We get it. You’re not into this whole “mindfulness” thing.

But know this: The mental wellness discipline, loosely defined as actively practicing “acute awareness of the present moment”—whether you’re stuck in your cubicle, chilling at the beach, or plowing through a complex project—isn’t just good for your brain, it’s also great for your muscles. A study in the Journal of Health Psychology recently found that athletes who practice mindful meditation techniques are far more motivated to exercise regularly and more satisfied with their workouts than less-mindful dudes. They also sleep better, says a new JAMA study.

With all this in mind, we sought out Michael Gervais, Ph.D., a mindful meditation expert and director of High Performance Psychology at DISC Sports & Spine Center, who’s advised athletes from the U.S. Olympic Team to the Seattle Seahawks, for an entry-level checklist for getting your head right for relaxation and exercise. All you need are a quiet place and a few spare minutes.

By Bill Bradley