She may be the most popular pop star on the planet.
Over the last several years Katy Perry’s music has filled concert venues, MP3 players and radio stations across the world. It seems like just as she releases one hit, another one is just around the corner.
However, this success comes with a price.
Her days are hectically filled with writing new songs, recording music in the studio, putting on spectacular performances and managing 127 people on her tour group.
To manage the mental weight of this hectic schedule, Katy Perry starts each day with 20 minutes of silent meditation.
“It puts me in the best mood. I wake up and just prop myself up in bed for 20 minutes. It’s the only time my mind gets absolute rest. When I am asleep, my subconscious mind is switched on and, when I am awake, I am alert…So I’m never really off. And meditation is actually the one time I get to really reset.” .
WHAT IS MEDITATION, REALLY?
There are a lot of myths surrounding meditation. Burning incense, chanting, wearing robes, etc. So let's start by explaining what meditation really is.
Meditation is simply the practice of bringing your thoughts to the present moment. 47% of our lives are spent either reminiscing about the past or thinking about what we are going to do in the future. 
We spend very little time with a clear, focused mind on what we are doing right now.
Meditation attempts to do just that. This is usually done by sitting upright in a room that is clear of distractions and focusing solely on your breathing. However, it can be achieved with any activity that brings your full focus and attention.
For example, if you are completely focused on the task of cleaning dishes; without mentally going over your day, pondering another problem in your head, or thinking about what you will be doing next, you can achieve a state of meditation.
If your mind is clear and you are focused completely on the present task, you will see the benefits of meditation.
THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
Perry isn’t the only famous person to practice daily meditation.
Contrary to the belief that meditation is a practice reserved for Buddhists and hippies, there are many famous and successful people who meditate every day.
Jerry Seinfeld, Clint Eastwood, Rupert Murdoch, Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey and many others all spend time meditating every day .
Why do these famous people to do it? There are 5 major benefits to practicing meditation on a daily basis:
1. IT INCREASES WILLPOWER
Our brains love to wander. They love to think about anything and everything that is exciting. They love to be undisciplined. During meditation, the goal is to resist these urges. By placing your attention on your breath, you are training the brain to become more focused and disciplined.
The more you practice resisting your brain’s urge to wander, the easier it will be to resist other temptations in your life as well. If you can control your thoughts, you will be more likely to control your diet, productivity and exercise as well. 
2. IT INCREASES FOCUS
When we think of our ability to focus, we usually think about being completely engaged in a task. Some people call this a state of “flow”. But being focused is just as much about the ability to tune out the distractions around us. Meditation not only trains our minds to focus on a task, it also trains us to tune out distractions. 
For example, when working on a project on the computer, many of us get tempted to browse the Internet, check our email, look up news stories, etc. Meditation helps us control these urges and tune out everything except what we should be focused on.
3. IT LOWERS STRESS
Much of our stress comes from our inability to control our thoughts and emotions. We linger on a painful memory from the past, or we get anxious about something coming up in the future. These thoughts and feelings cause the body to release a chemical called cortisol, which increases our stress. 
Meditation trains our minds to let thoughts like these go. It helps us deal with these feelings and understand that they do not have control over our present condition. The more we train our minds in this way, the less cortisol our body produces, leading to less stress in our lives.
4. IT IMPROVES OUR ABILITY TO LEARN
Another benefit of meditation is its ability to help us learn and retain information. Learning is all about making connections between information we know and information we have just taken in. With a clear mind, we are able to more easily make these connections. 
It is no coincidence that many people claim to come up with their best ideas while meditating. Often it takes a clear mind for us to understand how one thing connects to another.
5. IT IMPROVES OUR ENERGY
Katy Perry is not the only one who gets her best rest by meditating. Even when we are asleep, our subconscious mind is thinking, which requires our energy and attention.
During meditation, however, your mind truly gets to rest. It is challenging to keep your mind focused on the present, but once you get to a state where your brain is not contemplating the past or the future, it will be able to truly relax. This relaxation will revitalize you and give you the mental energy you need to take on the day. 
HOW TO GET STARTED MEDITATING
If you have never meditated before, I recommend using a guided meditation tool to get started. There are many apps and files that you can download online, but the one I recommend the most is the Headspace App.
It is a comprehensive guided meditation tool that is designed specifically for beginners. I have been using it for a long time now and cannot recommend it enough.
If you would prefer to do it by yourself, here is an exercise from Andi Puddicombe, the founder of Headspace, you can do that will give you all of the same benefits:
1. Go to a quiet room where you can sit upright and you will not be disturbed.
2. Set a timer for 10 minutes, take a seat in a chair and make sure that you are completely comfortable.
3. Find something in your direct line of vision to focus on and take 6 deep breaths. With each exhalation, allow your body to soften as you become more and more relaxed. On the 6th exhalation, gently close your eyes.
4. Begin by focusing your attention on the points of contact between your body, the chair and the floor. Feel the sensation of your arms on the legs and your feet on the floor.
5. Then begin to take in the senses of the space around you – any sounds that you hear, any smells, etc. Simply become aware of your surroundings.
6. Then turn your attention to your breath. Feel your chest expand as you inhale and contract as you exhale.
7. Once you are comfortable with the rhythm, begin to count – 1 on the inhale, 2 on the exhale – all the way up to 10. This will help you to focus your mind on the breathing and prevent it from wandering.
8. When you get to 10, repeat from the beginning at 1 – do not count to 11, 12, etc.
9. Throughout the exercise, allow thoughts to come and go. You cannot stop yourself from thinking, but what you want to avoid is lingering on a thought. The moment you realize that your mind has wandered, simply bring it back to counting the breaths.
10. Continue this practice until the timer goes off.
If you are new to meditation, this will be awkward and difficult at first. Do not let that discourage you. I like to think about it like learning to drive a car.
At first there are so many things going on and the ride is bumpy and awkward. But over time, you get more and more used to it. Driving becomes more automatic and the ride becomes smoother. This same thing will occur with meditation if you just give it time.
Meditation is not just a practice for monks and hippies. It is, in fact, the most simple and effective way to improve your willpower. It is no coincidence that successful people like Katy Perry, Jerry Seinfeld and Rupert Murdoch all meditate on a daily basis.
By simply meditating for 10 minutes per day, you will instantly begin to see improvements in your willpower, focus, energy, and learning ability; while also becoming less stressed. Get started by either downloading a guided meditation tool or by following the exercise above. After just one week, you will see some significant results!