Why I started meditation sessions in my workplace- and why you should too.
About a year ago I decided to set up Mindful Mondays, a 10-minute meditation session held at KPMG Birmingham every Monday morning.
Having recently been relaunched, I thought I would share why I decided to set this up at KPMG and why after reading this, you should take action and do this in your workplace or organisation too.
Why did I do it?
At a meeting between KPMG Diversity and Inclusion Network leaders in the Midlands, one of the main topics was about the types of events that could be held to support KPMG’s Be Mindful network.
It got me thinking, we do a lot of talks and events when it comes to reducing the stigma of mental health, and these have of course been effective. But what other things can we do?
Initiatives by companies to promote healthy lifestyles have become well established over the years. For example, it’s becoming increasingly common that we see gyms being built into large office blocks to promote physical fitness or gym membership being offered to employees as a benefit.
But where is the gym that keeps us mentally fit? Where is the gym membership for the mind? What can we do to improve people’s mental health and improve resilience? The idea that came to mind was painfully simple.
Meditation is scientifically proven to improve our mental health, in terms of stress and anxiety but also in terms of improving focus, creativity and overall happiness.
At the time I was a bit of a haphazard meditator, I tended to use the app Headspace every now and again when I needed to relax. But I had read the benefits of continued practice, not only on improving resilience but on improved focus, creativity, and relationships with others.
Now you might be reading this being skeptical of meditation and the benefits of it. The science is there but there is something about sitting and doing nothing for 10 minutes doesn’t quite seem to add up. And don’t worry, I was too!
So I decided that I was going to use Mindful Mondays to not only give others the chance to try meditation but so that I could develop my own practice too and prove that it works.
And it worked.
Having done meditation for 10 minutes almost every day over the past 10 months I can tell you that the benefits are there and they are real.
So how did it go down?
I counted more than 40 people turning up to the first Mindful Mondays session, to the point there were people having to sit on the floor and on tables!
People seemed to really open up to the idea, and after that first session, it led to a really powerful change in the way meditation and mental health was talked about in the office.
Turn out weekly varies, but the beauty of this is that it doesn’t matter how many people turn up, what matters is that the facility is there for everyone to try and to use.
Why should you do this?
I am going to share with you 3 reasons why after reading this you should get this set up in your workplace or organisation.
1. Book out a room or find a quiet space
2. Send out a diary invite to employees to go to this space for 10 minutes at the chosen time.
3. Download the free 10 days of Headspace or play a meditation track from YouTube.
It really can be as simple as that. It doesn’t even take much time to set up, and responsibility can be shared amongst other employees to keep them running.
2. No Cost
Very few things come free in the world, but with this, I can say so long as you have a place and a time where your employees can be undisturbed for 10 minutes, you can do this for no cost.
3. Social Impact
The most rewarding thing about setting this up in your organisation for the first time is the impact it has on the stigma of mental health.
Putting aside the benefits of meditation, it got people talking in the workplace about mental health. It gave people a real sense that they weren’t the only ones who wanted to disengage from the unhelpful mental chatter that so many of us experience every day.
I also found that people actually did meditation already in their own time, but had never shared it with anyone out of fear of being judged. They felt more inclined to develop a consistent practice, now that their work environment actively encouraged it.
So if you think this is something your organisation needs, I urge you to try this for yourself! The benefits of meditation are worth it for you and your organisation, you just need to take action and get started.