How-To: Meditate—in Five Minutes or Less

Hoda Kotb, Today Show host and author of This Just Speaks to Me, shows us how to create a daily meditation practice when you only have five minutes.

How-To: Meditate—in Five Minutes or Less

If you still feel wracked with worry and uncertainty about what the future looks like, meditation can help improve your mental health and lessen anxiety. By taking time to quiet your mind and focus on your breath, you can effectively slow that fear spiral from getting out of control. But if you’ve never practiced mindfulness before, it can be hard to know how to start—or how to find the time. Hoda Kotb, Today Show host and author of This Just Speaks to Me, explains how to create a daily meditation practice when you only have five minutes.

I’ve always loved a meaningful quote, and I know so many of us do. They fill books and are celebrated on websites, T-shirts, coffee mugs, calendars, and posters. (Remember the “Hang in There!” cat dangling from a branch?) Sometimes a quote reminds us of an old memory, reflects a hope, or maybe it hits home where we’re sitting right now. 

Seemingly simple words tucked between quotation marks become the powerful elixir we need for so many reasons–to improve, renew, heal, guffaw, or just release. They’re like silent soldiers we carry with us into battle each day. 

Sometimes I don’t even know what I need until I see a quote and I get emotional reading the words. It’s almost like someone’s holding my hand. I’m with you. I’m going through it, too. For me, the pick-me-up is knowing that someone else has felt or is feeling the same way I am. Picking a meaningful quote has become, for me, a form of daily meditation. Maybe quotes are the prayers we can’t compose, the wings our spirits need to soar.


Add This Just Speaks to Me to bookshelf Add This Just Speaks to Me to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf
This Just Speaks to Me
By Hoda Kotb
Hardcover $24.00
Also available from:

Hoda’s Favorite Things for Meditation and Calming

  • A beautiful journal. I love to jot down my favorite quotes in a special journal. It really makes a difference!
  • A trusty coffee mug. I love my coffee, and the bigger the mug, the better!
  • A delicious gardenia-scented candle. It’s my favorite scent, and something about lighting it makes me feel calm, centered, and focused.


Hoda’s All-Time Favorite Quotes


“Music is an outburst of the soul.” –Frederick Delius

When Mariah Carey shared with Billboard that she quizzes her kids on which iconic artists sing what songs, Jenna [Bush Hager] and I began talking about our own children and the impact music has in their lives. Jenna shared that her mother’s love of music meant that records were always playing in the house, and her mom even took her and her sister to a Paul Simon concert when they were in first grade! I try to share my passion for music with [my own daughters] Haley and Hope, although at Haley’s age we’re often listening to Super Simple Songs and “Baby Shark” on repeat. I created a “Happy” playlist for Haley that includes songs like Pharrell’s “Happy” and Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Some of my other favorites are throwbacks, like “It’s a Sunshine Day” from the Brady Bunch series. Because of that song, Haley sings, “I think I’ll go for a walk outside now,” whenever we head outside! We’ll see if music lights them up in years to come. In the meantime, I’ll just keep hitting the “play” button.


“An open heart is an open mind.” –The Fourteenth Dalai Lama

I’m a sign person; I look for signs when I’m wondering about big stuff. Remember the heartbreaking photo of a toddler covered in blood and dust during the war in Syria? I considered that a sign confirming I should adopt a baby. When I was writing in my journal about whether [my fiancé] Joel and I should adopt a third child, I watched my pen ask and answer questions:

Do we have enough love? “Yes.”

Do we have enough time? “Yes.”

Would another child enhance our family? “Yes.”

I wondered if all those yeses were signs, looking up at me from the page. Because Joel and I are older parents, I just want to make sure my kids have someone to hold their hand, forever. Haley and Hope have each other…but perhaps by the time this is in print they’ll have another set of hands to hold and be held by. We’ll see. Whatever is meant to be, I’m beyond happy. And endlessly grateful.


“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” –Les Brown

Jenna surprised me on-air the week our live show Hoda & Jenna & Friends debuted. She popped up off her seat to tell me that Oprah was our guest on Friday! We’d tacked a photo of her on a vision board we’d created for our new show…hoping…and now the Queen of Daytime TV was booked! Turns out, Jenna did a bang-up job of wooing O with a handwritten note, flowers, and a book. The girl’s got game! When our “O Countdown Clock” finally hit zero and Oprah walked on set, the studio audience—and Jenna and  I—went wild. I couldn’t hold back the tears, overwhelmed by decades of my appreciation for the way Oprah holds someone’s heart in her hand with so much care. How cool is it that even in our mid-fifties we can feel those first-day-of-school-Christmas-morning butterflies? Meeting Oprah reminded me of that. Thank you, Jenna, for such a meaningful surprise. And, Oprah? Please visit us anytime!


“The future is always beginning now.” –Mark Strand

The future just stamped “CONFIRMED” on this one!



Many people think that in order to meditate they must be seated, eyes closed, with all thoughts out of mind. But meditation can be as simple as setting an intention behind an act. Click below to check out Modern Sprout’s guide to creating a powerful moving meditation and three key elements to build a personal healing altar to help facilitate your practice.

Click the image to see a printable PDF. Credit: Modern Sprout.1
Click the image to see a printable PDF. Credit: Modern Sprout.

Modern Sprout is a Chicago-based company that creates products focused on connecting people and plants.