Let's begin with the purpose, which for most of us in the west has nothing to do with attaining Buddhahood. We've come to learn that good, regular meditative techniques improve our health and happiness. It costs nothing, requires no equipment, and can be done anywhere.
I find it rather amusing that a technique from antiquity comes into its own as stress-relief from modern society. But it's more than that. Yes, it will relax you, yes it will put things into perspective, but it will also "awaken" you.
Inside our heads, constantly, is a running monologue of mental chatter. We call it "thinking" but most of it is to real thinking what a tabloid newspaper is to great literature. Most of it is, in fact, rubbish. It is repetitive rubbish too. But it's very hard to quieten it, and for some, it can be such a nuisance that it causes sleep problems.
Many people think that meditation involves having no thoughts running through the head. There may some expert yogis that can do that, I really don't know, but for normal people at least, it's not possible.
The object is to change the thoughts into something else. This can be a deliberate "guided" meditation such as:
"I am standing on the beach, I can feel the sun on my skin, I can hear the waves crashing on the shore...."
Or it can be a chant or mantra.
Or it can be simply counting breaths in and out.
There are other options too, but I just want to make it very clear at this point that we are trying to CHANGE the inner monologue, not remove it.
The next myth is that you have to sit in a yoga position. You can if you like, but maybe you're not supple enough, or you're doing this where people would stare, etc, it isn't necessary. So long as you are comfortable, more or less, and preferably not standing up (although it can be done), you're good.
Finally, let's get rid of the idea that you need silence, or singing bowls, candles, incense, or any other "trappings". While these are all good, they are not necessary. If you meditate you can go elsewhere in your head, so your surroundings don't matter.
So. Find somewhere you can be comfortable. If the floor works for you, great, or a chair that can relax in, or you can lay down in bed, at this point it really doesn't matter.
Your first attempt at meditation will be a simple breathing meditation. You will breathe in slowly, wait and then breathe out slowly. You can use your mouth or nose. Breathe from your belly, not your chest, and be aware of the feelings of your ribcage rising and falling. You can put your hand on the centre of your abdomen if you like, just above your navel. This is your solar plexus, a real anatomical place and not something invented by the New Age. It will move up and down when you breathe, and that is your centre, so....
Breathe in slowly 1...2...3
Breathe out slowly 1...2...3
In your head as you do this, hear yourself saying:
Note I say "wait" and not "hold". If you tell somebody to hold their breath, they tend to gasp it in and clamp their mouth shut. This should be simply a pause between in and out so that it's all very smooth.
Now, you're going to need to do this a number of times. You can time it, by watching a clock (preferably with hands), but don't use any sort of alarm. Another way is to have a second count. This is why some people like to use a string of beads called a mala, as they do each repeat of the breathing they move their fingers along the string. I've heard of creative alternatives such as knots on a string, the teeth of a comb, and so on. This way you can close your eyes.
For the sake of ease for a beginner, I recommend using a soothing piece of music, of the desired length of time. You Tube has MILLIONS of choices, but most are quite long. So for absolute beginners/those whose attention span is going to make this a real challenge, I've found you a piece that lasts just one minute.
Your homework is to try this, and I don't want any excuses. Just one minute. You do have time for that.
I bet after just one minute you'll feel the benefit, and will be trying for longer.