Diego dog feeling zen.

There’s a motivational saying that goes:

A day is a day. You are given the same 24 hours that Oprah Winfrey has.

…or something like that. Insert your own highly successful person’s name and you get the point. I don’t know about you, but as soon as I come across any piece of poignant text that’s supposed to ‘enrich’ my life a tiny groan rolls out of my lips. It seems like the only exercise I get anymore are the constant eye-rolls throughout my day.

I get it. We all have the same amount of time to get working on our dreams no matter WHO we are. We need to make better use of our time. We need to be more efficient with it. We need to be CREATING MORE PRODUCT. However, I highly doubt that Jeff Bezos spends mornings standing in front of the microwave waiting for his breakfast burrito to cook.

When was the last time Bill Gates braved Wal-Mart to get his weekly groceries?

While I will save my thoughts on how we go about our days convinced that we’re busier than we actually are for another post I CAN offer a few simple ways to find ‘zen’ no matter what our day brings us. If you’re looking for some cheery post on the benefits of a daily yoga regimen or the many benefits of getting up at 4:30 in the morning, this isn’t it.

This short list is for the rest of us – the people who need a pot of coffee when we wake just to feel human. Consider these tips for those of us who fall over while tying our shoes.

*For the record I am just a dude who works a full-time job and has found these simple techniques useful. Secondly, all the methods below are in no way or form linked to a specific dogma or religious belief.

1.Wash that man (or any troublesome thoughts) right out of your hair.

Take a few extra minutes in the shower. (No, not like that) You’d be amazed how grounding the simple act of getting clean can be. Focus on each area of your body – any problems, pains etc. related to it and scrub it away. Concentrate on the process of shaving, brushing your teeth, combing your hair…Don’t rush it. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to a red carpet event or clocking in at a shit job to pay the bills. I have such a shit job. I am surprised at how much more prepared I feel for the day ahead when I’m clean and pressed.

2. Keep the meditation simple stupid.

You don’t need to roll out the yoga mat, light a room full of candles, and invoke Deepak Chopra to get the benefits of meditation. A simple 5 to 10 minute breathing exercise can clear the mind just as efficiently as an hour-long deep dive. Note: Do NOT attempt to Shamanic journey while you’re driving.

Personally, I’ve found a quick 7 minute self-reiki video on youtube that does the trick for me. It takes a while to catch any habit, but there is no reason one can’t spend five minutes a day clearing their mind. You spend more time pooping.

3. Mantras: There is a power to statements.

Got a tough day at work ahead? Stuck in a boring meeting? Scrambling all around town running errands? Find a phrase or even a word to yell, chant, or repeat in your head. It will help you mentally prepare for any challenge. It doesn’t have to be an entire prayer or excerpt from the Tibetan Book of The Dead. A bible verse, song lyrics, or movie quote will suit just fine. “I’m here to kick ass and chew bubblegum and I’m all out of bubblegum.” Is a personal favorite.

4. Treat yo-self!

Diets have cheat days. Even The Creator took a day off. Don’t get so hard on yourself that you forget to take care of yourself each and every single day. You don’t have to spend an afternoon at the spa or an evening out with the girls. Eat that brownie. Watch an episode of your favorite tv show. Read a chapter in a book. Blast your favorite song. There is no shame in going to bed early!

5. Unplug.

There are plenty of studies out there linking depression to social media saturation. Now, I’m not talking about an all-out virtual fast or a complete cutting of the cord – hell no, the memes are too funny.

Instead, take some time you’d usually spend scrolling and just be in the moment. For me, I traded my checking Facebook after I get home from work time with playing an extra round of fetch with my dog. That extra ten- fifteen minutes a day has become valuable for the both of us.

That’s it.

Will these simple steps guarantee that all your days will be smooth and sunny? No. Consider them nothing more than tiny bullets in your arsenal towards fighting the good fight – sweet golden chicken nuggets of zen. A few tweaks here and there in your daily routine can go a long way towards living a more grounded life.

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