Running 11-17 May, the focus of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is Mindfulness.
Work related stress already costs Britain 10.4 million working days per year, with the human costs of unmanaged work related stress extending far beyond this.
A survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that when working long hours, 27% of employees feel depressed, 34% feel anxious and 58% feel irritable. This is of particular concern, as 13% of the UK’s working population now works 49 hours or more each week.
A key way to protect your mental health against the potential detrimental effects of work related stress is to ensure you have a healthy work-life balance.
Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment, without getting stuck in the past or worrying about the future. It can be practiced anytime, anywhere: standing, sitting, walking, at work, at home, while eating or on your commute.
Contrary to popular belief, mindfulness isn’t about emptying your mind of thoughts and ‘zoning out’. It can mean different things to different people. At the heart of it, mindfulness helps people observe the way they think and feel about their experiences, whether good or bad. This can really change the way you manage and react to stressful situations, giving you a valuable tool to stay mentally healthy, and an ever-expanding body of evidence shows that it really works.