Try to think of the non-material things you need more of in life. The things that make you feel better but don’t cost anything.
If you put some time and thought into this daydream, chances are you’d probably have ‘silence’ and ‘laughter’ somewhere in your list.
Corporate meditation provider, Mr Meditate, will be delivering 30 minute ‘silence and laughter’ sessions in Melbourne throughout Australian Mental Health Week (see end of this article for how to join in).
Uplifting employees’ spirits in Mental Health Week
“The busy-ness and pressure of work are not helping our mental health,” says Tomas Jajesnica, founder of Mr Meditate. “But it may not be the work itself that is the problem; it could be the way we cope with our work.
“We can blame external factors, like work, but it starts with us. Luckily employers aware of these problems and willing to help – if they have a tool. This week we are giving them one for free.
“We have facilitated over 1000 corporate meditations, so Mental Health week is a great chance for us to give something back by uplifting people’s spirits at work and encouraging employees and employers to start a regular practice that has proven results.”
How is laughter the best medicine?
Laughter needs little explanation: fun and joy are expressed through laughter – it’s a sign we are enjoying life and feeling happy, even if only for a few hours or even minutes.
If you are still sceptical, mountains of research shows that laughter can boost the body’s immune system, reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression and even works as a natural painkiller by increasing our tolerance to pain.
It also dissolves anger too – just think of the Mark Twain quote: “against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.” It’s even prescribed as a solution to marital problems, as part of relationship therapy.
The benefits of silence and meditation
Silence is trickier because it can be confronting: feelings of sadness, loneliness and even fear might arise for some of us when we cannot hear much. But most of us would admit silence can feel rejuvenating and that’s because it is good for us.
Silence isn’t well understood, though 2006 research demonstrated that two minute silent pauses showed positive physiological effects that outweighed the positive effects of relaxing music. Other research, in 2013, has also showed silence promoted brain development in baby mice – which is under further investigation to see if the benefits could be of use to people suffering from dementia and depression. It’s also been found to help the brain organise, process and integrate various types of information, both internal and external.
Silence, or at least quiet, is also an essential component in mindfulness meditation, which has been proven to help with anxiety and depression, improve memory, concentration and sleep patterns and make us calmer.
Reducing conflict and sharing ideas
Author and science journalist Daniel Goleman recently wrote that executive teams are benefiting in many ways from mindfulness meditation: “Since instituting a morning group mindfulness session … the team gets along better, reacting less strongly to minor conflicts.
“This means they can also share information and ideas more fluently —and, at the end of the day, make more effective strategic decisions because they are able to calmly debate their differing points of view.”
Furthermore research shows loud noises are bad for our health. There are correlations between high blood pressure and constant noise.
Noise can also automatically trigger the release of stress hormone cortisol and consistently high levels of cortisol have been associated with poor sleep, weight gain, a poor immune system, gastrointestinal issues and even a low libido.
So the case is clear – the clichés are true: silence is golden and laughter is the best medicine.
To book a FREE Silence & Laughter session this week at your workplace (during Australian Mental Health Week, until Saturday, October 14), click here. Conditions: just provide a room with enough chairs for participants. Free to the first 10 organisations who book.
If you want to participate in Mr Meditate’s 30 minute lunchtime Silence & Laughter session on Friday, October 13 (in Australian Mental Health week), at Hub Melbourne on 696 Bourke Street, you can register here.
Alternatively you can reach Mr Meditate via the website.
Written by: Peter Vincent.