Get into a relaxed position in a quiet place, close your eyes, and breath as described above. On the exhale, use to your breath to faintly hum some meaningless word (such as "Ohmmm"), relax the body, empty your mind, and concentrate on the meaningless word. Do this for 10 to 20 minutes at a time at least once a day. That is it. No need for transcendental meditation, yoga, or any other meditation mumbo jumbo.
Toughening the hands or any other body part is unnecessary unless you make your living wrecking buildings with your body.
There are hundreds of self-defense techniques used by numerous styles of martial arts, but self-defense is really very simple: Block'em! and Sock'em!
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