Time your breaths. The purpose of any meditative technique is to take your mind off potentially distracting thoughts that may pop up as you attempt to center yourself. Exhale and then slowly inhale until your lungs feel full. Count the seconds and then try to take the same amount of time to exhale. The length of time will depend on your lung capacity but you should generally try to breathe slowly. Continue breathing on this number of seconds to prevent other thoughts from entering your mind.
Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
For a slower, more relaxing meditation, try the 4-7-8 exercise. Exhale, then close your mouth and inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for 7 seven seconds, and exhale over the course of 8 seconds.
Focus on your muscle reaction. Focus your mind on how parts of your body react to your breathing. Feel your diaphragm, throat muscles, and shoulders shift as you inhale and exhale to occupy your mind. This should not be a painful strain but you should feel your muscles stretching in these areas. If may help to place your hand on your diaphragm so you can feel the muscle reaction.
You can also focus on the relaxed parts of your body. Leave your hands and arms in a comfortable pose that doesn’t require you to work any of their muscles and keep your mind focused there.
Redirect your wandering mind. Think of a word or phrase like “breathe” to repeat to yourself when you catch your mind wandering. Accept that this is natural and don’t give up if you’re struggling to stay focused.
Remember that you should be concentrating on your breathing pattern.