We’ve heard so much about how meditation can help you be happier and calm the mental gymnastics in your head, but how do you actually meditate? Here are 5 simple steps for starting and building your meditation practice:

1. R.P.M. (Rise – Pee - Meditate).

Don’t wait until you’ve checked your email or brushed your teeth – you might never get to it. To build a practice, meditate first thing in the morning. As soon as you wake, pee, then sit up straight, pull on the covers, close your eyes and meditate.

2. One-minute to Zen

Set your timer for 1 minute. Yep, that’s right. Just 1 minute of quiet time for you to gently observe your thoughts and check in with your feelings and emotions. You don’t need to quiet all of your thoughts or become a Zen Master in 60 seconds.

Over time, build up the duration. Eventually 15 or 20 minutes of settling in the gap between you and your thoughts will be a breeze! Remember meditation is a practice, not a destination, so drop your attachment to the duration or the outcome.

3. Observe and Just Breathe

Gently observe your thoughts and breathe deeply. Close your eyes and take five to ten deep, smooth breaths inhaling and exhaling for a count of 5-6 seconds each. Allow each exhale to create space between you and your feelings, emotions, thoughts and sensations. You should begin to feel a little lighter after just 30 seconds of mindful, deep breathing. Whenever you get off track, or lost in your thoughts, feelings or emotions, know that you always have the power to return to the present moment, at any time, simply by returning to your breath.

4. Be Gentle with Yourself

Meditation allows you to gently observe your thoughts, emotions and sensations without judgment, so you can gracefully move with the flow of life. There is no such thing as good or bad meditation. This practice is simply your way of checking-in to observe your energy level and help you become more mindful during the rest of your day.

5. Practice Daily

Practicing meditation at least once every day helps you know your mind, allows you to fully live each moment, and enables you to be more present and mindful in everything you do. When you live with awareness, in the present moment, you can let go of the story, the criticism and the judgments of your mind. You can experience yourself and others fully. You can listen to the truth, respond with compassion, and be free from fear and judgment.

The consistent practice of meditation is a habit that will help you be more calm, centered, focused and joyful, at any time, and in any circumstance. You can do it when you are walking or meditate for 30 seconds, before you speak to a group of people. You can clear some space in your mind, anytime and anywhere, even during a meeting.

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