Practicing Zen has tons of beneficial effects on our mind, body and spirit. In order to practice Zen, there are some changes that you can make to your lifestyle that will help you feel happier, more content, and more at peace. Take a look at our top 5 steps to achieve a Zen, more balanced lifestyle.
1. Get Up Early
While it may seem difficult and inconvenient at first, there is nothing better than starting off your day by getting up early. When you first practice getting up early, you may find that you feel like you are still asleep – experiencing a foggy brain and sore muscles. However, do not give up just yet! The more you do it, the more comfortable and alert you will feel, and you will soon be an expert in waking early and jump starting your day.
Having a few extra hours in the morning allows you to make the most of your day, allowing you to complete extra tasks and spend more time working on yourself.
When you are training your body to get up early, there are a few things you can do that will help:
First - when your alarm goes off, do not snooze it. Instead, put the alarm out of reach so that you need to get up to turn it off.
Second - Once awake, do some gentle stretches, drink a glass of cold water and have a shower to wake yourself up so that you are fresh and ready for the day.
Third - Make sure that you eat something for breakfast to give you that boost of energy and go over your targets and goals for the day.
You will then soon see the benefits of becoming an early riser – as you will find yourself becoming more productive, organised and focused.
2. Stay Active
It is a commonly known idea that exercise can improve your mood, make you feel more motivated and help you sustain a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is vitally important for Zen living due to this, but it doesn’t have to be a strict, heavy routine. Any kind of exercise, whether it be jogging, walking, yoga, cardio, or pilates, is great for your body and mind. Studies such as one from Harvard Medical School back this up by showing that both cognitive function and memory are boosted by exercise. It is also a great way to relieve stress and find some inner peace.
If you are a particularly active person, you may already have sports or exercises that you enjoy, and that is great. If, however, you are just venturing into the world of exercise, you can start by adding some walks or yoga sessions into your schedule – even if it is just for around 20 minutes each day. Working at your own pace is important, and you will naturally build this up over time.
3. Declutter your Home
While this may seem like a daunting task, decluttering your home is vital to achieving a Zen lifestyle. It is especially important that you practice the zen mantra in a location that is not messy, where you have space to be at one with yourself and your thoughts.
The Zen lifestyle is underpinned by clarity and looking beyond possessions and materialism. Decluttering your home is a step towards this.
Scientific studies also support the benefits of having a clutter-free home, finding that those who live in a cluttered or messy home are more likely to be in poor health and experience stress. Those who lived in cleaner, more minimalist homes were happier.
If you are looking to find out how to declutter, check out Marie Kondo, a Japanese organisation master who focuses on removing material possessions that do not benefit your life. This will allow you to have a peaceful home in which you can focus on your zen lifestyle.
4. Practice the Art of Meditation
One of the central components of living a Zen lifestyle of meditation. Meditation is a practice that can be undertaken by everyone, and can happen anytime and anywhere – in your home, at work or on holiday.
You can meditate anywhere, but having a quiet and peaceful location is the best environment where you can be truly comfortable and at ease.
Meditating outside puts you at one with nature, and if you are in a quiet place, the smells and sounds can be very relaxing. Using a clear, tidy space in your home is also good, which is why step number three on this list is de-cluttering! Try adding plants, salt lamps, and essential oils to your room to add nature, serenity, and positive energy into your meditation.
How to Meditation - To meditate, lie on your back and focus on your breathing. If you are new to meditating, consider following a guided mediation recording until you get the hang of it – everyone is a beginner at some stage!
Guided meditation can walk you through the different meditation exercises, explaining why they are important. After practising meditation, you should feel more relaxed, calm and zen.
5. Take Some Time for Yourself
In order to fully live a Zen lifestyle, it is important to be mindful of your actions, thoughts and feelings. To do this, you will need to take time for yourself, detaching from the outside world and forgetting about your stressers such as work, money, or to do lists.
Studies have shown that those who take regular breaks and take time for themselves are more likely to be more productive when they are at work, better at multitasking and more efficient.
What you do when you take time for yourself is truly up to you – go for a walk and enjoy the outdoors, read a book in a cosy corner or practice some yoga. Taking some time to do something you enjoy by yourself can be a great way to switch off and recharge. This helps you find a balance between in your life, which is at the core of Zen living.