You’ve probably heard of meditation and mindfulness, but did you know they aren’t the same thing? Payal Khurana, Find Mindfulness creator and co-founder of startup incubator, Starter Space, sat down with GuestBox to explain her approach to mindfulness and its benefits to business travelers and vacationers alike—including the breath meditation exercise in each GuestBox that’s designed to carry guests through their travels and beyond.
After earning a BS in Computer Engineering from the University of Florida, Payal spent eight years in healthcare IT while living across the U.S. Her discomfort with the corporate world led her back to Florida and to a new career as a business owner. GuestBox is delighted to include a mindfulness card in each box from this amazing brand partner!
GUESTBOX: Payal, what inspired you to start Find Mindfulness?
PAYAL: Four years ago I started Starter Space, which is a co-working space, and is also our intention to help young startups. And so what inspired me to start Find Mindfulness was that working with young college students, and founders from all age groups—I was noticing that they lacked presence and often times, a sense of focus, and it was something that I realized that I had due to studying mindfulness and meditation for many, many years.
GUESTBOX: Since starting Starter Space, has your mindfulness perspective changed at all now that you’re dealing with a lot more high-stress people on a day-to-day basis at Starter Space?
PAYAL: The reason why I am so passionate about it is because I see how much it benefits me. I have a business partner, but I think a lot of single founders tend to feel a lot of loneliness and depression and anxiety. And how do you deal with those emotions? Because generally, our society says, “Pop a pill.” And you push that down. But nobody teaches us how to deal with those not-so-positive [emotions]. That’s how they’re branded—as not-good emotions. But sadness can be helpful. Anxiety can be helpful. Stress can be helpful. But nobody’s teaching us how to deal with those emotions.
And mindfulness allows us to pay attention to what’s actually happening rather than what we want to have happen.
GUESTBOX: When we created the Find Mindfulness and GuestBox partnership, we thought of the business traveler and the stress around travel—which is why when guests open GuestBox, aside from healthy and clean snacks, skin care items and toiletries, they have this wonderful mindfulness tool at their fingertips. What is the best way for travelers to use this tool—and mindfulness in general—both inside and outside the GuestBox experience?
PAYAL: The guided meditation included in [each] GuestBox is a breath meditation. And I think the biggest benefit is, most airplanes don’t have Wi-Fi, right? Being able to take the meditation that’s been given, maybe practice it a couple of times on your own, and then get on the plane—now you don’t have any distractions, and you have your breath.
I think [business] travelers and people that take vacations struggle a lot once they get to where they’re going to forget or to not allow the stress of where they came from to affect where they’re at.
So I imagine, as a business traveler, as a corporate executive, being able to get on the plane and use your breath and use the tools that you learn from the guided meditation to be present: "Where am I now? And where am I going? And how do I get present and not allow myself to be distracted from where I just came from?”
GUESTBOX: What is the biggest piece of advice that you can give over social media to college students, and people in general?
PAYAL: We’re attached to what college we’re going to get into. “What grades am I getting? And what job am I going to get? And oh, if I don’t get that job, then I’m going to feel like this, and if that doesn’t happen .”
If we don’t let go of our attachment to outcomes, then how can we actually work on ourselves and work in the present moment and allow ourselves to see what’s actually happening for us?
Letting go of attachment to outcomes is really learning, “Why do I want this thing, and what am I aiming to gain from it?” And the same thing with a small business owner.
GUESTBOX: So when it comes to a traveler, or let’s say somebody who’s had a bad day traveling, how do you see your product helping them the most?
PAYAL: I look at this product [as] being extremely beneficial, and it’s literally ten or fifteen minutes. If you can take ten minutes in the morning on your very first day, you [can] open your GuestBox and [find that] everything in that box is a gift.
Someone that comes in, opens their GuestBox, does the meditation, is given this meal. And now they’ve centered themselves, they have their attention, they eat their meal, they’re able to taste the flavors, enjoy, look around the space, and say, “Holy moly, where am I? I’m in this space.”
I look at this gift as actually giving the person the opportunity to truly experience their vacation, their business trip, or whatever they’re doing.
GUESTBOX: How would you describe the culture of your company?
PAYAL: Well, again, I like to infuse mindfulness into the culture of my company. So with every meeting, we do something that’s called the check-in. That allows people to check in and be authentic with where they’re at because somebody could come into the meeting not being in such a great place. So I would say I aim to be as mindful as possible. And we’re extremely flexible. We try to have fun and remember always that we’re here to create an impact.
Find Mindfulness meditation card included in each GuestBox.