Practicing Mindfulness

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Health Assured team

18 April 2024

In the UK, 1-in-6 working-age adults suffer from symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, or stress.

Mental health problems are often debilitating and seriously impact every aspect of an individual’s life – personal and professional. It’s important that if you are struggling with these issues, you find techniques to help you cope with and overcome them.

Mindfulness can be an effective tool to achieve this, improving health and wellbeing as well as boosting workplace performance. This article will describe the meaning of mindfulness: what it is, and how it can help you.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing your attention on the current moment and grounding yourself in the present. It can be a powerful technique to help calm your mind and understand your emotions.

Being mindful can benefit numerous mental health conditions, helping reduce stress, burnout, and social anxiety. Like self-reflection, mindfulness practises allow you to take a step back, away from the stress and worries of everyday life – helping you understand why you feel the way you do.

Mindfulness involves focusing on your environment as well as relaxing, meditating, or concentrating on sounds and thoughts. These exercises can be as short as 60 seconds or as long as an hour. During this time, you can become more aware of yourself and your surroundings.

Mental health and mindfulness

Mindfulness practices can help with managing conditions such as stress and anxiety. The techniques associated with mindfulness can also minimise worries about uncontrollable factors – so you can focus more on your health and wellbeing.

While mindfulness practices can be beneficial, the benefits vary from person to person. It’s important to note that while mindfulness can help reduce the symptoms of various mental health conditions, it may not have the same beneficial effect on everyone. You should try a variety of mindfulness techniques and see what works best for you.

What are the benefits of mindfulness in the workplace?

There is a wide array of benefits associated with mindfulness. These practices can help you relax your body and clear your mind – enabling you to make decisions without being influenced by negative thoughts or emotions. Here are some common benefits of practising mindfulness:

  • Minimise stress and anxiety
  • Improve problem-solving abilities
  • Appreciate moments as they happen
  • Cope with difficult or unhelpful thoughts
  • Increase empathy and emotional intelligence

How can you practice mindfulness?

There are many ways to bring the mind into the present. Below you will find two mindfulness exercises to help you take a moment and ground yourself in the present:

Breathing techniques: It might sound too simple, but breathing exercises are one of the easiest and simplest ways to refocus your mind and reduce stress and anxiety. There are hundreds of breathing exercises available, but here are some examples to get you started:

Equal breathing: Find a comfortable position, and inhale slowly through the nose for a count of four seconds. Hold for four. Then exhale for four. Repeat.

Abdominal breathing: Sit and place one hand on your chest and another on your belly. Breathe deeply through your nose, concentrating on your diaphragm. Exhale slowly and repeat.

Muscle relaxation: While concentrating on keeping your breath slow and regular, focus on tensing and relaxing muscle groups for a few seconds each. Feel the tension melt away.

Relaxing breath: Place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth and exhale fully. Inhale through your nose for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven, and exhale – very slowly – for a count of eight.

Mindful body scan: Instead of focusing on the breath, mindful body scans focus on sensations within the body.

By directing your attention to how each part of your body feels, you can better manage pain, stress and anxiety as well as improve sleep, self-awareness, and self-compassion. Follow our easy steps to mindful body scans below.

  • Find a comfortable position and close your eyes.
  • Focus on how your body feels and feel the weight of yourself on the floor or the chair.
  • Start by taking a few deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  • Starting from the top of your head, slowly move your attention through your body. Stop at each body part and notice how it feels, whether it is tense, relaxed, tingling, or painful. You should pay attention to each sensation and note it. If there is no sensation at all – notice how that feels.
  • Your attention will wander, but when it does, bring it back to the body part you were on and continue to your toes.

Support your employees with an EAP

With a Health Assured Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), we can offer you practical advice and support when it comes to dealing with workplace stress and anxiety issues.

Our EAP service provides guidance and supports your employees with their mental health in the workplace and at home. We can help you create a safe, productive workspace that supports all.

We support your employees' mental wellbeing with any problems they might be facing in their professional or personal lives with our 24-hour counselling helpline.


Find out more about EAPs


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