Seaham dad launches online meditations to help people's mental health in lockdown
Anth Gray, 46, managed to turn his life around 13 years ago through a stay at rehab and discovering meditation which paved the way for a more balanced approach to life.
Now, as many people struggle with the knock-on effects of lockdown, the dad-of-two has launched a guided meditations service which people can take part in at home.
Raising Hope Meditations, named after Anth’s 12-year-old daughter Hope, are one-on-one guided meditations done via Zoom which are aimed at helping people take control of an overthinking mind, reducing stress and anxiety.
During the last lockdown Anth took an online teaching course to equip him with the skills to help others meditate, something he does daily in his own life.
"With the pandemic, meditation really helps us to process what’s going on, it all begins and ends with the mind,” he said. “People’s minds are so full of fear and anxiety at the minute and the one-on-one sessions mean I can tailor the sessions to what that particular person needs or is struggling with.”
Ideally, Anth, who also works as a driver with Oak Tyres, would like to set up a studio in Seaham but is holding the sessions online for the time being, and he says he’s had a great response so far.
"Everyone who’s done the one-on-ones has loved it. Some people have struggled for years with anxiety and they say this has really helped them,” he said.
Anth says meditation was key to improving his own life.
He said: “I struggled all my life with anxiety and depression. I took loads of drugs and my life was a mess for years, to the point I had to go to rehab 13 years ago. Meditation, however, gave me the peace and calm my mind needed. A lot of people turn to drugs and alcohol to escape, but you can’t escape your mind.”
Anth says a lot of men in particular struggle to confront mental health struggles, but that speaking to someone who’s faced the same issues can help.
He said: “A lot of people have misconceptions about meditation, but I’m just a normal lad, you don’t have to be some kind of spiritual guru. I want to make it more accessible for people and to show them how amazing it can be for you.
"Men often find it difficult to talk about their issues and I’ve lost friends through suicide because their minds struggled to process things. Meditation helps you to come from a still, calm place and to live your life through that, instead of through our minds.
"In the future I’d love to lead sessions in rehab centres and schools so that it’s seen as a normal thing, part of the curriculum.”
A 45-minute one-on-one guided meditation is £15 for 45 minutes. Search “Raising Hope Meditations” on Facebook or follow Anth on Instagram @11anth_gray11. Anth will also be hosting live meditations on his Instagram page.