I got this analogy from Eknath Easwaran’s Words to Live By entry for July 27, in which he said “In these times, a common prescription for a day packed with troubles is to go jump in your hot tub. Relaxation starts immediately; for a time, at least, the body is at peace. Now imagine a hot tub for the mind. That is what meditation is; it can bathe your mind in peace.” .
This is a great analogy. But there is another physical analogy, with exercise, that is even more apt. Lots of people would jump into a hot tub gladly, and immediately start to unwind. Many of us get that same “Ahhhh…” feeling from exercise. But that doesn’t happen right away. First you have to find a type that’s best for you, and practice it diligently. This can feel a lot more like a chore than relaxation at first, but eventually it “sticks” and you start to enjoy it. Even then, it may seem like the last thing you want to do before trying to get out the door on a busy morning or after commuting home after a hectic day at work. But from experience you know if only you can get your running, walking, or biking shoes on (substitute your favorite activity here) and get out the door, in a few minutes the relaxation can kick in.
All of this is analogous to meditation. First you have to find the type that feels natural to you, of which various options are discussed here. Then you have to practice it enough times to start to taste inner peace from it. But again, even then it may seem like a chore at first, but if you “gut it out” a few minutes hopefully the “Ahhhh…” feeling will kick in.