Time, in the world we live in, keeps accelerating. No matter how much we do, we feel increased pressure from all directions to accomplish more with less time to recover. Everywhere we turn, people are becoming run-down and sick over the stress that ensues from trying to squeeze too much into a day.

The solution doesn’t lie in running for the hills, the mythical dream of the fortunate recluse who could cut and run, hiding away from civilization to find peace, God, enlightenment or passion in some far-off land. Most of us have commitments to honor—kids, careers, bills, pets and taxes among them. At the very least, we long for a recovery day on a weekend; at best, a trip to paradise later in the year. But even after a week’s vacation, we still find ourselves exhausted, less enthusiastic and suddenly out of cash. It can be very demoralizing.

But it doesn’t have to be. The shift occurs when we adjust the fast pace in our daily lives, instead of waiting to reach burnout. If we take care of the energy systems of our bodies, we will have some gas left in the tank at the end of each day for our families, our pets, and our personal dreams and aspirations, instead of returning home on empty.

My 4 Tips to Contentment

So how do we shift gears? Here are four tips to help walk through your days with contentment:

1. Only eat food that comes from the earth.

The body has a hard time processing artificial ingredients and can mount an immune-system attack in our guts. This means the very place we are supposed to draw energy from food becomes a sinkhole for lost energy. (Read 7 Superfoods for Spiritual Growth.)

2. Get a standing desk and do 10 reps of some exercise every 25 minutes.

This will keep your body moving, blood and endorphins pumping, and also give you a decent workout by day’s end. (If you don’t have a standing desk, simply stand up and perform these exercises.)

3. Take mini naps.

Rest when you’re tired and it will change your life. Instead of hitting the coffee pot again after lunch, take five to 15 minutes to power down so you can reset and come back online with clarity and focus.

4. Learn to meditate—and do it.

Meditation is a critical survival skill in a world where more than 90% of chronic diseases are attributed to stress. There are many meditation practices, but one that’s designed to help connect our consciousness with the primordial element of fire is a candle meditation, practiced for thousands of years in Taoist monasteries. Bringing awareness to the flame of a candle helps stop time and sever our fixation on the minutiae. (Read Find Your Meditation Sanctuary at Home and The History of the Sacred Flame.)

How to Perform a Candle Meditation

In a dark room, position a candle three feet in front of you at chin height from where you plan to sit. Sit with your spine straight and breathe in and out of your nose to the lower abdomen. With the tip of your tongue touching the roof of your mouth, gently gaze at the blue part of the flame. Soften your gaze, try not to blink, and allow your eyes to take in the flame fully. Relax into this with your breath for five to 10 minutes, and when finished, exhale and cover your temples with both palms. Take 10 more breaths to the lower abdomen and sit quietly. This is a powerful practice that helps bring you back into the moment.

The key to finding peace in our fast-paced world is to make consistent deposits of vitality every day so we have the energy to pursue our dreams and live our lives fully. Health and happiness are derived from a daily lifestyle that becomes a fabric of our being.

Contentment Essentials

The Urban Monk: Eastern Wisdom and Modern Hacks to Stop Time and Find Success, Happiness, and Peace

Smells Like Spells Scented Candle

Bodhi Tree Signature Scented Candle

Smells Like Spells Lavender + Eucalyptus Rune Candle

The Art of Stopping Time by Pedram Shojai

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About the author

The Urban Monk, Pedram Shojai, OMD, is the New York Times’ best-selling author of The Urban Monk: Eastern Wisdom and Modern Hacks to Stop Time and Find Success, Happiness, and Peace as well as The Art of Stopping Time.