If you’re like most people, you spin a lot of plates on a daily basis, often skipping the present moment to get to the next item on your agenda. You hop in and out of the shower to get to work instead of being in the shower. You push through the traffic jam instead of being in the traffic jam. You multitask to get everything done in the office before calling it a day instead of being present with each task. You rush through dinner to watch TV instead of being present with your meal and loved ones.

The Importance Of Mindfulness

When your mind uses you, you become trapped in misery and self-defeat without realizing it, which often leads to a shrinkage in your well-being and workplace performance. Thanks to neuroscience we know that regular mindfulness practices offer a big payoff to career success. You become more in charge of your mind instead of letting it control you. And mindfulness practices enhance your well-being, sharpen job your performance and productivity and aid in the cultivation of professional relationships. There’s always time for a few minutes of micro self-care and mindfulness to reduce job stress and refresh your mind without getting up from your workstation. And Meditative Story is a new and innovative way to do that.

What Is Meditative Story?

Meditative Story is a completely new kind of listening experience that blends intimate first-person stories with mindfulness prompts, enveloped in beautiful music composition. Meditative Story is a WaitWhat original series — created by the team who built and led TED’s media organization — in close partnership with Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global. The series is made possible with generous support from Salesforce. I caught up with the founders of Meditative Story, Arianna Huffington, CEO of Thrive Global, and Deron Triff, cofounder of WaitWhat, to talk about this innovative new way of practicing mindfulness right at your work desk.

Bryan Robinson: Arianna, what is Meditative Story?

Arianna Huffington: Meditative Story is a response to a deep cultural need in our hyper sped up world to have a moment to recharge. The podcast is a tool-set for wellness combining intimate storytelling, that we’re all hardwired to respond to, plus moments of reflection. You don’t just listen, but you have a moment of slowing down and stillness, connecting with yourself and recharging. We see people using Meditative Story to reset during or after a busy, stressful day so that stress doesn’t become cumulative, and we approach it through the power of storytelling.

Robinson: I listened to your personal story in one of the podcasts, Arianna, and it was beautiful. Is this the kind of thing people can listen to during a work break at their desks?

Huffington: Absolutely. You can listen in any office that has an Ipod through headphones at your desk, on your cellphone during a commute to and from work or on a walk during a lunch break. I’ve listened to them before I go to sleep. It’s a great bedtime story to unwind after a long, hard workday when you’re exhausted. The people you hear from in Meditative Story are all sharing how someone impacted their lives. In so doing, they create a story to which anybody listening can respond. Through the transformational combination of storytelling and mindfulness, it makes you think of the people who impacted you in your own life. That’s why we’re so excited to partner with Deron and June and the WaitWhat team to bring something new to life in the podcast arena.

Deron Triff: In collaboration with Thrive Global, we have created something that doesn’t exist right now. There’s nothing out there like this that has exquisite storytelling. June and I have learned the power of storytelling over our combined seventeen years at TED. Because it’s such an intimate medium, people listen more. So we wanted to blend the storytelling experience with the tools and strategies of mindfulness and wellness.

Robinson: So how did this idea get hatched?

Triff: Our first call went to Arianna and her team, and we embarked on this venture together. June and I, coming out of TED, are big believers in storytelling and storytelling as a vehicle to transform people’s lives. And we’re meditators and realized this was an opportunity for you to be present in the world with the storyteller.

Robinson: What are the people who’ve listened to Meditative Story saying about it?

Triff: We tested it with about 150 people. Listeners say it’s as if they inhabit the world of the storyteller. Because of the vivid narratives we use, they feel pulled into that world and that allows them to let go of all the stresses that surround them. They are there. They come out of the experience feeling deeply restored and rested. We often hear the word, “floating” to describe their experience.

Huffington: It’s a new and emerging sensory experience, and music is a big part of it. It’s not about entertainment. It’s about empowerment, deeply restoring and renewing yourself, and it’s exactly what our culture needs. You’re never going to eliminate stress from your daily life. You need these chill moments in your day. You’re not always going to have a chill day, but you can have a chill moment, and we see Meditative Story as creating that moment for everybody who listens. Then you go back to your day without allowing stress to become cumulative because that’s when all the problems start. By the time you get home, you’re exhausted. You can’t wind down. You can’t sleep, and you can’t fully recharge. Meditative Story is a scientific approach to restoring that prevents stress from becoming cumulative and transforms the way you go back into your day.

Robinson: Who is this designed for?

Huffington: Whether you’re a newcomer to meditation or a seasoned meditator, Meditative Story can bring you into the restorative experience. It’s for anyone who wants to unwind in a totally different way. The only skill you need is to be able to listen.

Robinson: Thank you both for spending some time sharing your thoughts about Meditative Story.

A Personal Note

I listened to several episodes of Meditative Story. Each story was so vivid that I was pulled into it, as if I were actually there. I forgot about everything else and found that the narrative sharpened my awareness, seduced my imagination and opened the window to my own memories. As you listen to the story, it unearths a parallel story in your own life that has deep personal meaning and brings you peace of mind and a sense of well-being.

A Final Word

Subscribe for free to Meditative Story on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. You will receive a new Meditative Story every week from a storyteller who will transport you to the time and place where everything changed for them — a story that may be deeply relatable to your own life. The narrator offers prompts to calm your mind and help you connect with your own observations. The entire experience is elevated by gorgeous music. Shifting between music and vibration, the exquisite sound design rides above the narrative, bringing each Meditative Story to life and giving you the headspace to feel restored and refreshed. Another innovation included in Meditative Story is the micro-steps—small actions you can take right away to start change from the inside out in your daily life.


  • Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.

    Journalist, psychotherapist, and Author of 40 books.

    Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.

    Bryan Robinson, Ph.D. is a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, psychotherapist in private practice, and award-winning author of two novels and 40 nonfiction books that have been translated into 15 languages. His latest books are CHAINED TO THE DESK IN A HYBRID WORLD: A GUIDE TO WORK-LIFE BALANCE (New York University Press, 2023)#CHILL: TURN OFF YOUR JOB AND TURN ON YOUR LIFE (William Morrow, 2019), DAILY WRITING RESILIENCE: 365 MEDITATIONS & INSPIRATIONS FOR WRITERS (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2018). He is a regular contributor to Forbes.com, Psychology Today, and Thrive Global. He has appeared on 20/20, Good Morning America, The CBS Early Show, ABC's World News Tonight, NPR’s Marketplace, NBC Nightly News and he hosted the PBS documentary "Overdoing It: How To Slow Down And Take Care Of Yourself." website: https://bryanrobinsonphd.com.