With all the pressures that come with being an entrepreneur, how do you manage your stress when the going gets tough? One option available to you is mindfulness. In this KBB segment, I had the pleasure of learning more about the benefits of mindfulness with Vice Abbot and Director of International Affairs, Rev. Takafumi Kawakami of Shunkoin Temple, located in Kyoto, Japan.
“The basic definition of mindfulness is a form of non-religious meditation supported by neuroscience and psychology”, Takafumi says. You can find mindfulness being utilized in areas such as wellness programs of major companies such as Google. In the education sector, it can be found in public schools in the United Kingdom and San Francisco USA. Mindfulness is also being utilized in the medical field in areas such as depression, pain management, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
One immediate benefit of mindfulness is that it is good for relaxation and to keep calm, even with just 5 minutes of practice. “With collaboration with neuroscience, we can learn how things work. With physical impact on the brain we have learned that if you change the brain, you can change behavior”, Takafumi points out. This phenomenon is called “neuroplasticity”, which is connected to enhancing the emotional intelligences of attention, outlook, self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and social management.
The main difference between mindfulness and meditation is that meditation is associated with religion and mindfulness is more scientific, but is a part of meditation. Takafumi explains that, “according to Buddhism, meditation is to be mindful, be present, and experience without any judgment.”
Empathy, stress reduction and better productivity are more examples of the benefits of mindfulness for entrepreneurs. It is not only about money and fame, entrepreneurs can help society through more empathy. Stress reduction improves empathy, rationality, and improves productivity especially in the afternoon between 2pm and 4pm where decision fatigue impacts performance. “You are able to notice the people around you and improve interpersonal relationships with co-workers and clients,” Takafumi added.
Takafumi suggests looking into the United Nations world happiness report and Robert Waldinger’s TED talk on interpersonal relationships where the main message is that “if you are happy, you do better”. This is reflected in work done by a Harvard University professor who states, “happiness helps you be successful, but success does not promise you happiness.”
There is no inappropriate time to practice mindfulness making sure you are in a safe environment to do so. Takafumi explains, “Any time is ok, but think about the time, place, and occasion. It is also not necessary to practice at a certain moment and at a certain time.”
Further information on mindfulness
- Visit Shunkoin temple
- Attend Wisdom 2.0 in San Francisco USA, which is held in end of February every year
- Attend ISCS (international symposium of contemplative studies), which is held every other year
A huge thank you goes to Rev. Takafumi Kawakami of Shunkoin Temple for his time and sharing his experiences with us. For more information about Rev. Takafumi Kawakami of Shunkoin Temple, please check out the links.
Rev. Takafumi Kawakami’s TEDxKyoto talk, How mindfulness can help you live in the present
Rev. Takafumi Kawakami’s book, Zen for business elites (available in Japanese)
Rev. Takafumi Kawakami’s mindfulness app MYALO (available on iTunes)
Thank you for joining us on Kansai Business Break and we look forward to connecting with you again during our next segment.