“Exhaustion is commonplace for entrepreneurs – I certainly experienced it as I ran my business – and mindfulness assists with that problem. It doesn’t replace the need for sleep, but it alleviates the stress and resulting exhaustion.”p. 173, “From Doctor to Patient”
Five years ago, before his cancer diagnosis, author Dr. Diva Nagula appeared to have it all. Driven by competition and a fear of failure, Dr. Nagula was a board-certified physician with two successful medical practices. However, as an entrepreneur, Dr. Nagula was living in a constant state of stress. He prioritized growing his business over his own health – constantly trying to get to the next patient, the next procedure, the next business advancement. There was no time for health eating, exercise, or even socializing. If you’re an entrepreneur like Dr. Nagula, you may even think this is the way people are supposed to live. That’s what Dr. Nagula thought.
Newsflash: It’s not.
From a business standpoint, having a clear and healthy mind will help you make better decisions for your business. One research study showed that entrepreneurs that practice mindfulness regularly or slept more exhibited less exhaustion (Murnieks et al., 2019), which is a common issue among entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, practicing self-care will allow you to be happier and more relaxed, and help your relationships with others, as well. In general, mindfulness decreases stress, anxiety, and depression, and improves focus, memory, and emotional reactivity. Read on for three mindfulness practices that Dr. Nagula recommends for entrepreneurs:
- Guided meditation apps. Guided meditation apps are a timely and convenient way to practice mindfulness when you need it, with the help of a guide. You can have a quick meditation session on your smartphone in between meetings, or to turn your brain off after a long day. Dr. Nagula’s personal favorite meditation app is Headspace, an app with free guided meditation sessions as well as an option for additional paid sessions.
- Massage therapy. Massage therapy provides both physical and mental relief. Massage therapy may also improve depression and mood disorders (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 2019). To get full benefit of massage therapy, one massage a year is not enough. Consider scheduling monthly or even weekly massages, if your budget allows. If you don’t like the idea of getting a professional massage, self-massage tools (such as a foam roller or handheld roller massage) are also a good, financially viable option.
- Yoga. Yoga uses breathing techniques, body movement, and meditation to encourage health and relaxation. Morning yoga has been proven to improve memory, focus, and cognitive functioning throughout the day – all very important abilities for entrepreneurs to be successful in business and life. Dr. Nagula practices Kundalini yoga, although there are many other varieties of yoga to explore.
For more tips on relaxation and mindfulness for entrepreneurs, check out Dr. Nagula’s new book “From Doctor to Patient.” You can purchase the book on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Doctor-Patient-Healing-Cancer-through-ebook/dp/B081PG4P87. Both Kindle and paperback versions are available.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. (2019). About Mind-Body Therapies. Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/diagnosis-treatment/symptom-management/integrative-medicine/mind-body.
Murnieks, C. Y., Arthurs, J. D., Cardon, M. S., Farah, N., Stornelli, J., & Haynie, J. M. (2019). Close your eyes or open your mind: Effects of sleep and mindfulness exercises on entrepreneurs exhaustion. Journal of Business Venturing. doi: 10.1016/j.jbusvent.2018.12.004