Richard Williams our in-house Chief Wellness Officer shares his tool kit on Mindfulness and Meditation

I have lived for many years with two simple but invaluable mantras. One is ‘embrace chaos’, the other ‘surrender & release’. As you may well know, when you are caught in a rip you do not swim against the tide.

So how do we cope? What tools do we have to navigate this new life-landscape? It’s time to surrender ourselves to chaos and release all of the stress and baggage that comes along with it.

First, let’s take a big deep breath and learn about breath work. Many people don’t know how to breath, it’s too easy for us to get caught up in busy lives and forget how. We inhale into our chest and want to hold our stomach in, this can lead to digestive problems, tense muscles, neck and shoulder issues. Shallow breathing also prevents our system from reaching its optimal health causing increased blood pressure and heart rate, affecting the innervation of our nervous and cellular systems.

Mindfulness and meditation is a wonderful tool. You don’t have to necessarily sit in a certain posture to enjoy the benefits of meditation, simply be still, sit relaxed and enjoy the moment. A busy brain is normal but we can still our mind, try following these simple steps:

· Begin by sitting somewhere quiet

· Light a candle if you can and play some relaxing music.

· Breath in deeply through your nose, into your lower abdomen and feel your belly inflate, hold and gently exhale out the mouth - try to forget about work, family demands or any to-do lists

· Start with only 10mins - even if it’s once a week.

Once you get the hang of it you can start to meditate for longer. If you want to do silent meditation this can be more challenging for beginners and I always recommend to begin with breath work to decompress and release. Using a mantra helps, this doesn’t need to verbalised and can be a tool to separate yourself from your busy thoughts. The mantra can be anything that works for you for example affirmations: ‘I am loved’, ‘I am happy’, ‘I am open to love’, ‘I am open to communication’. Or it could be ‘Om’ or ‘Bless’ or a word that you aspire to having more of ‘joy’ ‘love’ ‘abundance’. Find whatever feels best for you and silently repeat your mantra using this as the vehicle to quell the fire of the mind. It may not always come easy, but it works!

It's proven that mindfulness can be effective for helping people to manage diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure, hypertension and gastrointestinal problems. It’s also effective for managing chronic pain and can even help to strengthen the immune system.

Give yourself permission to relax, receive calm, be open to a better you.