Sometimes, we hear the word “Zen,” and it calls to mind images of hippies and peace signs. But the truth is that Zen as a practice is more than an aesthetic – it’s a very real approach that helps millions of people. And even if you aren’t interested in incorporating the concept of Zen into your daily life, there’s something we can all learn from this approach to benefit ourselves and our mental health.
What is “Zen?”
Specifically, Zen describes a type of Buddhism in which meditation is used to stay present, intentional, and non-judgmental. In more general terms, Zen describes a feeling of peace, enlightenment, and oneness. In the context of today’s modern world, being more “Zen” refers to slowing down, calming the chaos of everyday life in order to feel more centered.
How does it support a healthy lifestyle?
The effects of stress on the human body have been well-documented. They include increased headaches, higher blood pressure, an increased risk of anxiety and depression, digestive issues, a higher risk of diabetes and heart conditions… the list goes on. Practicing a more Zen lifestyle is a great way to reduce your overall stress level on a daily basis – and that’s a good thing for your health in every way.
How can you be more Zen?
You don’t have to become a Buddhist monk or a yoga fanatic to be more Zen in your daily life. Here are some quick tips:
- Practice mindful breathing. Pull a big inhale through your nose, filling up your lungs, while saying the word “let” to yourself. Then, exhale deeply while telling yourself “go.” Repeat this several times to achieve a sense of balance and calm.
- Try a mini-meditation session. Set aside five minutes to simply sit in a comfortable position and breathe deeply. Try to observe your thoughts as they pass by – don’t concentrate heavily on them, just imagine them passing as you relax.
- Be silly. Laughter, as they say, is the best medicine. And being happy is a key part of being Zen. Do something silly to make yourself laugh – skip instead of walking, make a funny face. You’ll be surprised at the way it calms and centers you.
Try Being More Zen
Being present and intentional. Taking a moment to slow down amidst the chaos of everyday life. That’s what Zen is all about. Make a point to try and be more Zen this year, and watch how it improves your mindset as time goes on.