sit in this chair, when I sit in this room, at this time of day, we are going to meditate.
And so meditation obviously is different to dozing, to daydreaming, to even to relaxation. You are leaning into a different kind of awareness. So you’ve got your place in your room, you’ve told your family, your flatmates, whoever it is, that you’re not gonna be disturbed for that length of time, and you begin your meditation.
So ideally, you choose the same time every day because that will get you into a rhythm, although I said you need to sit up in a chair. If you suffer from chronic pain, chronic illness, or it’s very uncomfortable for you to sit in a chair, you can lie down. Of course, we can practice meditation, lying down, but just remember that you are more likely in that case to fall asleep if that’s what’s going on.
So you’ve got your comfortable place in your room. Your back is straight. You are feeling supported, not rigid, straight, but you know, fairly upright posture and you want to close your eyes. Or if you don’t like closing your eyes, if it’s difficult for you to feel settled with your eyes closed, then you can just lower your gaze.
You can lower your gaze to the floor about a foot and a half. In front of you and you just sort of pick a spot on the floor. Hopefully it’s fairly plain with not too much sort of color pattern or interest, and your eyes will rest there for the meditation, you can take a few deep breaths. Initially as you settle, your feet are flat on the floor, your hands are resting comfortably, palms down on your knees, palms up if you prefer. There’s lots of different hand postures you can use through different forms of meditation, but just really simply, honestly the best idea is to start with either palms on the thigh.
Hands are facing downwards or palms facing upwards towards the sky,and the backs of your hands are resting on your thighs, and you come into that upright posture. You adjust your neck and head, so your head’s not too far forward or leaned back, tuck the chin just a little bit and close your eyes or lower your gaze, and then you’ll move into the meditation practice itself.
And at the end of the podcast today, I’m gonna link you to two options for meditation. So you can take this podcast and then you can move straight into practicing meditation and now guided practices that I’ve recorded quite a few years ago now, and. One is a simple body scan, which is a good place to start for meditation, and the other one is a simple breathing meditation practice, which is another good place to start, and I want you to choose one of those practices.
And I’m assuming that you haven’t really tried meditation before, or you’ve just done some guided meditations on YouTube, that kind of thing, and you actually want to get into a better rhythm with meditation. If you already have a meditation practice, if you’ve already been taught how to meditate, then obviously you are not going to change what your practice is and go and do these guided meditations.
You’re gonna stick with the meditation practice that you already have. And so that’s one of the key things that I see that really trips us up now. You know, in the old days, 20, 30 years ago, we’d go to a teacher, it would be in person. We would learn a particular practice, and then we’d go home. We would practice that and only that, and then we’d check in with our teacher once a month going forward, maybe once every six months, depending on what your practice was and what form of meditation you were doing. Now what we have is this huge array of meditations that we can do from guided
visualizations. To breath work practices, and there’s so much we can choose from.
And what I see for people, what trips us up now is that we have so much to choose from that we’re not settling with one form and one practice. And that’s really what we need to be doing to be able to deepen. If you are switching around your practices a lot, like really frequently, daily, weekly, that kind of thing, you are not going to deepen in with whatever your meditation practice is because it’s in the repetition that the deepening comes.
Because you can get a, when you first begin a practice, you can get a flush. Of good feeling. Sometimes, not always. Sometimes our meditation doesn’t feel so good. We might actually feel very distracted or in pain. That’s also a normal thing to come up, especially in the early days. And so then when that happens, if we haven’t.
Being guided by a teacher will often jump around and try and choose another practice, but the key thing to do is to be, this is why it’s so good to actually have a teacher, is because your teacher is guiding you. You are reflecting with them. You are offering feedback. They’re, they’re guiding you with your practice.
They’re helping you stay the course, they’re supporting you to move through those really normal obstacles. They always come up in meditation practice, but if you don’t have that, we are gonna keep going. This is gonna be a good way to start with a meditation practice for you. Okay? So you’re gonna choose one of those two guided practices, and you’re going to set for yourself a length of time that you’re gonna stick with it.
And initially, I would invite you to select a week. or if you’re feeling wild and outrageous, choose a month yeah, and you’re gonna do the practice every day. It’s good to start just for a week though, because then you are through that goal in seven days and you can, you know, feel good about that when you get to the end of the seven days,
and then you can reset another goal for yourself.
So when you think about creating a meditation practice and you think, well, I want to practice every day for the next year, that’s a really big ask. If you haven’t meditated before, if you haven’t had a practice before. So start with those small goals and build on as you go. So mindfulness-based meditation is a particular kind of awareness that is spacious, it’s broad. You are resting in awareness itself, and you will have an anchor for your mind. So you’re gonna give your mind a job to do through the meditation. So if we take the body scan practice, you’re going to bring your awareness to the different parts of your body and move with that awareness so they’re guided.
So my voice will guide you, move through the body. With your awareness. So when you are doing that, you are giving your mind a job because our mind always wants to have something to do, right? So we give it that job. And what happens as it’s moving through the meditation itself is that things can start to slow down.
You start to come into that parasympathetic response of relax, and restore, and this is just a cause and effect. that happens when you practice meditation. So you don’t have to try and make yourself relax. You don’t have to try and make your mind be still or without thought because actually That is not what our mind is designed to do. In everyday functioning, our mind is designed to think much like our heart is designed to beat. our mind is designed to think. So if we try and stop our mind from thinking, we try and push away thoughts. We’re gonna come up with resistance. It’s gonna make the path of meditation a whole lot harder and frustrating, and you’ll probably give up before you get the longer term benefits of it.
Let the thoughts be there, but just know that you are giving your mind a job to do through the practice by listening to my voice. through the body scan and bringing your awareness to those different parts of the body. As I go through the meditation and your mind will wander, thoughts will arise. It might think about the past or the future.
It might think, oh, I’ve got far too much to do today to be sitting here. This isn’t helping. All of those thoughts can arise during meditation. Observe them. Notice them, hi, they’re there, and then bring your awareness back to noticing whatever area of the body I’m guiding you to notice during the meditation and know that this is.
How it goes. This is a normal part of meditation. Your mind’s gonna wander. You’re gonna notice that it’s off going, wandering over there down the garden path, and then you just gently bring it back. You don’t give yourself a hard time when you notice that your mind is wandered. You don’t think, oh, I’ve done this wrong.
I’ll never get this right. Or you might think that, but you don’t believe those thoughts. You just notice that your mind is wandered. and you bring it back to the practice. The practice being in this instance, awareness of the body. Yeah. So this is why it’s really helpful actually to find a teacher that you can go over these things with.
Cause there’s plenty of obstacles that come up for us as we are learning to meditate. So one of them is that our mind wanders. That’s the nature of our mind and how you navigate that as very nuanced to us as individuals and will have different ways and patterns that our mind will show up. Another thing that often shows up is that we all become sleepy very quickly. So there might be a slowing down and a sense of relaxation. And then it’s like, boom, I’m gone. Where was I? Where was I? I was asleep. And when I’m teaching to a group, there’s often people will fall asleep or start to nod off during a meditation. So that’s a really common thing that happens.
And that’s okay too. There’s ways through that. There’s ways to navigate that. And the truth is most of us are actually chronically tired, like sleep deprived. So as soon as you give your body permission to slow down and relax, it will prioritize sleep because that’s what you need. Yeah. Which is why I suggest that you do your practice in the morning rather than in the evening.
So for some of you, you’re gonna prefer to do your practice in the evening. You’re like me, if I meditate in the evening, I’m way more likely to fall asleep and it becomes a relaxation, a sleep practice, rather than a meditation practice. So, . That’s why I suggest in the morning even. So sleep could be something that’s an issue that comes up for you through your practice.
And so there’s ways that you can work with that. But to begin with just knowing, yep, this is really normal. This does happen when we. Begin meditation. Actually, when we’ve been doing meditation for years and years and years, I remember going through a phase where I was very sleepy during my meditations and because I, I started to meditate before I became sick with Crohn’s disease and I continued meditating while I
had Crohn’s disease.
So I was really tired through that phase because there was so much fatigue that went on with it. And so there was a lot of, Dipping in and out of sleep for me. And one thing I found really helpful was if I was really tired, say at the end of a practice, if I had time, I would then actually lie down and have a 10 minute nap after my meditation, and then arise from that feeling so much better.
So if you do have the space for that and you feel really tired after a meditation and you, you. , if you’ve had some stress or some fatigue. If your body’s not been well, then you can actually take that time to rest because you’ve relaxed the nervous system down. And so any rest that you’re getting after meditation is gonna be really deep.
And really healing for your body. So meditation works best when we are doing it regularly, like I said, not when we are doing it once a week or once a month, hoping for a change of state through that. It’s really designed to be our partner in life and it can be a really, really helpful partner in our business life as well.
And so I know that some people take in their problems to their meditations and they try and work through their problems during their meditations or their they might have decisions to make or issues that have come up in their business. I personally find it more beneficial if I have a problem. or an issue for my business, and I want, I want some inner guidance, some inner support.
I might think about that question, think about that problem. I might even write it down before I go into the meditation, and then I won’t think about it. So not thinking about it, but actually what’s happening is that there’s, you’re coming into that calm and relaxed response, and it’s from that place within the parasympathetic nervous system comes online that we have much more access to our intuition and our creativity.
And often what happens then Is that a solution or a perspective shift or a reframe arises after the meditation. So it’s not like you have figured it out through the meditation. That’s not the work of meditation. Actually, what happens is you are accessing your creativity and your intuition in a really natural way, and then after the meditation there’s a shift in your perspective, and that can be a really helpful
thing. The other reason I really love meditation when you’re a small business owner is because it’s stressful, right? There’s a lot going on. There’s a lot of changes happening all the time. There’s flexibility that’s required. There might be conflict with people.
There might be difficulties in communication. So if we. Facing into a lot of stress on a day-to-day basis, and we’re not finding a way to apply the brakes of the parasympathetic nervous system, then we end up consistently residing in that stress state. So that is gonna impact negatively your decision making, your communication, your vital energy, how you manage your emotions.
There’s a lot going on there, right? But if you can access meditation on a daily basis, you will find that your resilience will increase in terms of how you show up, in your business. So for me, it’s such an important piece because often, particularly with our, with the sensitive intuitive business owners, operating in our everyday world can be a bit challenging, right?
You’re facing into people that have different perspectives from you. The world moves at a different pace sometimes. We can get into overwhelm with our emotions really quickly. And so it’s the meditation practice that opens a doorway to being able to manage our emotions in a different way, which is why I really recommend meditation if you’re a business owner if you hadn’t guessed that already.
So here’s some things that often trip us up, right? We don’t set aside enough time for meditation. It requires a time commitment. If you’re short on time, do 10 minutes a day. If you have a longer time, give yourself 20 minutes a day. In the beginning. If you’re beginning to practice, you don’t need to meditate for more than 20.
Definitely not more than 30 minutes a day. Rather do it frequently than a bulk lot once a week. And the other pitfall is, We think, oh, well, I’m just too busy today. I’m going to skip it. If you are that busy in your day, then give yourself that 10 minutes to get into that resilient, clear head space at the start of your day, and then things will flow much more smoothly.
So it’s like brushing our teeth, right? We’re an adult. We brush our teeth twice a day, hopefully. It’s not a pleasurable thing to do. It’s just a thing that we do. We do it because we want to keep our teeth healthy, clean, keep our gums healthy, all of that kind of stuff. Meditation needs to be like that too.
You need to build it into your day. It’s not something you do when you have time, when you feel like a, when you haven’t got lots of other stuff on. It’s actually a necessity. That helps your nervous system to come into balance before you move into your day.
One of the other pitfalls of meditation is when we are trying to control our mind. So like I said, it’s really normal for our mind to wander, for thoughts to arise. That’s actually part of the practice in learning to notice that. And to bring your awareness then back to whatever your practice is. If it’s a body scan, if it’s a counting the breath, practice a breath awareness practice.
You notice that your mind has wandered. You might notice the patterns of your mind. It’s okay. Don’t give yourself a hard time about it. Notice it, and then just gently bring your awareness back to whatever your practice is, listening to a guided meditation. Bring your awareness back to the teacher’s voice.
Another thing we often do is expect instant results, . So it’s lovely when you do first do a meditation, and I have students in my classes where they first do a proper guided meditation and they are just like, oh my God, I feel so amazing. I just feel so relaxed and calm. My mind is really settled. and then they go home and practice at home and they just don’t get the same results.
They feel unsettled. They feel like they can’t sit down for the length of time that’s required. They feel like their mind is all over the place. They don’t enjoy it, and they then they start to think that something’s gone wrong. . The truth is nothing’s gone wrong. It’s really normal when you have a teacher guiding you in a practice in person, you’re in that same room with them, that your nervous system sort of
entrains with their theirs like a tuning fork.
Your nervous system settles and then when you get home, you don’t have that teacher here. You might have a recording or you’re doing a different kind of practice and your nervous system is just all over the place. That’s really normal, but I like to think about that first time that you practice and maybe you did have a good experience that you can go, you can think to yourself, okay.
That’s possible. I’m not gonna grasp onto that and try and replicate that and make that happen, but I know that’s possible for my brain and my nervous system. So I’m gonna keep going with my daily practice and I’m just gonna observe and see if this arises again. Cause if we try and seek that state, you know, try and replicate it, it doesn’t work.
We’ve got to give our brain the conditions. For that calm, relaxed, alert, spacious state, but we can’t force it into that. We can just offer it and do the practice and just see what arises. I think also what happens is because we’ve got so much we can choose from in our life around meditation, breath work, yoga, guided visualizations, there’s all sorts of stuff, right?
Is that, that becomes overwhelming. and we get that shiny object syndrome going on and we jump around with different practices and that just doesn’t give us an opportunity to deepen. So even if you say, gave yourself one month, and notice what your stress levels were like at the start of that month, notice how your sleep was. Notice the patterns of your mind and practice every day for one month. And then notice your stress levels. How you approach your emotions, the patterns of your mind, what your sleep is like, but you have to stick with that same practice for a length of time.
And then the other thing that can happen is that we just give up and we go, oh no, this is too hard. I’m not getting the results that I want. I don’t really know if I’m doing it right. That’s where it’s really helpful to have a teacher, to have a group around you that is doing the same kind of practice.
There is online groups, there are in-person groups in your community that you can join for little to no cost sometimes, but often it’s just a donation. And having those people around you that are practicing as well in a similar way is really helpful for keeping us on the path. So if you were gonna do anything to support your self-care this year, and you don’t practice meditation on a regular basis, I would so encourage you to begin a meditation practice.
Give yourself a length of time that you are going to really go for it with your meditation. You know, I’m not the kind of person when I get up in the morning, I’m doing all the yoga and the journaling and the gratitude, and the really long meditation. I’ll do something quick, short, and then I’ll get on and get into the doing because meditation is there to support you in your life.
To live your life with more joy, more resilience, more awareness. It’s not meant to be all of these reflective practices. We often use them as a distraction or a bypassing for what’s really going on because sometimes, you know, when we feel like we are a bit nervous about doing something or we’re holding ourself back, or our mind isn’t in the right place, then we can get into this thing where we are doing like an hour and a
half of self-care and journaling and gratitude and working on my mind and all that kind of stuff. Do you know the faster way to get through it? Do your 10 or your 20 minute meditation and then get in and do that hard shit. Get it done because then your brain looks back and goes, oh, I survived that.
I did that and I survived. And then you do it again and you do it again. And so I see this with us, us folks that are more intuitive, more sensitive, more on that emotional side of perceiving the world is that we can get often get caught into really trying to fix ourselves to make ourselves come to this place where we’re like, yes, I can do this with peace and equanimity.
I can do this hard thing. Well, not always actually. What we need to be doing is just getting in there and doing it, feeling those shitty feelings anyway, getting it done and showing our brain, this is what happens when I do things, when I’m a bit scared, when I’m a bit hesitant, I survive and you survive.
But meditation’s role as the small business owner is that we are using it as a regular part of our day. , we’re not using it to try and make ourselves feel perfect emotionally before we go and do that hard stuff. No, we are connecting and we’re slowing down. We are knowing that we are building resilience, that we’ve got some nervous system hygiene going on on a regular basis, and then we’re going in and doing that hard stuff.
We are feeling those feelings. As difficult as it is, that’s a sign that we are growing outside of our comfort zone, that we’re in the growth zone and we keep going. And I also firmly believe that meditation has a really important role to play for you as a small business owner because we spend so much time overworking and overthinking that if we can teach our brain to more easily access, calm, and relaxed response.
Then it can more easily step into creativity and intuition. And then you’ve got that partnership of the two of your logical reasoning mind and your creative intuitive self, and they come together and you create some magic out in the world. You bring your purpose out into the world with more speed, with more capacity to help more people and without burning yourself out.
So, so important. Hey, I hope you’ve enjoyed the podcast. Oh, so you need to go to my website. meegancare.co.nz, and there’s a tab for meditations and there’s a whole bunch of guided meditations there. And if you are new to meditation and you want to start, the meditation that you’re looking for is the simple body scan.
It’s about 14 minutes. Or look for the simple breathing meditation. Choose one of those. And give yourself a little bit of a meditation challenge. For seven days, I’m gonna do this meditation, the simple body scan every morning for seven days. That’s it.
Start there. I hope you love it as much as I do, meditation has been such a partner for me in my life. Through the ups and downs, through the horribleness and the amazingness of life. Meditation has always been there supporting me, helping me to be more of myself and bring more of myself out into the world.
And I wish that for you too. Have an amazing day, my friends. I’ll speak to you real soon.