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Health & Beauty

My Daily Chill Pill

The 15-minute trick that makes me feel like I've gotten eight hours of sleep

Everyone's got her little tricks for mellowing out after a rough day, or just because. I go on evening strolls and enjoy the gorgeous L.A. weather. Or I linger in the kitchen making a big meal with ingredients from my garden.

Something I also squeeze in as much as possible? Meditation. For awhile, I did twice it a day. I do transcendental meditation, which is less about trying to empty your brain of any thoughts and more about being present and accepting what comes -- it's a little more forgiving than the clear-your-mind, clear-your-mind kind. I took a couple classes on it -- how to do it, what the health benefits are -- and they were extremely helpful. Now, when I come out of it, I feel like I've had eight hours of sleep. It simultaneously calms me down and gives me more energy afterward. Plus, it's medically proven to lower blood pressure, cortisol levels, and your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Transcendental meditation teachers are trained in the techniques, but here are some simple (amateur!) tips to get you started.

1. Sit in a comfortable, quiet place with your eyes closed.
2. Your mind will wander -- and that's OK! The goal of TM is to not have emotional reactions to the thoughts that wander into your head.
3. If you need help focusing, you can think of a mantra. Whenever you feel your mind drifting, make yourself return to the mantra.

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