Meditation: how I went from cynic to champion in one weekend

Today is World Meditation Day; a day to mark the importance of finding ways to combat the stresses of day to day life and learn to unwind, clear the mind and promote good mental health.

By complete coincidence and thanks to a wonderful Christmas gift from Sam and Bellie, Freddie and I took part in our first meditation course this weekend. I’ll be honest, both Freddie and I were a little sceptical about the whole thing, but having seen friends have such amazing responses to taking up regular meditation, we were determined to have an open mind.

We were pleasantly surprised. The course focused on teaching a mantra-based meditation, with the intent of carrying it out for 20 minutes, two times a day. At the beginning, the idea of finding 20 minutes to myself, twice a day, with two three-year-olds running around, seemed near impossible – I already struggle to fit in exercise, read or write in my diary… let alone everything else I want to fit into a day. But I was assured that if I committed to it, meditation would actually give me more time in the day due to being more productive and needing less sleep.

Perhaps it’s just serendipitous, but since returning from the course, I have jumped out of bed at 6am and blitzed through my to do list.

Holly Branson_ meditation_ will_w_meditation

It’s too soon to tell if meditation really is the reason for this shift, but I’m confident it’s having a positive effect on my mental health and outlook – in fact all my colleagues at Big Change have taken part in the same course and are finding the results incredible

In an effort to inspire others to try meditation and make it a more accessible activity during office hours, we’re introducing a meditation, sleep and stretch room in the London Virgin office. 

I’m going to try and maintain the recommended 20 minutes of meditation, twice a day – without punishing myself if I slip slightly – and see what the longer term effects are. According to our trainers, you need to keep it up for four months to feel the full effect, so I’ll let you know how I get on.

I’d love to hear your tips on meditation and how it’s helped improve your stress levels, mental health and happiness. And if you’re yet to try meditating, this year’s World Meditation Day will see people from all around the world gather together to take part in group meditation sessions – take a look and get involved, it’s definitely worth giving a go.

…and breathe…


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