At our Edith Road hostel, residents are having a first taste of meditation with the support of Will Williams Meditation. But what is meditation and how can it help our mental health and wellbeing? Here, our client, Lennox (on the left) and meditation teacher Jess (second from the left) talk about the benefits and how enjoyable it can be.
The constant demands of modern life cause a part of our brain, the almond shaped amygdala, to trigger the ‘flight or fight’ response on a regular, and often, irrational basis.
As a result, we start to experience a racing heartbeat, quicker breathing, aggression and anxiety, and non-survival functions like digestion and our immune system are compromised.
Many of our mental functions such as rationality, empathy, love and compassion are replaced by fear and hostility. We end up losing energy, and becoming irritated or frustrated by minor things.
By getting ourselves into a much calmer and more peaceful state, the brain can work off the excessive stress it picks up. As a result, this ‘almond’ part of our brain can start to calm down and meditators find themselves feeling much more composed and much less reactive to life’s stresses.
You’ll feel calmer, happier and more productive. Your thinking becomes clearer and self-destructive patterns start dissolving. It is extremely liberating and empowering, not to mention enjoyable.
“I have practised meditation before a few times in prison, but haven’t done since being out. I felt calm when meditating and also less agitated.
I am hoping to learn how to manage my stress levels effectively. Meditation could help me as I snap every now and then to be honest, and I spit my dummy out.
I feel it would keep me calm, and make me more relaxed.”
Jess, Meditation Teacher
“It was an absolute pleasure teaching the staff and clients on the course at St Mungos – what a fabulous group of people.
The group came with such open minds, looking for something that would help relieve their anxiety, stress and emotions and bring them more relaxation and a quieter mind.
On each day of the course they reported back how they were feeling. It was clear from the very beginning that they were experiencing the benefits of the practice, feeling considerably clearer and visibly calmer.
A few weeks in they are meditating regularly and experiencing some great benefits.
I’m really looking forward to seeing their progress during my next visit. We’ll have a group meditation and answer any of their questions.
I know they are really going to get a huge amount from their new found skill and we’re delighted that St Mungo’s provided the opportunity for us to come in and teach.”