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World Mental Health Day: Benefits of Meditation

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        World Mental Health Day: Benefits of Meditation

        Date

        10th October 2022

        By

        Sian Negal

        Business Manager

        Back to insights

        World Mental Health Day: Benefits of Meditation

        This World Mental Health Day, we wanted to talk about meditation.

        Meditation has been scientifically proven to support positive mental wellbeing, to lessen the effects of stress, manage symptoms of depression and even help keep depression at bay.

        In addition to benefitting mental wellbeing, meditation can also positively affect your physical health.  Science has shown that being in the relaxed state of being that meditation lulls us into, our body can repair itself and in fact reverse illness and disease.

        You don’t need to be of any particular religion or have spiritual beliefs to be able to meditate.  Whoever you are, whatever your background, meditation is inclusive for all to practice.

        Meditation is the practice of quieting the mind and ‘just being’ in this moment.  We do this so that we are able to check out of the chatter of life for a few moments so that we can be by ourselves and give ourselves a break from all that thinking.  Instead, we check in with our feelings, notice what’s happening for us right now, remind ourselves to relax, to breathe.

        When we are settled in this way, a wide range of physiological changes happen to the brain and body.  Then we feel calm and peaceful.  In the space we have created, are able to gain insight/creativity.

        Here are just some of the benefits meditation can bring.

        Meditation can help you to;

        • Reduce stress
        • Calm anxiety and worry
        • Aid sleep
        • Feel great
        • Be more focussed
        • Improve memory and concentration
        • Improve performance in the workplace
        • Become more resilient
        • Be empathetic towards yourself and others
        • Replace feelings of hopelessness with strength and self-worth
        • Improve heart health, reduce blood pressure/cholesterol
        • Reduce the reliance on junk food, drugs, alcohol to feel good

        Meditation can be done for as little of 5 minutes and there are a range of different styles you can do, its not just about sitting in silence!

        There are two major styles of meditation:

        • Focused-attention meditation. This style concentrates attention on a single object, thought, sound, or visualisation. It emphasises ridding your mind of distractions. Meditation may focus on breathing, a mantra, or calming sound.
        • Open-monitoring meditation. This style encourages broadened awareness of all aspects of your environment, train of thought, and sense of self. It may include becoming aware of suppressed thoughts, feelings, or impulses.

        Then there is Mindfulness – which is a mix of both

        • Focusing your attention and whilst doing so, observing your thoughts, feeling, surroundings, environment. E.g digging the garden, eating! Whatever it is you are doing, the key is to being present.

        If you feel inspired and want to know more, here are some recommendations of some excellent books on the topic of meditation.

        • Mindfulness, a Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World – Mark Williams and Danny Penman.
        • Peace in Every Step – Thich Nhat Hanh
        • How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body – David R Hamilton PhD
        • Real Change – Sharon Salzberg

        Perhaps you like an App?  There are the apps such as Calm, Insight Timer, Head Space which are a great way to start.  You will soon find confidence in being able to sit in your own sacred space, without the need for guidance.

        Need some inspiration on meditation music?

        Check out Spotify and Soundcloud.  Both have some great playlists suitable for meditation.

        Spotify in particular has some great Playlists of varying styles such as instrumental or nature based.

        I like ‘Fresh morning’ and ‘Meditate to the Sounds of Nature’ in particular.

        Top tip – Look out for playlists that are for healing, spa, or binaural beats as these will be aimed at relaxation.  Have fun experimenting and finding your favourite styles.

        Regardless of which style of meditation you follow or how long you sit for, with regular practice, you too are able to harness the powerful effects of meditation.  To really start to benefit you need to practice regularly – think of it like a gym membership, you need to attend regularly and participate in the exercises to start seeing gains!

        Take some time for you today for a few moments, to be by yourself without distraction and check in with how you are feeling, on World Mental Health Day.  Honour your own mental wellbeing.

        If you need support, Mind offers access to multiple channels to help you create resilient mental health.

         

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