Until recently (like the last few years) I thought meditation was a bunch of mumbo jumbo. I guess I didn't really understand it and it seemed like a religious thing to do so I just stayed away. I have since learned that meditation can simply be a way to calm your mind and your body - giving your body and mind an opportunity to rest and heal. I often talk about deep breathing my classes - I am sure the members are sick of hearing me talk about it. I try to get them to even out their breath. Take the same time to inhale as you do to exhale. While doing this I also ask them to lengthen their breath - start by counting to 5 and increase the length to 8 or 10. It actually takes a lot of effort to quiet yourself down enough to do this. Even when we are lying down there are still many distractions that tend to keep us from fully focusing on the breath.
I have a nice big bathtub at home. I love to just sit in there and read a book sometimes to de-stress. I love the weightless feeling you have floating in water. This morning I decided to work on my breathing to try and calm myself down - too many thoughts running through my head and I needed some clarity. I let the water cover my ears so I could really hear my breath. That made it very easy to concentrate on it. I could not only hear my breath but also my heartbeat, I could feel the air moving in and out of my nose and I also felt the rise of my body as I inhaled and the fall when I exhaled. At first it is hard to slow the breath down - it almost gives you a feeling of panic - but if you stick with it eventually the body embraces it. A very nice sense of peace and serenity came over me and I was able to move forward with my day knowing what was important and what wasn't.
I highly recommend this little experiment - especially if you are feeling stressed out - it is a great coping method for life and it is completely free and wont harm you at all :)