Use meditation to get focused, reduce stress, control anxiety, improve sleep, and more.
It’s no secret that having a proper work-life balance is important in any type of organization but it’s particularly important for startups, given the pressures to scale fast.
I made that mistake in my previous startups by giving them much of my free time and frequently neglected my physical health, mental well being, and quality time with family & friends. I also felt I could have had clearer focus and less anger and anxiety to make things run smoother. Worst of all, I missed out on much of my kids’ lives — they were half my height or less when I started my second startup…fast forward 10 years of my startup…they had become taller than me.
I wish I had incorporated meditation in my daily routine, to have a more balanced lifestyle.
Even as little as five to ten minutes a day can do wonders. According to an article by Healthline titled 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation, meditation helps you reduce stress, control anxiety, promote emotional health, improves sleep, can decrease blood pressure, and more.
You don’t have to look far to to find famous people who swear by meditation, including Bill Gates, Marc Benioff, Jeff Weiner, Russell Simmons, Hugh Jackman, Oprah, LeBron, Jerry Seinfled, Tim Ferris, Tony Robbins, Arianna Huffington…the former Steve Jobs, Kobe Bryant…the list is endless.
If anecdotal evidence isn’t enough, here are some hard numbers:
- According to the CDC, the “use of meditation increased more than threefold from 4.1% in 2012 to 14.2% in 2017.”
- According to IBISWorld, the “Alternative Healthcare Providers Industry in the US” (including meditation), is $18bn.
- According to Grand View Research, the “global complementary and alternative medicine market size is projected to reach USD 296.3 billion by 2027.”
Meditation has started to creep into the workplace too. According to a Forbes article titled Why More Startups Are Saying Goodbye To Foosball Tables And Hello To Meditation Rooms, “Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff had meditation rooms built on every floor at his company’s San Francisco headquarters. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey regularly embarks on extended silent retreats. Oprah Winfrey encourages her staff to meditate twice a day.”
This explains why companies like Calm and Headspace are selling to corporations.
While Calm and Headspace have impressive products and fundraising, I found a much simpler solution that I instantly fell in love with. It’s an app called Oak Meditation by Big Sky Health.
Let’s take a closer look.
- Company: Big Sky Health.
- App: Oak Meditation.
- Headquarters: Big Sky, Montana (virtual company).
- Founded: 2018.
- Features: Meditation and breathing
- Audience: Anyone looking to have a better emotional well being.
- Pros: Simple, no login required, effective, inspiring, motivating, free, and integrates with Apple Health app.
- Cons: Currently only available for iOS.
One of the immediate things I liked about Oak is its simplicity and lack of requirement for a login. The only thing holding you back from enjoying a zen life through meditation is downloading the app. As soon as you download it, you can begin using it instantly with no signups.
The Oak app starts at its HOME screen and only has two other screens, COURSES and GROWTH, both accessible via its bottom navigation bar.
I started out with its two guided meditation options, Mindful and Loving Kindness. According to Wikipedia, “Guided meditation is a process by which one or more participants meditate in response to the guidance provided by a trained practitioner or teacher, either in person or via a written text, sound recording, video, or audiovisual media comprising music or verbal instruction, or a combination of both.”
I used guided meditation a couple of times but have been using the “Unguided” option ever since and love it. I’m currently only meditating around 10 minutes daily, before my day starts but I’ve also tried to incorporate some breathing exercises once or twice a day.
I currently only use their Meditate option but I have tried the Breathe and Sleep options a couple of times and plan to begin incorporating them in my daily life (e.g. a few minutes of breathing exercises in the middle of the day or in bed before sleeping).
As mentioned earlier, Oak’s other screens include COURSES and GROWTH.
At the time of this post, COURSES only had one free course titled “10 Days of Mantra Meditation” with each day’s session about 15-20 minutes in length. I suspect Courses will be part of Big Sky’s revenue model in the long run.
The GROWTH screen is interesting and useful. It shows your personal growth as well as aggregate metrics from Oak’s user community.
If the benefits of meditation aren’t enough, the badge at the top of the GROWTH screen and the stats, can be motivating and encouraging to keep up the meditation.
Oak Meditation is just one app among many. Here are a few others you may wish to check out:
I’ve been trying to get started with meditation for years. It wasn’t till I discovered Oak Meditation that I actually started meditating daily. I absolutely love its simplicity, effectiveness, and no requirement for login.
I highly recommend this app.