Meditation is supposed to be a simple practice. Far too often, it becomes complicated with routine changes, breathing patterns, and lifestyle changes.

Your first step should be to reserve 10 to 20 minutes of time in your day to meditate. Block it out in your calendar and allow no interruptions.

Then follow these steps to begin this new habit.

Step #1: Cultivate an environment which encourages meditation. Have something comfortable to sit on. Set the timer on your phone to ensure you stay on schedule. Then allow yourself to settle in.

Step #2: Posture maintenance is the most important physical aspect of meditation. Keeping your back straight and upright will make it easier to maintain your focus. Take deep breaths inward, then outward. Don’t worry about closing your eyes, crossing your legs, or making tiny circles with your fingers. Do what makes you comfortable.

Step #3: Stop thinking. This step is the most difficult for meditation beginners. Don’t analyze your environment or your breathing pattern. Just focus on the process. Breathe in, then out.

Step #4: Your mind will want to wander, especially during your first few meditation sessions. Bring yourself back to the present moment when this happens. Return the focus to your breath. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Follow this same process if you catch yourself thinking about other things as well.

Step #5: Be as consistent as possible with your timing. Make meditation a daily habit. You’ll get more out of this practice if you spend a little time with it every day instead of a lot of time with it once per week. It is okay to start small, meditating for just 5 minutes if that is what it takes. 

If you find yourself struggling to stay focused, then try counting. Hold your breath until you reach the count of five. Then release your breath until the count of five. Repeat as often as you need to meet your goals.