Do you feel you’ve lost your joy? When was the last time you’ve felt calm and at peace within yourself? Unfortunately, in this life we all have to deal with things that seem unpleasant and bothersome. No one is free from stress in this world. But, thankfully there is a way back to finding your inner zen.
A place where nothing can move you. It is possible to reclaim your peace of mind. I believe that obtaining inner zen can be achieved by following six steps. Start by living in the moment, freeing yourself from unwanted distractions, identifying and resolving conflict, relinquishing your bad habits, and lastly by pursuing your dreams.
Here are some simple steps you can take towards unearthing your inner zen:
1. Take Control of Your Thought Life
One of the most important things we can do to unearth our inner zen is to take control of our thought patterns. The way we think directly affects how we feel. When we allow our thoughts to control our emotions and attitudes, we become unbalanced and start to move away from our center. Think of your thoughts as a rudder of a boat, when your thoughts are scattered and your mind is jumping from one thought to another, you will move off course. I find that practicing to live in the moment every day is one of the essential ingredients to unearthing your inner Zen.
This means being honest with yourself and learning to accept all of your feelings and emotions as they come without judgment. It takes too much energy to deal with regret about what you didn’t accomplish in the past or what you hope to achieve in the future. Stress and anxiety from over thinking and worrying will rob you of present joy and can even steal years from your life if you let it.
Keeping on top of even our smallest responsibilities is a must if we want to have peace of mind. Clutter plays a major role in making us feel stressed out, anxious, and scattered. Maybe you have piles of bills still laying on top of the desk that you haven’t gotten around to paying or you may have a garage filled with old possessions you have been meaning to throw away, but you can’t seem to find the time to dispose of them. Whatever the case may be, wherever there is clutter you’ll find chaos.
It is important to release everything from you life that hinders you from finding your inner zen. A good way to stay on top of these mundane yet necessary tasks is to schedule them on your calendar. You may also want to ask someone you know to keep you accountable, just until you get in the habit of doing them consistently.
3. Replace Bad Habits with Good Habits
All of us can admit that we have at least one bad habit we need to work on changing. Whether it be smoking, eating too much junk food, or just being a couch potato. If it is impeding us from feeling good about ourselves, then we need to replace that bad habit with a good one. When we continue in our bad habits and are not taking care of our mind, body, and spirit, we lose confidence in the self.
In essence, we are robbing ourselves of our peace of mind. For instance, if you know you need to lose weight to become healthy and are not doing anything to contribute to that end, you will not feel good about yourself until you start to make small changes. So take charge of your destiny and take the steps towards becoming the person you were meant to be.
4. Strive to Resolve Conflict Quickly
Nothing keeps our soul more troubled then letting conflict go unresolved. Conflict stems primarily from pride and anger. When we let our pride get in the way of resolving a dispute, whether we are right or wrong in the situation, we leave it room to fester into animosity. Animosity leaves room for bitterness to grow within the confines of our inner being. If we can make it a point of resolving conflict quickly, we will not have to sacrifice our peace of mind. In this world, we will never be without conflict, but we don’t have to let it disrupt our inner zen.
5. Focus on Easing Stress
It’s no secret that stress is one of the leading cause of anxiety, depression, hypertension, ulcers, heart disease, along with a laundry list of other illnesses. To put it bluntly, stress kills. When we allow ourselves to become stressed out we are without inner peace. Stress and inner peace cannot coexist simultaneously. Instead of giving your worries power to control the way you think and feel, it would be good to take time out to meditate. Try sitting in a quiet place, close your eyes, take deep breaths and repeat positive affirmations, a mantra word, or scriptures.
Whatever will help you take the focus off of your worries. Meditation is an ancient practice that has been used for centuries to produce serenity and bring us back to our center. Meditation has great healing potential. There are many different types of meditation in the world such as Buddhist meditation, Qigong meditation, Transcendental meditation, and Christian meditation. The next time you are tempted to become stressed, remember there are positive ways to cope with every situation.
6. Set Your Sights On Reaching Your Goals
Do you still remember the dreams that were put on your heart years ago? Have you let them fall by the wayside because you feel that you have no time or energy to invest in making them a reality? As human beings, we are created with an innate desire to learn new things, grow in character and personality, and stretch in our God given abilities. We were never meant to become idle or lack purpose.
Unfortunately, many of us maintain a mediocre lifestyle. We have a tendency to put ourselves on autopilot. We get up early to rush our children off to school, go to work, come home to cook the meal, help the kids with their homework, and spend the rest of the evening watching television. Then the vicious cycle starts over again the next day.
There are so many excuses that can stop us from pursuing our dreams. What excuses have you used over the years for not realizing your dreams? Are they legitimate excuses or do they stem from fear and uncertainty? Zig Ziglar once said, “If you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time.” What a profound statement! You know, it’s never too late to reach for your dreams. It will take effort and perseverance to get started in the right direction, but eventually you will reap the rewards that come with hard work. So, make sure you have no regrets at the end of your journey and just go for it!
When we quiet our minds, our subconscious has a way of letting us know the truth about ourselves. You cannot change until you face that truth. If you are searching for clarity and inner peace be sure to take the time for self-evaluation.
Enjoy your journey towards unearthing your inner zen!
Barbara A. Boyle works full time as a civil servant, but in her spare time she writes short stories, poetry, and essays. Barbara is also pursuing free lance work and enjoys sharing her inspirational and motivational insights on her personal blog, ‘Unearthing Inner Zen.‘