Meditation gives us a chance to relax our mind and slow down. With over 60,000 thoughts a day, taking the time to clear our minds in a no brainer. Many of our thoughts determine our mood and mindset, so its imperative that we find the time to center ourselves & come back to the present moment.  A simple practice of 20 minutes a day is a fantastic way to re-focus your energy, especially if you’re feeling ungrounded, imbalanced, or moody. Today, Meditation Guru, Danielle Beinstein shares her tips for calming your mind & body.

D | As a meditation guide (I lead meditations 3 times a week at Unplug in West LA), clients often ask for tips to calm them in moments of stress. Here are my go-tos, and they can be used anytime or anywhere. After all, meditation is about coming into the present moment.

1.  Breathe

Many of us breathe in and out of our chest, but this actually activates our central nervous system. We want to breathe in and out of our bellies, allowing the gentle rhythm of this movement to guide us into the present moment. This is the fastest way I’ve found to calm myself. Just feel into the expansion of the abdomen and then exhale, letting whatever it is go, and centering in yourself.

2. Get Grounded

Feel into whatever is beneath you or underneath you. Is it a cushion, a bed, a wooden floor, a chair, the grass? What properties do you notice? Remember that book, the one for toddlers, that has different fabrics – Velcro, Satin, Cotton – embedded in the pages? Using the same idea, bringing this simple awareness to light brings us into the present moment, moving us out of our head and its endless to-do lists.

3. Touch Yourself

Not that kind, though, that, too can be meditative (:-)). Touch your arm, your skin, your chest, your belly. Feel your skin, its warmth, feel your heartbeat or your belly as it expands. Touch calms and soothes us. If you’re feeling anxious or frantic, bring yourself into the present moment with this technique.

4. Allow the Thoughts In

Meditation is not about not thinking. That’s not realistic or even completely possible. Our brains are designed to think. In meditation, we welcome in the thoughts, without judgment, observe them and return our awareness to our chosen focal point: mantra, third eye, breath, candle gazing, etc. The key is in observing the thought and letting it go. You are not your thoughts. At your core, you’re something much deeper and expansive. Meditation is about the realization of this truth.

5. Let it Out

So much of our head spinning is actually just stuck energy and unprocessed, unreleased emotion. Sometimes we avoid meditating because we fear our feelings, but it’s actually an entry point. Move down into the heart area. What do you notice there? Feelings? Sadness? Grief? Fear? Concern? Let the tears roll, again, without judgment. Feelings are part of being human. The more you meditate the more intimate you’ll become with yourself and your process. So if you feel the need to cry, please do. It will calm and rejuvenate you and, yes, quiet the mind. After all, the only way out is through.