Finding Your Zen

If you’re looking for zen everywhere but within your own mind and body, it’s going to be hard to find. Think of your center as your body’s engine, the piece of you that needs to be maintained and taken care of in order for the rest of you to function properly. Being centered and connected with your zen isn’t as much about religion or spirituality as it is about finding a balance and peace within yourself in order to be the very best you that you can be.

When I say it is time to find your Zen, it could mean any number of things. Basically, it’s about discovering what keeps you calm, what you consider to be peaceful, and the end result depends on the individual.

Why is this important? In our fast-paced world, most of our days are cluttered with to-do lists, stress, conversations, obligations, anxiety, and the various different roles within our lives. And you fill more than one position as a daughter, a wife, a mother, an employee, or a boss. It is human nature to be in the process of doing, but what about the essential calm that keeps us steady? We tend to forget ourselves, neglecting to take care of our mental well-being. This is what your Zen is all about.

Discover Your Zen With These Simple Tips

Acceptance

You would be amazed with how often we may be going about our lives, in constant motion, fulfilling roles out of obligation. However, this does not always equate acceptance of who we are as individuals. Giving credence to who we are at our cores, stripped away of responsibility and roles, offers strength in moving forward. Sometimes, the smallest moment of remembering our inner badass, propels us into the most difficult situations and endeavors with our heads held high, feeling as though we can take on anything. You are who you are. You are strong and capable.

Quiet

All it takes is ten minutes – clear your mind of thoughts and tasks and then focus on the quiet. Finding peace and zen within yourself and your mind is not a weak process, rather it is the building block to everything else you take on each day. Mental loops of worry can wear us down, so simply making time to clear everything away and focus on your breathing provides inner ease. Breathe in peace. Breathe out stress.

Positivity

This includes the people you surround yourself with. Just as certain situations can affect you negatively, the same can be said for the company you keep. If you notice that someone doesn’t have your best interests at heart, is not supportive of you and your endeavors, and doesn’t appear to care for or respect you, then it’s time to let them go and move on. Toxicity will cling to you for as long as you allow it.

Expectations

How often do things go differently than you planned, thus throwing off your entire mood? While this is understandable and you’re allowed to feel disappointed, adjusting to roadblocks and craters that appear in the midst of your path is part of the process. There is no way we can account for everything, so learning to let go of expectations and to accept the way things are is a step forward. You can then jump up from the bottom and start fresh in search of zen. Presumptions are normal, and by no means should you abandon them. But learning to bend rather than break with every twist in our expectations is not only how you find zen but also a healthy way to maintain peace within the chaos.

Listen

Have you ever paid attention to the inner dialogue within your mind? Yea, that’s keeping you from zen. This quite often can be the source of a great deal of negativity, but we don’t realize it until we truly start paying attention. Open up a small window in your day to listen to your inner thoughts more carefully. If you find that you belittle yourself with pessimistic statements like, “You’re so pathetic. How could you screw this up?” take the time to change it around and be positive instead. No one expects you to be perfect 100% of the time, so begin a positive dialogue with yourself, as well. Start with something small like, “If I keep at it, I know I can get this.” If you don’t support yourself through the mistakes and pitfalls, you’re already at a disadvantage and no one else can pull you up in quite the same way that you can.

Exercise

Your mental health is linked to your physical health, so taking care of your body in turn helps take care of your mind. The inner peace you are hoping for can often come about through exercise. Try a juice fast, go for a run or walk, take a yoga class, or look up at-home workouts on Pinterest to find your zen. Simply doing a couple sets of sit-ups each morning will help revitalize how you feel about yourself, aid in clearing your thoughts, and jumpstart your day with enthusiasm.

Give

How we treat others often reflects back on how we treat and feel about ourselves. Whether you offer a listening ear to a friend while meeting up for coffee or you volunteer time at a local charity, the act of giving can provide you with a healthier state of mind.

When you hear the word “Zen,” perhaps you tend to think of Buddhism or meditation. While this most certainly applies, it can be engrained into your life as peace and stillness within the disarray of daily life. Your mind and body both deserve the same attention, if not more, that you apply to all the other realms of your life. By committing to take care of yourself, you will inevitably find zen.  And that zen and calmness will give you confidence and strength. Mental well-being ensures you are remembering you in the chaos, staying truthful to what you need and want. Harmony is more than a philosophy; it is a way of living with your best interests in mind.

*This article was first published in the June 2014 issue of Indie Chick Magazine. 

What is holding you back from finding your zen?

Image credit: Shutterstock

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Ashley Sapp

Ashley has been writing words for as long as she could understand them. Residing in South Carolina, she’s a twenty-something blogger and editor with a passion for human rights. She can also be found smelling (and reading) books.

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