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No question about it: meditation can be challenging. For many people, sitting calmly and letting go of negative thoughts comes totally naturally. But for others, clearing the brain of daily chaos and stress can be nearly impossible. If you fall into the latter category, you may want to consider using a mantra.

A mantra is a word or phrase that helps you stay centered and refocus your attention. Watch this video as Suze Yalof Schwartz, CEO and founder of Unplug Meditation and author of Unplug: A Simple Guide To Meditation for Busy Skeptics and Modern Soul Seekers ($23; amazon.com) demonstrates how to use a mantra to boost your daily meditation practice.

For this specific technique, she asks you to begin by closing your eyes and thinking of a single word that describes how you want to feel in that moment. As you inhale, silently repeat to yourself the phrase “I am.” And as you exhale, say whatever mantra you’ve chosen. Then slowly let it slip away as you fall into full meditation mode.

Any time you notice that your mind begins to wander, use your mantra to re-focus the meditation. Try doing this for three minutes to start out. With practice, this technique can gradually increase the duration of your meditation.