Concentrating on my breath helps me relax and it also reminds me that everyone on the planet is also a breathing body. This commonality calms the terror attendant on our current moment. My ideology, my fears, my impairments aren’t magicked away, but I am always a breathing body, just like everyone else.
It’s called meditation practice because that concentration is a skill. While I’m meditating I find myself thinking about the past or planning for the future. This is the magic moment. When I notice I’m thinking, I softly name it, and then return to my breathing.
I learned to meditate via an 8-week MBSR class, mindfulness based stress reduction, offered by my therapist. Since then, I’ve loved using Insight Timer, the meditation tool for iOS and Android. You do have to create a login, but they haven't spammed me. Insight Timer has tons of useful features, but at its most basic it’s got a great timer, with lovely bells, background white noise, and finely adjustable intervals. When you’re online, Insight offers hundreds of guided meditations, including introductory lessons for absolute beginners. (Other audio available: yoga guidance, Dharma talks, affirmations.) Excellent search functions let me bookmark (for example) just the 10–19 minutes long, secular, male voice, meditations designed for pain.
All of the audio content is also available from this web site.