From societal pressure to personal issues, many people find themselves in a constant state of tension. A new normal has impacted people like never before, so figuring out how to adjust to these rapid changes has become a top priority. One word that you may often hear is “Zen,” which generally refers to a state of relaxation. However, there is much more to Zen than relaxation, and employing the practices associated with it can help you to achieve a calmer state of mind in both your professional and personal life. Read on to find out how achieving a Zen-like lifestyle can help to banish feelings of being overwhelmed and enable you to become more calm.
As we’ve mentioned before, most people hear the word “Zen” and believe that it means just being calm. While this is true, Zen is a Buddhist term that essentially means experiencing life in a more meaningful way. Rather than just mindlessly going through the motions of everyday life, Zen is all about being present in the moment and putting things in the proper perspective. The basics of Zen include being at peace, living a simple life, and developing habits that foster self-awareness and spiritual growth. Zen is not a passing event. Once you truly master it, you will practice it every moment of the day.
The hustle and bustle of our daily lives can quickly take a toll, which is why slowing down is critically important to achieving Zen. While people are often encouraged to move faster and work harder, hurrying through life will not only cause us to miss important moments and lessons, but it can also can result in various health problems ranging from anxiety to physical ailments.
Research has shown that multi-tasking can enable people to become more productive. Slowing down and doing one thing at a time will enable you to tune out distractions, which can help you to improve the work that you produce. Focusing on a task enables you to give it your full attention and to produce quality work.
Slowing down also means doing less. Unfortunately, Western society has emphasized the importance of being an overachiever, and the pressure to constantly do more is immense. Slowing down also means more than just doing one thing at a time. It also involves deliberately undertaking every task. The following are some examples of ways to slow down:
- Don’t check your email while out to dinner and just focus on enjoying your meal.
- Read a book with the television off.
- Have a phone conversation without working on your computer.
Undertaking Rituals and Habits
If you are new to the realm of spiritual enlightenment, the word “ritual” may seem off-putting, but it doesn’t have to be. Rituals are nothing more than tasks that are undertaken on a regular basis. Brushing your teeth and taking the same route to work or school every day are rituals. Eating at the same time every day is a ritual. In order to develop a sense of Zen in your life, you should create rituals or habits to which you can devote your full attention on a daily basis. Rituals enable you to pause and grow more in tune with what feeds your soul, and you will naturally want to prioritize those aspects that enhance your spiritual growth
The fastest way to develop Zen habits is to plan your day. Planning doesn’t have to be rigid. It just means that you have control over your day. Rushing can easily lead to feelings of being overwhelmed, so planning your day better will enable you to leisurely make it to your destination and eliminate anxiety about being late or dealing with delays along the way. Your rituals can be whatever you want them to be, but some common ones include:
- A morning and nighttime routine
- Exercise and contemplation
- Checking and responding to email
- Repeating a mantra or affirmation
- Taking “me time”
Decluttering Both Your Physical and Mental Space
Clutter is essentially the opposite of Zen. A cluttered or dirty space can hurt your mental health. Researchers from the University of New Mexico found that physical clutter can have a negative impact on a person’s overall satisfaction with their life and that it can directly affect one’s happiness.
If you have physical clutter, it can help to take stock of the things you need versus those that you don’t. How do you do this? Scan the room and note those things that bring you joy such as your favorite blanket or family photos. While scanning the room, you should also look at those things that you don’t use often and note your reaction when you think about them.
Getting rid of clutter also means decluttering your mental state. Journaling is one of the best ways to clear your mind and achieve Zen. You should commit to regularly journaling as a way to express your feelings, as well as to flesh out new ideas and plans. Meditation is also a great way to declutter your mind since it only requires you to be still and block out distractions as much as possible.
Making a Commitment to Yourself
Zen is all about focusing on your needs. When you decide that you want to achieve a more Zen-like state, you are making a commitment to yourself. Always identify the top priorities for your day, decide when work will end, and make an effort to develop positive rituals. Following these tips will undoubtedly have a positive impact on your mental and physical well-being and provide you with more time to enjoy life.