Mindfulness had such a transformative effect on businessman Gary Young’s life that it propelled him to help others realise the same.
Gary now heads up The Mindful Enterprise community interest company in Edinburgh which delivers seminars, training, events, and retreats across four different sectors of society, including disadvantaged communities.
“I credit mindfulness for having a transformative effect on my life, helping me to contribute more fully to society and those closest to me,” says Gary, who founded The Mindful Enterprise in 2018.
“I’ve become more self-aware, more patient, more emotionally balanced, less reactive, kinder, and more compassionate with myself and others.
“It also played a big role in helping me overcome a dark period of depression and adrenal fatigue.
“Mindfulness is a philosophy which, through regular practise, can help us develop a more sustainable form of happiness. Culturally, we need it right now to help us evolve and protect the planet’s future.
“Career-wise, I spent 23 years in the fast-paced world of financial services, including a 12-year stint in strategic change management working on large, complex change within the banking sector.
“I learned a huge amount, met some great people and had a reasonable level of success, but ultimately I wasn’t fulfilled.
“Yet the experience has been invaluable in helping me to understand the important part mindfulness can play in the evolution of workplace culture (if implemented effectively) and helping businesses to address key challenges relating to the health, wellbeing and performance potential of their people.
“Over the last seven years, I have benefited from many forms of holistic healing and wellbeing modalities that have helped me to become more aware of my values and deeper passions – even harking back to my childhood.
“My father’s serious, recurring, mental health issues made me realise how his experiences affected everyone concerned, especially without the right knowledge, skills and support.
“The desire to help others and make sure they are better equipped for life is at the core of what The Mindful Enterprise does. Building resilience and empowering and inspiring people is the foundation of the business, but it stretches far beyond.
“We are living in a time of extremes. Change is happening at a phenomenal rate, systems are failing and need to be replaced, and stress-related ill health is at epidemic levels.
“Many people have fallen into the societal trap of endless striving, thinking and ’doing’, blissfully unaware of the addictive patterns forming in the brain, which can lead people on a path to fatigue, exhaustion and unhappiness. Action addiction, coupled with a neglect of adequate self-care, is now widespread.
“Advances in technology have brought about high levels of convenience, but they have also brought a number of challenges, particularly for young people growing up in a technology-driven world.
“Overuse of technology is linked to the increase in mental health related issues amongst young people, many of whom are now heavily connected to technology and less connected to themselves and the natural environment.
“Here at The Mindful Enterprise, we believe passionately that mindfulness can help young people and adults develop a greater level of connection with self and others and, by doing so, become more peaceful and emotionally balanced.
“For businesses we provide a range of options. Our tailored seminars, workshops and courses empower employees with the insight and tools to help them better manage their health, wellbeing and performance.
“The added incentive for businesses to work with us is that they will be directly contributing to our social mission to improve the mental health and wellbeing of school children and those in disadvantaged communities.
“Our young people are the future workforce, so if we collectively invest in them today to strengthen social and emotional competencies, they will be more likely to flourish in a fast-changing modern world.
“For individual consumers, we run mindfulness courses from central Edinburgh, day and weekend retreats, drop-in sessions and taster events. Over the months ahead we’re looking to expand into other locations across the central belt.
“Our weekend retreats based in the Scottish Borders provide an opportunity for participants to disconnect from city life and reinvigorate mind and body surrounded by the peace and tranquillity of the Scottish countryside.
“Our work in schools currently consists of two pilot projects; one to introduce and embed a culture of mindfulness in Abbeyhill Primary School and the second a more ambitious project to create a community of mindfulness across the Tynecastle High School cluster of schools.
“Our ethos for our work in the education sector is to take a ‘whole school’ approach where we provide awareness sessions and training for children, teachers and parents to drive sustainability.
“Our aim is to evaluate our work, gather learning’s and create a template that can be rolled out successfully across other schools. The results we’ve seen so far have been encouraging which is giving us extra motivation to continue with this important work.
“By planting the seed of mindfulness, and providing practical tools we can help children to succeed and thrive for a lifetime, inside the classroom and out.
“Our work in the community has so far consisted of training social workers and family support workers in mindfulness to support their health and wellbeing and equip them with skills that they can use to support vulnerable families.
“The next phase of our work will focus on groups of individuals from the community that are keen to be supported with their wellbeing and personal growth. We’ll be working on this programme with some of our fantastic partners to support participants in their journey towards good health, wellness and personal transformation.
“At The Mindful Enterprise we believe that all people have equal intrinsic value, and with the right support we can help each other achieve great things.”