Today’s busy life constantly comes with packages of stress, anxiety, and apprehension; all of which are not invited to a healthy happy life. To cope, people search for therapies and guidance on how to limit or eradicate these things from daily schedules. However, the answer may be much simpler than that. If anything, it is to calm down and … LOOK. We will in this article talk about the three most basic zen habits, and how to apply them.
What is Zen?
Now when some people think of the word Zen, they immediately relate it to a Buddhist somewhere off in the mountains, peacefully sitting in the utter silence of nature, ignoring the ongoings of modern society. It’s certainly something that not everyone is adaptable to. But while it is true that Zen originates from the tranquil practices of Buddhism, it doesn’t mean that you have to be on that level of Zen practices to achieve a peaceful life.
Quite the contrary, the general idea of achieving Zen or peace in life is to simplify and tone down the excitement that goes on every day. This works on both a mental and physical level. It is considerably easier to change your habits on a daily spectrum, but the mental challenges can prove tedious.
Here are five very basic yet effective Zen habits to adapt to a calmer, more relaxed lifestyle.
Zen Habit #1 : Adopt a Positive Mindset & letting Go
Simplicity is the key to a happy life, but it isn’t that simple to achieve. To start yourself off on the journey to peacefulness, you need to start thinking about your mindset.
Realizing the problem
The first step to improving your thinking patterns is by realizing where you become negative. You may not always have a pessimistic opinion on matters. It may only be when you encounter a new or unexpected situation where you suddenly propose the worse possibilities. Once you are able to distinguish what makes you feel upset or causes an uprising of unsettling emotions, you can take the necessary steps to overcome this and relax your conscious state.
Reframing the situation
In a tense situation, your mind might tell you to run away while in a frustrating one, your mind may direct you to resort to verbal abuse to minimize the frustration. But before you do anything, think about the impact it will not only have on you, but on those surrounding you.
Will running away really solve anything? Will shouting angrily really get you the help you need? Or is there a better way to go through with the situation? Perhaps the Zen way!
Like any new habits, this takes effort and time to develop in your psyche. Next time you find yourself in a situation that gets you out of your zen place, reframe it and ask yourself these simple questions : how can I benefit from this situation to strenghten my spiritual power ? What’s the lesson to be learned ? What am I resisting that I need to surrender myself to ? What do I need to let go of ?
Every situation has the potential to awaken us to a deep trauma that was dormant within us, usually from childhood. The erruption of negative emotions or sensations within the body (which are commonly refer to in psychology as “triggers”) are just the sign that we need to pay closer attention to ourselves, and not quickly accuse the external world to be defficient.
For example, a family member starts to accuse you about how messy and not organized you are. Instead of justifying yourself, or accuse back the other person for that judgemental attitude, try to LOOK : yield to that situation, soften up to it, accept it as it. What will come up then may surprise you. You might find out for exemple, that the other person only needed some acknowledgement for organizing your stuff, or that you’ve been lately too busy … etc.
Zen Habit #2 : Clear your Schedule
Clearing your schedule is a lot different than cleaning it out. It doesn’t mean you’re taking anything out of your daily tasks, only that you’re simplifying all that you do while you’re doing it.
Plan out the Day
It may have become clear by now that organizing yourself is one of the steps to maintaining a relaxing lifestyle. It tags along with many Zen habits.
You don’t need to have a written schedule, although some may prefer such, all you need is to have a mental clock for the layout of your day. That way, you’re ready to shift into the next part of the day. As vague as it is, it’s preferred to have some idea rather than none at all.
Professional vs Personal
The way you operate at home is much different than how you present yourself in front of your colleagues. Your professional life shouldn’t leak into your personal life, because it takes time away from you to be you, which can mess you up severely. Your job should take up eight hours of your day, and eight to ten should be for your sleep.
The rest is for you to exert your personality with your friends, family and yourself.
One of the very negative side effect that the “hustle attitude” has brought, is a sensation of guilt if the work day wasn’t filled with hundreds of tasks. Which lead many to unconsciously associate success with suffering and sacrifices. This is untrue as the most important thing in your life should be you, and your inner peace and tranquility.
Prioritizing some time for yourself
For those who fail to push aside some space for themselves, here are a few things you can do to make that space.
- Before you take up or start working on a job, ask yourself how important it is, and if you really need to obstruct time for it. If it isn’t something due in a while, don’t feel afraid to divide the load of the work between days so it doesn’t take a day away from you. This can also deal with bad procrastination issues that cause stress.
- Don’t agree to take anyone else’s workload. It may seem unkind but if you are on a tight schedule yourself then you can’t afford to do other people’s bidding as well. Just as well, don’t hand over your work to others as this is hypocrisy.
- Make a list of all the things you like doing. Going out for a walk, reading a book, going to the gym or baking. Insignificant things and all types of projects you’ve wanted to start, they all go. Once you’ve made this list, make sure that every week, all the things on your list get a fair amount of time. This way you can practice distributing your time and enjoying your hobbies.
There’s nothing that can absolutely replace the pastoral relaxation of meditation. When you find that the world is quiet and still, that’s the best time to sit down and contemplate everything you have to offer yourself. Indirectly, this means you should meditate at dusk or dawn when the world watches the sun rise and deplete. It’s quietest then and perfect for a few steady moments of contemplation.
Some people enjoy fitting in calming sessions of yoga. You can go with anything, so long as you get a few soothing minutes to yourself every day that can help you clear out your mind.
To start, you need to sit down in a quiet spot by yourself where you can have a few minutes of peace. Since meditation comes with so many benefits and possibilities, most people will worry that they’re doing it wrong, or they haven’t done it long enough. These are all irrelevant thoughts that create worry. In the time you have to meditate, your thoughts should be flowing but not concentrated.
Forget about multitasking
You need to learn to value the moments that you have, whether at work, with friends, or by yourself doing your things. Life is but a succession of moments. Next time you are eating, waiting for the train, or simply walking, fight the urge to take out your phone and start scrolling. Do only one thing at the time.
No moment comes back, so it’s vital to realize. If you feel that this is a great memorable moment, then you should save it.
Once you’ve accomplished an even balance between working hours and free time hours, then practice another habit, living in the moment.
Zen Habit #3 : One day at a time
Worrying about how the next day’s going to go and what you’re going to do, all of the things that need to be done, the deadlines coming up, the plans you need to start and finish- It’s a lot! Zen says to slow down and learn to pace your life.
Life is so busy, and the days just keep piling onto each other. Your plans may extend to the month being charted down or just the week. The problem that will sometimes present itself is that you get so caught up with the plan when things don’t go your way, everything crashes on you.
These are all natural worries and everyone stumbles upon them, but as the saying goes, when you fall, brush yourself and get back up.
Get up and Brush Yourself off
To understand how this applies here, let’s analyze the quote to fit one’s everyday life.
Unsuspecting plans and sudden jobs do tend to pop up in our lives, and when they do, they may feel like a blow to your chest. Some people are just not adjusted to handling change that well.
If you’re stressed and anxious, then these will really put a strain on the way your day unfolds. When you live a life inhabited with Zen habits, this isn’t such a problem.
With a Zen mindset, finding out that your plans will be altered, allows you to be more flexible. You can take in the moment as it comes and head towards the new outcome with ease. Everything in your life can be accommodated for as it is still to come. Like thoughts, the day’s outcome will flow along like a train of thought. It’s just your job to get on board.
Treat Each Moment as a Day
The practice of taking each moment at a time is a little stretched out here, where you’re thinking about only the day. Your morning should be dedicated to the layout of your whole day. You should think about the events you plan to forgo and all of the projects you want to do.
Have a general idea of what your day’s going to look like, but don’t stick to this layout like glue. Remember, anything can happen and you need to be flexible with your time.
While the day rolls out, only focus on what’s going on. This not only helps with productivity but mindfulness as well. When your focus is set on one objective, your mind’s at its prime of productivity. It focuses to its best extent on what must be done.
Not only will you feel your job’s better accomplished, but your satisfaction will feed your positive emotions which will help carry out the day smoothly.
A key Factor
So as you may have noticed, concentration’s a key factor that works for a Zen-filled day. Concentration on everything going on presently helps filter all of your clustering thoughts which clears your thought process.
The more concentrated you are, the better you feel because you don’t have other things pushing their way in your face. Of course, there’s a bit of your contribution to this by making sure there are no distractions laid out for you.
If you have too many things trying to work with each other at once, you’ll find more chaos than harmony. The best Zen habits are ones that are 100% you. If someone tries to give you a suggestion, you have to think first,
Is this something that I would do?
If it isn’t, then you shouldn’t try to fit it into your habits. Accommodating someone else suggestions shouldn’t be your first priority.
Your zen habits need to be something comfortable for you, habits that you can easily fit into. That’s why Zen habits can only be directed so generally. Each person has their own preferences and thoughts that make their personality individual, so evidently, you find your peace uniquely from others.