Meditation and mindfulness and how it might help you

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Original post by Versus Arthritis

It’s important to be kind to your mind and your body, to help strike a balance especially during self-isolation and shielding.

Studies have shown that meditation can be used to help provide coping strategies, reduce anxiety and enable you to learn more about how your mind works.

When you’re in pain, getting ‘comfortable’ to relax your mind may feel challenging. Here’s some advice and tips to give you a positive toolkit of meditation and mindfulness techniques.

We’re all different and finding what feels right and works for you is important. It might be that you choose yoga as your preferred meditative exercise or you find that practicing breathing exercises every morning helps.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a meditative technique that involves reconnecting to our bodies and focusing on our thoughts in a non-judgemental way. It can be something you do for a few minutes (or longer), in a place that’s comfortable for you.

Some people find the practice helpful as it can relax the mind and with regular practice it can change thinking patterns to encourage physical and emotional wellbeing.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend mindfulness as a preventative practice for people with recurring experience of anxiety and depression.

“We often don’t realise that our minds are constantly chattering, which can be stressful. What will I make for tea? How am I going to manage in 10 years’ time? You have to bring yourself back to the here and now – push negative thoughts away. Stress intensifies pain, but being mindful means, I am less stressed, so the pain is more manageable.” 


Read more about complementary therapies and which ones might be right for you.

What are the benefits of meditation and mindfulness?

Studies have documented a variety of benefits from practising regular meditation and mindfulness. By taking the time to look after ourselves, we can take a pause, recognise how we feel, understand how our minds work and experiment with activities to help boost our wellbeing.

These can vary from yoga, tai chi or using a guided meditation app such as Headspace or Calm.

Read more from the NHS about the benefits of mindfulness.

“I use a combination of methods to help manage my pain. I use mindfulness, stretching exercises, walking, arthritis gloves, a TENS machine, analgesic gels as well as painkillers. I try to go walking and cycling as much as possible and having a mainly positive attitude has helped me get through.”


Read Ken’s story – living with arthritis on lockdown.

Tuning into your thoughts and being aware how you feel can be beneficial to you and to others living with arthritis.

“Being able to link up with other young people has completely changed the way I feel about my condition. I used to feel very alone. I hope that this (Arthritis Tracker) app helps other young people to become part of a community who are here to support each other.” 


Our Arthritis Tracker app for young people is helping those affected to track their symptoms such as pain, fatigue and emotional wellbeing. Read more about the app.

Find what works for you

There are many different techniques you can try if you’re new to mindfulness and meditation.

For Sharon, noticing the small joys in everyday and keeping a gratitude diary has helped her.

“The biggest change for me is I feel more positive as I’m making these changes. The size is irrelevant, it’s the changes that matter. These little changes have already added up to a bigger change in how I’m feeling about my life as a whole. I’ll continue to commit to these changes, even if I miss some weeks. It just feels like a proactive way of managing my life with arthritis now and in the future.” 


How to get started

Here are our tips to help you get started with meditation and mindfulness:

  • Find a place to practice which is comfortable for you. This can be inside your home, in the garden or during a break in your working day. For your meditation, you can choose whether to be seated, standing or walking.
  • Choose a regular time that works for you, whether that’s first thing in the morning or before you go to sleep.
  • Set aside an amount of time that feels right.
  • Experiment and find what you enjoy. If 10-minute sessions listening to relaxing music gives you the boost you need or if you prefer a weekly yoga session, that’s all ok.
  • If you meditate and your mind gets distracted, that’s ok too. If this happens, simply let the thoughts come and go. Be kind to yourself and find what works for you.

If you need further support

Versus Arthritis are here to hep you

If you’re feeling isolated from family and friends during these uncertain times, we’re here for you.

  • If you would like to talk to someone, you can call our free helpline on 0800 5200 520 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm)
  • Chat to COVA, our COVID-19 Virtual Assistant, using the purple icon in the bottom right corner of this page.
  • Join our online community
  • Stay in touch and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.


For more information on Mental Health Awareness Week:

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This week (18-22 May) is Mental Health Awareness Week (#MHAW), which promotes good mental health for all and raises awareness of mental health problems. Tina Chummun, Apprenticeship Delivery Coach for Seetec Outsource is also a practising psychotherapist and urges everyone to take extra care to nurture their mental health during the coronavirus lockdown.

Around a quarter of people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. “Mental health has no boundaries, it affects everybody, we all have anxieties and stresses during our lives,” explains Tina Chummun.

Tina joined Seetec Outsource as an Apprenticeship Delivery Coach (ADC) in February and is currently working with over 40 learners on PR and Communications programmes.

She urges all employees to take the time and responsibility to look after their emotional health, especially during the current uncertain situation. She explains: “I use the analogy of taking care of your garden. In the same way as you would nourish and look after your garden, clear out the weeds and continually maintain it, is exactly how you have to regularly take care of your mental health.”

Tina practises as a qualified person-centred psychotherapist, counselling people who have suffered severe traumas, including domestic violence and sexual abuse. She has recently been accepted onto a part-time Psychotherapy Doctorate programme at Metanoia Institute, where she will be conducting professional research relating to mental health at work.

She uses her psychotherapy skills when communicating with apprentices who are experiencing any mental health issues, providing extra guidance to help them to cope with their anxieties. Currently this includes reassuring learners as they adapt to their new home-based routines and online work environments.

“As a person-centred psychotherapist, I need to understand my client’s perspective and provide an emotionally safe environment for them. As an ADC, it helps me to establish rapport with apprentices and colleagues, to understand where they are coming from and how to respond to them.”

Tina is currently working, remotely, with Government Communications Service learners in different government departments.

Two of her apprentices, Hugh Lamkin and Poppy Tavender, have set-up ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ virtual coffee mornings for their team as part of a programme of themed days set up to help bring the team together and provide space for discussion around the personal and professional impact of the current social distancing measures.

Hugh explained: “When we were told to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic. I was immediately worried about my own mental health and the mental health of others.

“I proposed we set up a virtual coffee morning where people could have a chat and check in with each other to keep spirits up and replicate our usual team interaction. We think it is positive for more junior members of the team to run the sessions as it makes them less imposing.

“With Poppy’s positive mindset, we have evolved the idea to a well organised weekly session themed around a ‘quarantine question’ with activities and guest speakers. The questions prompt natural conversation and are a way to give each other tips on how to cope during a very weird time in our lives.”

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Tina is their guest speaker at this week’s Wellbeing Wednesday session, discussing how to deal with anxiety and depression during lockdown. Her advice ranges from deep breathing when feeling anxious to meditation, regular journaling and getting outside for long walks.

She concluded: “Mental health at work is becoming increasingly important, with one in six people in England reporting that they experience a problem such as anxiety or depression in any given week. The key is to look after yourself and to know how to work on your emotional self. We are social beings and there is support available to everyone, you don’t have to do this on your own.”

For more information on Mental Health Awareness Week: