There is no better way of bringing yourself to this moment than to focus on your breathing. If you are upset or anxious, you can say to yourself “take a breath.”
If you are practicing breath awareness meditation (shamatha or “calm abiding”), your breath become your focus. After you have established an upright, dignified posture, you bring your awareness to your breath. Feel your belly extending outward, your lungs as they fill, your chest and shoulders as they lift. Then, the reverse as everything relaxes and empties. You don’t need to control what’s happening; just be aware. Bring your attention to the sensations wherever you feel them most vividly.
Every now and then, it may be helpful to remind yourself what happens, physiologically, as you breathe, and how to make sure your breath is a complete one. Your breath begins when your diaphragm (a muscle under your lungs) contracts and moves downward. This makes more space in your chest cavity and your lungs expand. The air moves past your windpipe, through the bronchial connecting tubes into your lungs. Entering the alveoli (air sacs), which passes oxygen to your blood cells. When you breathe out, your diaphragm relaxes and moves up. Air, rich in carbon dioxide, is forced out of your lungs and windpipe and out through your nose and mouth. Take a moment and picture that process as you inhale and exhale.
Every breath calms and energizes you. Each breath is a miracle and you participate in it 25,000 times each day.