Looking for Instant Zen? Here Are 7 Easy, Effective Things You Can Do

Emmy Schneider-Green
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Zen: that state of total calm and harmony we all aspire to feel. Merriam-Webster defines the term as “a state of calm attentiveness in which one’s actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort.”

Sounds fancy, but a simplified definition of Zen is inner calm and mindfulness. Being zenned out means living a life without reactivity and minimal stress.
 

For many of us, the biggest thing preventing us from zenning out is low-grade worry and stress.

 
But let’s face it, you can read all the books, listen to all the self-help podcasts, and have all the best Zen-intentions, but life still gets to all of us. We start to wonder how to be Zen and if it’s in fact possible.

Check out these 6 Spiritual Podcasts to Inspire Personal Growth

Between the pressures of career, tending to relationships, and our busy schedules, a true state of Zen can seem out of reach. And while stress is inevitable, there are simple things we can all do to maintain a sense of Zen, no matter what is happening around us.
 
 

Here Are 7 Easy, Effective Things You Can Do For Instant Zen:

 

1. Walk Yourself Through the “What If’s”

For many of us, the biggest thing preventing us from zenning out is low-grade worry and stress.

Constantly thinking about your bank account balance, piled up to-do list, how you’ll do on your annual review, etc?

If you’ve tried to talk yourself out of having these thoughts and yet they keep popping up, repressing them and insisting that it’s all going to be fine! is not the only route. Instead, allow yourself to indulge in a “what if” scenario of what’s worrying you.
 

Achieving a state of Zen (and keeping it) is not a simple one-and-done task.

 
For example, if your stress has to do with money, ask yourself what would happen if you didn’t earn x amount, or get that job you want? Would you lose your house, have nowhere to go (we know this sounds grim but hang with us!), and end up on the streets? Probably not.

More often than not, when you let yourself head down this hypothetical worst case, you’ll realize your fears are not that realistic. For example, you’d get a new job! You’d move in with a friend or family member. You’d make it work, because you have before.

Going through the motions of the “What If’s” is a tried and true method for instant zen.
 

 
 

2. Shake Up Your Environment

Our surroundings matter – big time. If you’re wondering how to be Zen, take a look around. Are your home, car, and office places that bring you joy, or do they threaten it?

You can make your home (and office!) a peaceful oasis by organizing, lighting a candle, playing calming music, or even treating yourself to a air purifying house plant.

Follow These 5 Tips to Zen Out Your Home and Create a Calming Oasis

Another idea is to literally shake up your environment. Take a daily walk. Work from a local coffee shop or bookstore. Go on a hike you haven’t done before. When you’re feeling the farthest thing from Zen, a change of scenery can bust up whatever icky feelings you’re having, and help you shift your perspective.
 

3. Do a Body Scan When Anxiety Emerges

More and more, scientists are realizing just how real the link is between our brain and our body. While you might think of a Zen state or lack thereof as something mental, the implications are felt in your body, too.

When you feel anxiety kicking in, pause and notice the physical sensations in your body. Simply notice where you’re holding tension, whether it’s in a clenched jaw, pinched-up shoulders, shallow breath, balled fists, etc.

Noticing the physical manifestations of anxiety can help you relax, unclench, breathe deeply, and get out of your head and back into your body. When we’re physically in the present moment, it becomes much easier to get back to Zen.

Which leads us to #4 . . .
 

4. Do Yoga

Ahhh yoga. One of the most effective ways to find instant Zen.

Yoga strengthens our bodies and deepens our flexibility. Mentally, yoga offers a wide range of positive benefits, including – you guessed it – stress relief and presence.

Curious about your brain on yoga? Here Are 6 Mental Benefits of Yoga and How They Impact Your Brain

If you’re feeling less Zen than you’d like, it might be time to increase your time on the mat.

YA Classes by YogiApproved offers unlimited access to hundreds of online yoga and fitness classes so you can get your yoga in anytime, anywhere for just $10 per month (less than most drop-ins for a single class at a yoga studio).

Check it out here and find your yoga zen!

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40-Minute Class | All Levels

 

4. Let the Light In

We’re simply not meant to live our lives in a dark, windowless cubicle or staring at a screen all day. Get out in the natural light, or crack the blinds and let it in! Not surprisingly, studies confirm that windows and daylight positively impact productivity and overall work environment.

Benefits include improved moods, a healthier sleep cycle (getting natural daylight during the day will help your body know to naturally shut down at night), and decreased risk of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.

Allowing the sun to shine on your face for a few minutes each day will help you stay zenned out.

Think you or someone you know may be suffering from SAD? Here Are 5 Effective Ways to Improve Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
 

 
 

5. Make Time for Friends

The sitcom Friends proved it – friends are so crucial to an overall happy life! Take a cue from the popular 90’s show and surround yourself with people who get you and make you happy.

The data shows that time with friends can play a major role in increasing life expectancy and having strong social connections gives our health a boost across the board.

Why? Because spending time with people you identify with decreases your levels of stress. When you’re not feeling very Zen, meeting for a cup of coffee or night out with a friend is just what the doctor ordered.
 

6. How’s Your Sleep?

Sleep is so important to not just our health, but our energy levels and ability to cope with stress.

Finding a sense of Zen becomes much more challenging when you’re exhausted. Shut eye is critical for our hormones, our appetite, our ability to handle real life, our cognitive sharpness, our muscle gains and fat loss . . . all of it.

Sleep research has shown those who are skimping on sleep (7-9 hours should be your goal) are less able to stay calm and respond to challenges. In other words, you’re not just sleepy, you’re less able to stay Zen.

Need help getting better rest? These 5 Sleep Hacks Will Help You Get a Better Night’s Rest
 

7. Do Some Journaling

Reserving quiet time for self-care and reflection is just as important as spending time with friends (arguably even more important since you can’t give your best to others until you feel your best yourself).

A great way to get Zen is to establish a habit of daily journaling. The beauty of journaling is you don’t have to worry about proper punctuation or spelling. It’s a time to let your thoughts flow and explore your feelings as they flow onto the page.

The act of writing about your challenges and experiences in life will help you process and “talk through” what’s on your mind, so you can put it on the page and leave it there – an effective tactic for finding Zen.
 
 

Feeling Zenned Out Yet? Find – and Maintain – Your Zen Using These Tips

Keep in mind that achieving a state of Zen (and keeping it) is not a simple one-and-done task. It’s a constant yet worthy quest, and the healthiest approach to it is treating it like a practice with the expectation that none of us will achieve 100% tranquility all of the time.

The goal is progress, not perfection, so keep taking daily steps like these and you’ll be well on your way to maintaining an inner state of Zen regardless of what life throws your way.

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Emmy Schneider-Green

Emmy is a passionate vegan foodie and fitness nut with a wanderlust spirit. When she’s not coaching her fitness and health clients or traveling around in her old renovated RV, she’s writing content on food, environmentalism, holistic health, and travel, or lifting weights, to show through bodybuilding the power of a plant-based diet and lifestyle.

thenonjudgyvegan.com

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