According to The Mental Health Foundation, 74 per cent of UK adults were so stressed at some point over the past year that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
And with April’s Stress Awareness Month in full flow, Kerry Hopkins, of ActionCOACH Black Country, said mindfulness could help to reduce stress.
“When I mention mindfulness, I don’t mean meditating for 30 minutes everyday,” the 35-year-old said.
“I mean becoming more aware of what might trigger our stress, spending more time on the activities that give us energy and make us feel good, letting go of the things that we know we can’t change and living in the moment to appreciate what we have now.”
She said that not only does it help cope with stress but mindfulness can also increase awareness, improve focus and ultimately performance and improve our overall wellbeing.
“Mindfulness is in large about awareness - awareness of yourself and of others," Kerry said.
"Mindfulness techniques can help us to increase our ability to be aware and with that our ability to make a choice in how we act and respond in stressful situations.
“You might be wondering how that relates to business and work, but with increased awareness we are more likely to take ownership, accountability and responsibility, which will lead to better actions being taken. We are also less likely to make excuses and act in denial about things that might not have gone as planned, and see them more as learning experiences.”
In August last year, the Office for National Statistics revealed that around one in five adults experienced either moderate or severe depressive symptoms in June 2020 – which was almost double the level recorded before the pandemic.
“As humans we tend to act on auto-pilot for a large majority of our time – we are doing things without thinking about them,” she added.
“Well the pandemic has completely shifted that and turned everything on its head.
“Take your morning routine as an example, or the way we operate meetings, or even the way we operate our businesses - it’s all changed and that has been very stressful to navigate.
“Mindfulness can help us to slow down and take note of those things we do on an autopilot and perhaps question whether they are the right things to be doing in the first place.
“When we are busy, we rarely stop and think. If you can take yourself out of autopilot and look at things objectively with less emotion, decision making will be different and you will see different results.”
Kerry said that business owners have had no choice but to adapt and respond during the past year but she explains now is the perfect time to take a step back and think about what to do next.
“Doing something the same way all the time will ultimately lead to the same results so if we can see things differently, we can make different decisions and achieve different results," Kerry added.
ActionCOACH Black Country, which works with businesses across the Black Country and Shropshire, was recently awarded UK Firm of the Year, Best Client Results and UK Coach of the Year for its managing director Andy Hemming in the national ActionCOACH UK awards.