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.

Rather than getting caught up in the Hustler’s recycled inner-dialogue and commentary, dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, mindfulness through meditation enables you to be present to a feeling, a thought, or a situation, without being overwhelmed by it. It allows you to be fully in the here and now, instead of wishing for something else.

Instead of constantly editing the story in your head and reacting unconsciously, you can step back, create a little bit of space between you and your thoughts and emotions (especially negative ones). You simply let your thoughts happen, so you can feel them fully, allowing those thoughts to pass completely. This process creates a small gap that helps you mindfully respond from a calm and peaceful place.

In this way, meditation helps to keep the voice in your head from running amok and creating a lot of havoc in your life. Being mindful doesn’t necessarily make the thoughts go away, but it does help you reduce your attachment to those thoughts.

Meditation is not going to solve all of your problems, but it will help you deal with them more effectively, by enabling you to respond, rather than react, to external stimuli, giving you more focus, and helping you to be more calm and composed.

All of this may sound quite lovely, but how do you actually meditate? Well, there are many forms of meditation, but here are 5 simple steps for starting and building your meditation practice:

1.     R.P.M. – Rise – Pee – Meditate.

2.     One-Minute to ZEN – Now, 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. Simply breathe…and allow each breath to create space between you and each of your thoughts and emotions.

Over time, try to build up the duration, first to a couple of minutes, then to 5 minutes, then to 10 minutes.

3.     Observe and Just Breathe – Gently observe your thoughts and emotions and breathe deeply. Deep breathing brings you back to the present moment. Close your eyes and take five to ten deep breaths inhaling for a count of 5-6 seconds and exhaling for a count of 6-8 seconds. You may begin to feel a little lighter after just 30 seconds of mindful, deep breathing. Whenever you get off track and 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.     Let Go of Expectations – It’s natural to want to hold on to a “good” thought and push away a “bad” thought, but both of these reactions keep you locked in a cycle of suffering, because nothing stays the same – everything changes. There is no such thing as good or bad meditation. This is simply your way of checking-in to observe your energy level and help you become more mindful during the rest of your day.

The super-duper-secret to meditation (and for many things in life, for that matter) is non-attachment to the result. You can’t always control the outcome. Drop your attachment to the outcome, and enjoy the journey for what it is.

5.     Practice Daily – Meditating every day is a healthy habit that helps you know your mind, and set you on a path for the evolution of your soul. Practicing meditation at least once every day allows you to fully live each moment and 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 be aware of your ego’s hustling criticism, listen to the truth, respond with compassion, and be free from fear and judgment.