I was going to write a blog about why I think daily meditation is the best New Year’s Resolution you could choose. But instead, I’m going to let Silvio tell his story of how he came to start practicing mindfulness with me this time two years ago, and what the effects have been.
Two years ago I was experiencing a significant amount of stress and anxiety due to some family issues, particularly my dad’s health. It was made worse by the fact that it was a distance relationship, as he was in Italy and I was in London.
The stress had an impact at work, on my relationships and on my health.
I wasn’t able to work well with my team. I run a small business in the events and catering industry and the team spirit is really important. I also found that I had become less creative, less productive and less able to focus on the figures and accounts.
The business was underperforming. We weren’t engaging well with our current clients and we were failing to win new ones. Relationships within the team were becoming quite difficult.
On top of that, the anxiety meant I wasn’t sleeping well and I was suffering from heart palpitations.
I knew I had to do something about the stress. I was thinking of having therapy and someone had also recommended meditation, particularly mindfulness meditation.
On the first Monday in January 2014 I heard Andy was running a mindfulness session at the Hub Islington, where I work. I ‘d seen him around for a while and I trusted him, so I thought I’d give it a go.
I immediately felt better after the one hour session so I realised this was something I needed to do regularly. I started going to Andy’s group every week and practicing at home as well, first for ten minutes per day, then fifteen and then twenty.
Over time, my life got better. I started to feel more relaxed and improve my relationships with my partner and my family. I performed better at work, listened more to my colleagues, engaged more with my clients and found new ones.
In the year up to starting to meditate, business grew 10%. In the year following it grew 35% and we’re on course to do that again this year.
The business improved because I was feeling better in myself. Any business is made up of people, and if they’re feeling better, their performance is bound to improve.
Although sport also has benefits for your mental health through exercising your body, what I like about meditation is that you’re working with the mind directly.
I am now feeling calmer, more cheerful and more creative. I’ve become much more accepting of my colleague’s having different views to my own, especially my business partner, which I wasn’t doing well before.
I’ve also become a lot more accepting of my dad’s health. He’s changed dramatically since he became ill and I’ve learnt to accept a new father. I’m now able to enjoy being with him without wanting him to be something different.
Before meditation I was always trying to see people how I wanted them to be, and if they weren’t like that I would have got frustrated and stressed. I’m now much better at accepting people as they are.
Before I wasn’t good at asking for help, nor was I likely to give it. Now if I need support I’ll ask for it and I also give it much more naturally and effectively.
I’m very grateful to Andy’s Mindful Monday’s at the Hub Islington and I would recommend meditation to everyone!
Sivlio’s business is called Italian Supper Club, and it offers bespoke catering and events.
You’re welcome to join Mindful Monday any week. 12.30 – 13.30 in the Impact Hub Islington.