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What I Say When I’m Losing My Zen


I talk to myself quite a bit. I hadn’t realized how much I did it until a coffee shop opened in my ‘hood and my neighbor convinced me that normal humans occasionally leave the house during the day to do things other than run, so I’ve started mixing things up by working from there a morning or two a week. It’s actually been really nice — that change of scenery is sometimes exactly what I need to see a story from a different angle, and being able to bounce an idea off of a person (as opposed to one of my dogs) has been rather helpful on occasion. But people? They react when you have a conversation with your computer. #themoreyouknow

Another thing about this new routine is that it forces me to get out of my office and walk (or bike) outside. It’s probably just over half a mile away, which is enough time for me to feel like I’ve stretched my legs, but it’s not so far that it takes any significant amount of time to get there, so I don’t feel like I’m taking away from my workday. Those few minutes of walking in the sunshine in the middle of the day has definitely added to my feeling of mindfulness and zen.

It’s also gotten me thinking about some of the phrases and mantras I turn to when I feel my mindfulness slipping away. And, since we just launched Fit Bottomed Zen this week (woot!), I thought this would be as good a time as any to share two phrases I’m loving.

Focus on what is real and what is true. I’m a writer at heart, and I love a good work of fiction. The problem is, I can spin quite the tale in my head and before you know it, a perfectly normal situation has gotten completely out of hand in my brain. An easy way to combat this without judgement is to simply focus on what is real and what is true. My wild musings have their place, and there are times when it’s good to have prepared for the worst, but that’s not a good place to live.

If you can’t find your flow, try to let go. I used to be so driven by deadlines that I would make myself ill trying to force an article to materialize when it just. wasn’t. there. I’ve learned that, while it’s not only good, but necessary to be able to sit down and work even when I don’t really feel like it, it’s also worth noting that sometimes, I just need to come back to something with fresh eyes. Last week, I spent 45 minutes on what was essentially a silly little article and only had one crappy intro paragraph written. It was due that afternoon, but I checked with my editor to see if I could turn it in first thing in the morning instead. She had no problem with it, and I was able to knock the whole thing out before I’d even finished my first cup of coffee the next day. (P.S. — This also works well for workouts!)

Got any phrases or mantras that keep you feeling sane and zen and at peace? —Kristen

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1 Comment
  1. Christine says:

    Great article! I often feel that I occasionally hit a wall in terms of my healthy living journey, but all I usually need is to take a step back and remember that “it’s a process, don’t rush it”.

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