Being at peace doesn’t mean life is always blissful. It means you can find balance even when surrounded by stressful chaos. Here are some paths to maintaining your Zen.

Get Perspective
Deepen your feelings of connectedness to you world—to your community, to the universe, to a powerful force. Feeling part of this greater whole helps you understand that you aren’t responsible for everything that happens in life, so you can stop trying to control it. It makes it easier to let things go—especially the little things.

Be the Laughing Buddha
A good belly laugh releases endorphins in the brain and relaxes the body, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you can’t make like the laughing Buddha and find humor in the ludicrousness of daily life, watch clips of John Stewart sketches or check out videos of epic fails (where no one gets hurt, of course) on YouTube. Funny vid clips have even been shown to increase blood flow to the heart.

Move to the Music
There’s an Indian proverb: “To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak.” Dance of any kind (whatever gets you grooving) can melt stress from your body and free your spirit to soar. The heart-pumping action triggers stress-relieving endorphins, according to the Mayo Clinic. In fact, “dance therapy” is having a moment in China as a trendy antidote to stress among young white-collar workers.

Say Thank You
Wake up with an attitude of gratitude for all you have—a warm bed, a breathtaking sunrise, fresh air, clean clothes, a nutritious breakfast…and you’ll build a powerful buffer against stress. Research shows that people who keep a gratitude journal exercise more regularly, have fewer physical ailments, feel better about their lives in general, and are more optimistic about the future. Whether you jot or not, try to notice the beauty around you and take a moment, whenever possible, to breathe it in. Aahhh…