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Meditation

Your Easy, 6-Step Guide To a Stress-Free Life

Your path to enlightenment (or at least a slightly less dark view of the world) starts with this simple 6-step meditation plan.

1. Sit With Your Eyes Closed
You don’t need a monastery, just a spot with minimal distractions. The point is to practice tuning out intrusions.

2. Focus On Your Breath
Take several slow inhalations, exhaling completely after each one.

3. Quiet Your Brain
“Imagine your mind as a clear, calm, blue sky,” says Tim Olson, a North Face athlete and two-time winner of the 100-mile Western States

Endurance Run. Sometimes a cluster of storm clouds will obscure that blue sky, but the sky is always there. Allow your breath to take you to a less turbulent place.

4. Do a Body Scan
Take stock: How are you feeling at this moment in time? Where in your body do you feel clenched? Where do you feel light? Don’t try to change anything you observe. Just recognise it.

5. Suspend Judgement
“It’s okay if you’re having a stressful day,” says Olson. Try to pay attention to the way you’re feeling without becoming discouraged. Whenever your mind wanders, bring it back to your breath—again and again.

6. Build Endurance
Start with five minutes, and be patient. Then work up to 10, 20, and 30. “Meditation is exercise for your brain,” Olson says. “The more you do it, the easier it becomes.”