How to Stay Zen

The past few weeks have been full of change. The Road Tour ended, my job at Extension also ended, I started working more exclusively with the Alumni Relations staff, and I started my last course of my undergraduate career. I want to make it very clear that I’m not a huge fan of change. I am a creature of habit and I like my routine. I enjoy my scheduled life and I don’t like it when I have to cross things out on my calendar. However, I’m learning to adjust. One thing I’ve found throughout all of this change is that I tend to get more edgy. So to cope I’ve reverted back to my old zen yoga/meditation, “ohming” self. Here’s how it works:

  1. Find a quiet place in your home (or wherever you are comfortable) and try to face a window. Music is always optional, but try to stay away from anything with lyrics. The words can sometimes make it hard to concentrate. Candles are also a nice soothing option.
  2. There are two primary ways to position yourself: sitting up straight (legs crossed is is referred to as “lotus position”) or flat on your back, palms skyward. Posture is key, because it forces you to concentrate on your body.
  3. Begin breathing deeply and slowly. By doing so, you are becoming more aware of your body. Counting your breaths also helps keep you focused.
  4. Clear your mind as much as possible. The point of meditation is to rid yourself of stress and mentally making your grocery list is not a way to do this.
  5. Find your zen place. I usually try to picture somewhere secluded that I’ve visited often. I did have one place that I often spent time at growing up, but after I recently attended a wedding there, I now associate it with an event.
  6. Try to stick it out. Sometimes after about 3 minutes I start to get antsy. Anyone would. However, I try to make my meditation sessions last at least 8-10 minutes. If I can go longer, I do, but time can often be an issue.
  7. Enjoy your quiet time. Never, never, never treat meditation like a chore. It should be a practice of enjoyment and is meant to help you relax.

If you need more info, check out this great site called Goodlife Zen. It offers tips for meditation and how to live a more zen life. Taking the time to do something like this will not only improve your mood, but will also improve your overall well-being. It always helps me scale back on my cravings, because it forces me to be completely aware of every inch of my body. It also is a great thing to do to prevent “bored eating”, to which I often succumb.

Just start off slow and do it a few times a week for 5-8 minutes. After you get used to it, try to go longer. I promise it will help in more ways than you could ever imagine.

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