With Mental Health Awareness Week in May, our CEO Sandi Wassmer reflects on the importance of mindfulness in maintaining her own wellbeing, and how it can play a vital role in the wellbeing of workforces everywhere.
"With the challenges that life has thrown at us over the past year, the one thing that has kept me balanced, centered and in good mental health has been my daily meditation practice. So, when I joined enei back in November, I decided to introduce a weekly mindfulness session for all staff and we are certainly seeing the benefits.
As we are human beings, not human doings, the opportunity to just be, to sit quietly in meditation, to bring our awareness fully into the present moment and let whatever transpires to unfold, is proving to be invaluable to those who participate.
In meditation, as your body settles, your mind becomes calm and your heart opens, and you begin to notice changes in your inner world, in how you relate to yourself and how what's going on in your inner world impacts on how you relate to other people and the world at large. You become freer, more open, more compassionate, more peaceful and more engaged with the world, as you cultivate and maintain a sense of balance and equanimity that leads to real, sustainable happiness.
Although you can experience some of these benefits after one session, meditation is referred to as a practice for good reason. In the same way that your physical fitness needs to be maintained through diet, lifestyle and exercise, your mental, emotional and psychological wellbeing can be maintained by your meditation practice.
As your life and the world around you is constantly changing, meditation offers you the space to be fully present with change in a way not possible in daily life. It allows you to look at what you're holding onto that does not serve you and let it go. With so much information coming into your awareness throughout any given day, it's perfectly natural to hold onto things for consideration later and you may indeed need to do something about them, but you'll also find that you accumulate a lot of unnecessary stuff that you need to let go of when you shine the light of awareness onto it. If not, these things tend to crystallise, forming fixed beliefs, views, opinions and judgements, which are the forerunners of stress and anxiety.
The overarching ease and openness that meditation brings can manifest in any aspect of your life. Some people notice that they don't tense up as much physically in stressful situations. Others observe that they judge themselves less when they've made a mistake. Many people notice changes in their relationships. They find they have more empathy, are less quick to blame. Others find that they feel less frustration when things don't go their way or they don't get hurt as easily when someone is unpleasant to them. These shifts either in your inner world or in the way you relate to the world around you bring about a greater sense of ease in both your meditation practice and your daily life that will continue to develop.
What we’ve also discovered in practising together is that people from different teams get to know each other in a different way than they would otherwise through this shared experience, which has manifested in people feeling safe being vulnerable, and more openhearted, kinder and compassionate to others throughout the working day. With everyone finding it challenging to maintain happy and harmonious teams when working remotely, I am so heartened by how impactful our meditation practice has been for both staff wellbeing and our culture.
There are plenty of ways of introducing mindfulness into organisations— from weekly guided sessions to streaming services and apps, or simply introducing one or two minute mindful moments at the beginning of a meeting. It’s a great way of bringing people together with purpose, to support staff wellbeing and to remind us all that we are all just human beings, trying to deal with everything that life throws at us, and that we are certainly better together."
- Sandi Wassmer, CEO, Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion
For more information on mental health within the workplace, why not join our wide range of events for our Members and non-Members throughout the year here.