Meditation has a ton of benefits, from reducing anxiety to increasing concentration, but it isn't something you can jump into and excel at right away. If you've tried to meditate before and couldn't get into it, start with "mini meditation" first as an easy transition.
Image from amateur photography by michael.
Part of meditation is focusing on your breathing instead of fixating on thoughts as they go through your mind, which can be pretty tough. Jesse Singal, writing at New York Magazine, explains how putting energy into just breathing was a simple way for her to ease into meditation in general:
Some of you might be thinking, What's so innovative about that? Meditation is just breathing! Yes, but for those of us who try meditation but have trouble sticking with it, one of the challenges is that — when it comes to most of the guided audio for beginners and so on — we're tasked with doing a few different things at once. Sit still. Be "comfortable but alert." Focus on your breathing. When you have a thought, note it, but don't react. Try not to get frustrated if you're fidgety or having any other sort of trouble losing yourself to your meditation.
I'd like this to be a gateway drug to a regular meditation practice, but regardless of whether it becomes that, I've decided that twice a day, I'm simply going to count out 50 breaths. Try it yourself: Start with ten, even. Make sure they're good, deep breaths. Do it on the subway or in the car or bathroom, if you have to. It helps. Breathing is the cornerstone of "real" meditation, after all.
Making your goal just about taking a set of deep breaths transforms it into something actionable that you can fit into your daily routine, without getting frustrated that you can't "clear your mind" or "observe your thoughts," which can all come later. Once you've mastered this mini meditation, you can try practicing longer meditation sessions that involve your thoughts and emotions as well.
Bad at Meditation? Try Meditation-Lite [New York Magazine]