Meditation expert Melissa Wood-Tepperberg knows how hard it can feel to relax.
Long before she was guiding the likes of Jessica Alba, Miranda Kerr and Olivia Munn through her low-impact sculpting workouts and guided meditation sessions, she was a serious doubter who never thought she could be the type to begin each morning with some intentional deep breathing.
"I thought my mind was too busy for this practice," the Melissa Wood Health founder tells E! News, "but I think for the overly anxious person, it can really serve them the most."
Having pushed herself to commit for a two-week period, she quickly discovered the benefits extended far beyond less anxiety and more patience. With the help of her morning sessions, she found herself moving through her day "more mindfully", she says, putting more thought to the foods she was eating and her own internal commentary toward herself.
And with fewer spikes in the stress hormone cortisol, "my skin started clearing up," she says, "my digestions got better. And I believe that it's because most of us live in this fight-or-flight. We're constantly just going, going, going. And once we really slow things down and tap into our parasympathetic nervous system, where we rest and digest food thoroughly, life changes."
And it doesn't recall a total overhaul of your day. A mother of two young kids with nightlife impresario Noah Tepperberg, the certified health coach is acutely aware that twice-daily 20-minute sessions are out of reach for most people.
She suggests clients like Cara Delevingne, a subscriber to her app, start by committing to just two minutes each morning (first thing in the a.m. is ideal, she notes, before you get bogged down in the day's to-do list) for your first week, five the next and maybe 10 after that. But no matter what you squeeze in, you're doing amazing, sweetie.
"The most important thing is not to judge your practice," she stresses. "So if you are doing it, you're attempting it—you're doing it." She sees time and again people get caught up in the idea that they had a "bad meditation" or didn't feel keyed in enough. "Every day will be different," she insists, "but I think really being gentle and kind with the process, it will really make it such a realistic approach to showing up to do it every day."
She advises searching out a guided meditation "with a teacher that you really connect with." And fortunately, she's volunteering as tribute. While her Melissa Wood Health app is chock full of sessions (and she offers a seven-day free trial), she's put together a good eight-minute starter in the video above for E!'s Wellness Wednesday series.
Scout out an area of your home where you can sit comfortably and feel calm. "But if that's not available," she says, "then anywhere you can." (For example, before speaking to E! News, she had her meditative moment while her husband was next to her "screaming on a call," her son was banging blocks during a Zoom school session and her daughter was loudly fighting her nap.)
"I was really intimidated by this practice for so many years, which really turned me off getting into it because there were so many rules around it," she says of her accessible approach. "I think there's something really nice in kind of lifting all of those rules and just finding something that works for you and makes a massive impact in your whole being."