Updated January 2024

Years ago, I was at a point in my life where everything felt out of balance and out of control.

I was stressed out from work, had little to no downtime, and my mental health took a massive dip due to it all.

One day it dawned on me that I have the power of choice to do (or not do) what I want.

I realized that I don’t have to live a life that makes me unhappy. I started doing four simple (zen) things that ultimately improved my life in the most imaginable ways.

To find out how these zen habits changed my life and how they can change YOURS, keep reading!

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1. Slow down

I am the textbook definition of a busy body. I am ALWAYS doing something. 

If I’m not working, I’m either learning a new skill, running errands, going to one of my countless workout classes, or diving into my passion projects.

I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve experienced burnout, but it has been A LOT.

One of the most important life lessons I’ve learned is to slow down.

It’s imperative that you slow down and enjoy your life. All of the work assignments and tasks on your to-do list can wait because, essentially, they’ll always be there.   

The best years of your life, however, will not always be there.

slow down written on the sand at a beach

If you’re a twenty-something millennial, you probably realize how FAST life is going. 

It’s so easy to be on auto-pilot and get things done, but you often lose precious moments in the process.

Find ways to take things off of your plate. Re-prioritize your life and make time to stop and smell the roses.

You can’t get back any time already spent, so you must be intentional with the time you have now.

journal on a white table

I recently bought this journal to help remind myself to slow down. Its daily prompts keep me in check by ensuring I’m not over over-tasking myself. Try it out to have a more peaceful routine!

2. Let go

Being a Type A personality, it can sometimes be difficult when something doesn’t go as planned.

Once I mastered the art of letting go and releasing things outside of my control, life became a lot easier.

I’ve learned how to roll with the punches and now understand that sudden change is a part of life, and how you handle that change will determine your success.

busy schedule written in a planner

If you’re someone like me (or the old me), know that you’re only adding unnecessary stress to your life if you expect everything to happen the way you’ve mapped it out in your head.

People will not always respond to situations how you want them to.

Circumstances will not always play out the way you think they should.

But that’s ok. 

The world will not come crashing down around you.

3. Meditate

I feel like every other blog post I’ve written has been about the astounding benefits of meditation.

black girl sitting in a meditative pose with eyes closed

It’s THAT life-changing of a practice and is one of the top ways that I’ve changed my life.

I started doing consistent zen meditation years ago to help with the chronic stress and anxiety that I had due to my work-life balance (or lack thereof), and I immediately noticed a change.

The changes I noticed:

– I was a lot calmer

– My concentration improved

– I didn’t get agitated as quickly as I once did

– My outlook on life wasn’t as grim as it once was

– I was more easy-going and tolerant of everyday inconveniences

You can also change your life with mindful meditation in as little as ten minutes a day.

If you want to learn how to meditate and do a guided meditation with me, check out my meditation post.

4. Deep Breathing

Don’t take for granted how calming and grounding breathwork can be.

If you’re an anxious person or quickly get stressed out, I highly recommend deep breathing exercises. 

Deep breathing is great because you can do it anywhere – the grocery store, in your car, at your job, while watching TV, etc.

I do a few techniques to help relax if I’m feeling high-strung, and I always feel better afterward.

the words "take a deep breathe" written on a piece of paper

Technique 1: The 4-7-8 

Place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth.

Breathe in through your nostrils for a count of 4.

Hold the breath for a count of 7.

Exhale through your mouth for a count of 8.

Repeat this exercise as much as needed.

Technique 2: Rhythmic Breathing

Place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth.

Slowly breath in through your nostrils until you reach the top of your breath.

As soon as you reach the top, slowly exhale it all out through your mouth.

Once you exhale all of your breath, start the process again with an inhale.

You’ll notice a rhythm with this particular breathwork as you cycle through inhales and exhales.

Technique 3: The 4 Count

Place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth.

Breathe in through your nostrils for a count of 4.

Hold the breath for a count of 4.

Exhale through your mouth for a count of 4.

Then wait for a count of 4 before repeating the process.

It’s essential that during these breathing exercises, your diaphragm expands as you inhale.

This necklace is great if you have anxiety and need a quick and effective way to relieve stress through intentional breathing.

Zen habits are very beneficial to living a healthy and less stressful life. Sometimes a holistic approach is just what you need to become the best version of yourself.

Which zen habits will you be trying out first?

Peace, love, and good vibrations.

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