I wish someone had told me about time spent meditating

“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by​ Gianluca.​

Life is busy. Life is exciting. Life is stressful. Life is always on-the-go. I don’t know about you, but at times it feels like the clock is ticking and my mind is running a marathon while my body still thinks it’s at the start… or vice versa.

There is nothing worse than that confusing feeling of a lack of synergy between body and mind. If anything, this year has taught me how to better strike a balance – to work hard, play hard and find a better way to ensure I can match this beat and routine constantly. With the festive season in full force, I thought it would be a good time to share a useful tool I picked up and have blended into my life: the art of meditating for a bit each day.

Tim Ferriss, in his epic book titled Tools of Titans, says, “Meditation allows me to step back and gain a ‘witness perspective’ (as with psychedelics), so that I’m observing my thoughts instead of being tumbled by them. I can step out of the washing machine and calmly look inside it.”

It doesn’t take much. With 10-20 minutes a day, a quiet space, headphones and your phone, you have everything you need to hit that refresh button and put yourself in the right perspective and understanding to keep pushing on and making magic.

My tips for a successful meditation:

  • Location – find your space, somewhere where no one can disturb you, preferably quiet and relaxing. I have two: If I meditate in the morning, it’s the corner section of my couch that overlooks my garden. If I choose the evening, it’s just before my run or gym at the Country Club of Johannesburg where I have a little spot overlooking the majestic 17th hole of the Woodmead Golf Course – wildlife, scenery and quietness
  • Breathing – I find slow inhales and exhales are the best way to set the tone for the session
  • Follow it through – If you are like me and can’t sit still for 10 seconds, this can be a challenge. How do I overcome this hurdle? Think of the reward, which results in a refreshed feeling and temporary disconnect from the world
  • Use an app – my good friend Marek van Wyk recommended a very cool app for meditating. It’s called Headspace – and it’s free! It’s become my essential tool, together with my Plantronics Backbeat Go 3s. Plug in and let the app guide you
  • Lastly, at the end of each session I always find it useful to think of something that happened in the day that I’m thankful for, or a lesson I learn’t – be it from something I failed at and can improve on, or perhaps a quote I heard someone say. Be sure to write it down – whatever it is.

Happy meditating into 2018 and have a magic festive season!