Following the long-standing trend of applying mindfulness wherever stress arises, Inside Higher Ed suggests that entrepreneurs look to mindfulness to help relieve stress and cut back on burnout. As noted in the the short podcast:
Mindfulness can ultimately help entrepreneurs better understand and be aware of their own thought processes – a concept called metacognition. In addition to ethical decision making, heightened awareness of opportunities, and decreased burnout, we expect that future research will reveal more benefits to entrepreneurs and others through mindfulness.
Rohan Gunatillake, creator of the Buddhify app, shares his story as an entrepreneur here. As an academic myself, I can attest to the value of mindfulness in dealing with deadlines, heavy topics, and occasional bickering brilliant folks. And as an entrepreneur of sorts (founding Mindful Montana and now Sila Mindfulness, along with co-founding Guideful) I am grateful for the tools mindfulness has offered.
But beyond the stress-relief, which is great, mindfulness has helped me question the purpose of my work at deep levels and has, at times, led me to pull back a bit so I could devote time to community, creative endeavors, family, and activism. That, I think, is the metacognition discussed here: the ability to step back from thoughts (I've gotta do this, then this, then this....) and ask, "do I really?"
"Can I just relax for a minute?"
"Are there more important things I could be doing instead?"
"How much of this I've gotta talk is from me, and how much is societal or coming from family?"
I'm happy to say that the questions have not all been answered, either. They continue, in all that I do. More often they are in the background as I work on blog articles like this, writing for Buddhistdoor Global, recording videos for Guideful, and thinking about ways to pay upcoming bills...
But as someone who has suffered crippling anxiety and panic attacks, this new(ish) ability to see the stress and maneuver with it, around it, beneath it, and so on has been truly life-saving.
Entrepreneurs should look to mindfulness to help deal with the stressors of their start-ups. In today's Academic Minute, the University of La Verne's Louise Kelly details how focusing on the present moment can help keep things in perspective. Kelly is a professor of management at La Verne.
Listen in full below: