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Being mindful of your mental health

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John McGale

John McGale

Governance Services

To mark International Men's Day this week, three of our people take a moment to talk openly about mental health and the importance of looking after ourselves and each other.

In our second short story, John McGale, Managing Director of Mourant Governance Services in Hong Kong, describes how meditation can be an effective way to manage life's stresses and support mental wellbeing.

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18 November 2020

International Men's Day - a day to acknowledge the men in our lives, celebrate the positive role models who make a difference to those around them, but also an excellent time for men to focus on their own wellbeing - both physical and mental.

The physical side is comparatively straightforward – go to the doctor, run some tests, find out what's damaged or at risk and remember to keep active.

The mental health side - and how this can affect your physical health - is a bit trickier to assess and manage, but it's just as important and certainly possible if you're willing to take the time and explore.

In the past, I would try to manage stress by unwinding over a 'few drinks' on the weekend, as well as exercising, planning workloads, talking with friends and family etc. More recently, thanks to my wife convincing me at the start of 2019, I added meditation to the fight against anxiety - defined as what happens when the stress continues after the stressor has gone - and I haven't looked back.

Meditating was tough at first, but when you get into the swing of it, and get a routine happening, I've found that you can really lighten the load and put things into perspective with just 20-30 minutes of quiet time, a few times a week.

The emotional benefits of mediation include:

  • • Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
  • • Building skills to manage your stress
  • • Increasing self-awareness
  • • Focusing on the present
  • • Reducing negative emotions
  • • Increasing imagination and creativity
  • • Increasing patience and tolerance.

I'd really encourage people to be open minded about meditation as an effective way to manage the daily stresses that life throws at us. So if you're interested, find a beginner's class online and find out if it's for you.