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“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” ―Sydney J. Harris

I51356326_Mt’s no secret that reducing your stress levels can improve your health and well-being. We know what you’re thinking: Easier said than done. Right? What exactly can you do to significantly reduce stress — and is it even possible?

Meditation is a powerful way to reduce stress, anxiety and improve your overall health and well-being. It might be something you have considered or maybe you’ve never pictured yourself doing it. Some people think it’s a practice only relegated to gurus and people from eastern traditions. Neither is true. Meditation is accessible and can be adapted by anyone, anywhere. It’s really just focusing your thoughts.

Here are some steps that can help you become a meditating master:

  1. Set a schedule: When meditating, it can be helpful to set aside a specific time just for this purpose.
  2. Make yourself comfortable: If your body isn’t comfortable, it’s going to be extremely difficult to focus your thoughts on anything else. Find a cozy chair, sit on the floor or even lay on your back, whatever makes you feel most relaxed.
  3. Focus on your breathing: Focusing on your breathing will help you get your heart rate down and relax your body. Take deep breaths! It will also help you keep your thoughts from wandering onto other things. Try inhaling through your nose and exhaling out of your mouth. You can also focus on how deeply you can breathe. Speaking of breathing, here are some simple mindful breathing exercises to try.
  4. Get some help: One of the biggest obstacles to using meditation as a health and wellness tool is getting started. Many people feel intimidated and/or worried they won’t be able to figure out how to do it correctly. Try one of these free apps to get started. UCLA Mindful, for example, has a Getting Started section, which can help you understand what mindfulness is, how to do it and how often, and how it can benefit you.
  5. Experiment: The most important thing about meditation is finding out what works best for you. Try to experiment with different techniques and guided meditations, keeping your eyes open or shutting them, being indoors or outdoors. The time of day might also impact the overall experience.

Stress can not only greatly affect your mental well-being but also your physical well-being. Meditation is free and easily accessible. Why not try incorporating meditation into your daily schedule?