A recent study from the American Psychological Association finds that financial woes, coupled with a barrage of negative news of politics and war, have pushed a majority of Americans to unprecedented levels of stress. In addition, 87 percent of those surveyed cited rising costs of everyday items, such as groceries and gas, as a “significant source of stress.”

Although there is no quick fix to long-term stress, there are tools we can utilize to begin a routine of easing tension in our lives. Meditation or quieting the mind is a great way to relieve stress, improve focus and restore the mind to calmness. Our society rewards constant movement and action, making meditation a challenge for many. So, if you’re new to meditation, it’s important to practice patience with yourself.

Follow these tips to improve your meditation practice.

  • Choose a time to meditate. It’s ideal to meditate before your day gets hectic. If this isn’t possible, remain consistent by committing to a time and place daily.
  • Make your space special. Transform an extra room, or even a closet into a peaceful place to meditate. Add candles, incense or an oil burner to make it more tranquil. Invest in a meditation pillow for comfort.
  • Focus on the breath. Establish a steady rhythm to slow a racing mind. Breathe slowly and deeply, releasing tension.
  • Try focused meditation. If you don’t like closing your eyes when meditating, light a candle or incense and while meditating, focus only on the light. Connect with the flame and still the mind by directing your energy on the light.

Read more tips and benefits of meditation.

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