Reaching Next Level Zen
If you can’t slow life down, what can you do to find that zen space?
Sometimes it can feel like you can’t catch your breath and your mind is racing, the need to slow down and find some peace.
The thing is, though, that most of the time, life doesn’t slow down just because we have to take a pause; instead, we need to take control of it.
Another thing to add to the never-ending list of things we have to get done.
So if you can’t slow life down, what can you do to find that zen space?
What is Zen?
Zen can feel like a very vague term. After all, it’s used in modern language when people say they’re feeling calm and collected - or that everything will be okay.
But Zen is actually short for Zen Buddhism. Zen Buddhism is closer to a state of mind and a philosophy than a religion most of the time.
Zen is also the translated word for enlightenment in Japanese and stems from the Chinese word Chán, which means meditation.
So when we talk about Zen, we are talking about a true artform, bringing both benefits for our mind and body.
Zen can mean being wholly alive, totally at peace, being ‘cool’ with ourselves.
What are the benefits of Zen?
Being Zen, or at least working on being Zen, has many benefits for the brain and the body, so let’s take a look.
Once you start using some of the methods, you might notice a few of the most obvious benefits:
Zen usually involves meditation, and meditation has been shown to activate the left prefrontal cortex and reduce activity in the right prefrontal cortex.
It sounds complicated but what it means is that the left side is free to let loose all of the positive feelings like serenity, peace, calmness, and happiness.
Wondering how stressed you are? Check out How To Spot The Signs Of Burnout And Prevent It In The Future.
Feeling zen and doing zen practices brings us into a calmer state, making it easier to fall asleep - or get those cosy rest periods that rejuvenate us.
The slow and relaxed breathing done during meditation will make sure you take big deep breaths and make certain oxygen reach all over your body. Better oxygen supply and blood flow help keep you looking naturally radiant.
Doing some zen practice throughout the day will help to reduce heart rate while improving blood flow. Tackling high blood pressure in a natural way.
Even find yourself in a wicked mood that seems to have come from nowhere? Or perhaps you are feeling anxious and want to tackle it calmly. Meditation can help to increase levels of serotonin, helping to reduce headaches, insomnia, and depression.
(it’s better to use what works for you; if that is medication and meditation, then great!)
So how do I bring more Zen into my life? >The intention of bringing more Zen into your life is the first step to finding what brings you much-needed balance and peace.
Recognizing that you need or want to have a little bit more calm in your life. Much of the Zen practices can be added to your self-care routines or fit into your every day. Making it easy for it to become part of your natural state of being.
Are you doing too much?
If you relish being extra and doing the most, then this likely won’t suit you. But ask yourself are you trying to fit too much in? We are told that being busy is queen, but really being at peace is queen. Start to highlight the things that you are trying to make room for that just aren't working out. We can’t skip study or work, but we can cut; things that demand our time outside of that. Start saying no.
Cleansing your mind
Just like your body, you need to be aware of what you are feeding your mind. Are you feeding your mind the best or just the mindless scroll of Instagram?
We fall into the trap of scrolling since we are getting a minor dopamine hit from our phones, and it’s hard to leave that behind.
Take a look at what you are feeding your mind. Is it good stuff? Positive relationships? Joyous artwork? Incredible stories?
Curate your social feeds to feed your brain with the best stuff - at the very least, things that make you feel good.
The goals you set when you were 5,12,28 and 20 might not be the goals you have now. This is completely adjustable based on age and where you are in life.
An evaluation of your goals can be an incredibly powerful tool when you are looking for some Zen. When we feel we are on the right path, there is a certain power and drive that comes with it.
The biggest question to ask is why. Why do you want to achieve that goal? The next question is how - how will achieving the goal improve your life?
Most importantly what is the marker for success? This is a very personal thing, make sure that your marker of success is personal to you.
Hunched over a laptop in a similar shape to a croissant isn’t healthy. And it can cause posture problems and reduce how much oxygen we are taking in.
Aside from catching yourself every time you start to slouch, the next thing to do is work on your breathing. Harmonic breathing is an incredible tool to help you really get into meditation too.
Highlight your resistances
Ah,; make,, just because you say you want to start meditating, have a mind cleanse and learn how to breathe properly - doesn’t mean you will.
But why not? You have to highlight what you are fighting against. We can all be our own worst enemies when it comes to making lasting changes. Fear is a typical contender or the belief that maybe we can’t or don’t deserve to be better.
It might be the people around you too; without noticing, you may take on board their attitude towards something.
When we look at how to be more zen, it’s not for short term gain; it is for a long term journey to self-acceptance and happiness.
Consider mindfulness and energy; the more you use - the more you have. But you need to work on it, just like getting fitter, learning to knit - and anything else in life. The more you do it, the better you get at it, and the more you will see it can be applied to other areas of life.
Using mindfulness throughout the whole day, not just the intentional 30 minutes of breathing work or meditation.
It will begin to impact other areas, but it needs the stamina to keep it up.
The idea is not to be perfect; the idea is to practice and enjoy it. Work on the things that will bring us happiness and harmony. Work on our whys and hows. Carefully curate the media we consume to make the internet a place to feel fed and sustained.
Try not to work on perfecting, but rather what you feel is right for you.
Respecting yourself comes from appreciating your own life, understanding how important you are, and your place here. It’s not easy to find and hold on to that. Respecting your natures, who you are and what you can do.