Life can be a pretty big juggling act at times. Be it personal, work, family, social or other commitments, overload can always feel imminent. Don’t get us wrong – optimal stimulation and challenge is great. This is the zone when we feel interested and excited and we’re thinking rationally about the tasks ahead. Life is good!
When too much of a good thing leads to overstimulation though, irrational or unhelpful thinking can kick in. We feel overwhelmed, yip – it’s now bigger than Texas. Finally we end up exhausted and dissatisfied.
On days like these, our mind can busy itself seeking “Zen” outside of ourselves. We conjure up solutions like a luxury holiday or a day of decadence at the day spa. Our internal talk starts with if only…but in reality these are temporary fixes. Ultimately they won’t make a lasting difference to our day to day.
True inner peace is more of an intuitive process and we can find it within ourselves. It’s more about being than doing. Which is fantastic because it means we can achieve it wherever we are. This doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy your lovely relaxing holiday when it comes along but it does mean you don’t have to be on holiday to feel present and calm.
Seeking your Zen but not sure where to begin? Inner peace can be learned.
Here are some ideas you might like to try.
1: Keep your slate up to date
If you are consistently overscheduled or an expert in drama creation to the extent you’re constantly distracted, it’s going to be really hard to relax. Take a moment to review where your life is at. Do you have lots of unresolved issues? What’s on your “to do” list for the week? Taking action to keep your personal and professional life in better order will save you time and energy in the long run and you’ll feel so much lighter.
2: Make peace a priority
We live in a world of stimulation overload. Sometimes we have to change how we live to create calm. Take some time to think about what you would like your legacy to be. Are you reflecting on a life of chaos and unfinished projects or the wonderful relationships and experiences you’ve enjoyed?
3: Accept yourself and others
Become comfortable with your authentic self. Get clear on your truth, your values and your integrity and live by these rules. Be real but be gentle. Sometimes we have to choose to stop struggling against things we can’t change. Sometimes we become even more creative and resourceful once we accept constraints. Although you may need to unhook or let go of others choices, your behaviour and how you choose to respond is always yours.
4: Be the change you want to see in the world.
The funny thing about peace and calm is that it tends to spread. Have you ever tried lowering your voice to deescalate a situation? Whilst all of us recognise those who are agitated, we can also feel the effect of those who remain unflappable even when the heat is on. How does it feel to spend time with each of these kinds of people? You might find that time spent with those who model a peaceful approach leaves you feeling a lot more Zen.
5. Define your Zen
This is a matter of understanding your individual ethics and motivations to achieve balance in your life. It might be a meditation or prayer group. It could be a yoga class. It might just be the practice of breathing deeply so as not to be so reactive. It might be choosing to volunteer.
- What helps you to focus on things that make your life about more than you?
- What are the things that remind you we are connected to each other?
- What helps you to do more good and less harm?
You might have been expecting a definition of what creates Zen but the reality is there isn’t one other than the one you create for yourself.