Find your zen in a world of constant change and unearth the strength needed to face each day with resilience, especially as a woman over 50. Everywhere you look, there’s a crisis – whether it’s your body and moods changing in the menopause, a child not waking up on time, or a colleague not pulling their weight.
The news on TV or online doesn’t help… with the constant looming threat of war or accidents on the road during your daily commute making you late. It feels overwhelming and can drive anyone to the brink of frustration. It’s enough to drive you crazy!! How do you stay calm amidst this constant turbulence?
The meaning of Zen
Zen, rooted in Buddhism, emphasises direct experience and intuitive insight. Originally from the Chinese word “Chan,” it means meditation. In Buddhism, Zen is a Mahayana school advocating self-awareness and enlightenment through meditation and intuition.
The term “zen” has taken on a broader, more colloquial meaning in the modern world. It has become synonymous with calmness, tranquillity, and simplicity. When people speak of finding their “zen” in everyday life, they often refer to a sense of peace and harmony amid the world’s madness.
The practice of Zen
This is usually expressed in mindfulness, relaxation, and stress reduction techniques. It transcends religious boundaries and has become a universal concept associated with pursuing inner peace, mindfulness, and a balanced existence.
Whether rooted in traditional Buddhist philosophy or embraced as a practical lifestyle approach, the essence of Zen lies in fostering a profound connection with the present moment, allowing individuals to navigate life’s challenges with serenity and clarity.
However, can we find Zen in normal daily rituals that will relieve stress and help us get through the day?
Bringing Zen into Your Life: Gratitude and Mindfulness
In the hustle and bustle of life, finding moments of zen becomes a conscious choice. It’s especially important as we go through menopause. The change of life can bring about an additional layer of stress in an already chaotic world.
Start by incorporating gratitude and mindfulness into your daily routine. Take a few minutes each day to reflect on the things you’re grateful for – whether it’s the warmth of the morning sun or the aroma of your favourite coffee. Embracing mindfulness allows you to be present, savouring each moment and reducing the grip of stress. Remember, cultivating a sense of gratitude is like planting seeds of peace in the garden of your life.
Find Your Zen in Your Morning Routine: Calm Meditation and Breath Exercises
Begin your day with intention and tranquillity. Engage in calm meditation to centre your mind and set a positive tone for the day. Meditation has been found to have a plethora of benefits including stress reduction, improving mental health and lengthening attention span, as described in healthline.com .
You can start by taking a moment to breathe deeply, inhaling positivity and exhaling any lingering stress. This simple breath exercise not only oxygenates your body but also provides a mental reset. Starting your morning mindfully empowers you to face the day with a calm and collected mindset, fostering a resilient foundation for whatever comes your way.
Rituals supply a sense of stability in the face of unpredictability. Whether it’s a morning routine, a calming cup of tea, or a walk, daily rituals create anchors that ground you, fostering a tranquil mindset.
Ensuring a Stress-Free Day: Goal Setting and Organization
Stress often creeps in when we feel overwhelmed or directionless. Combat this by setting clear daily tasks that align with your broader life goals. Break your tasks into manageable steps and stay organised to avoid unnecessary chaos.
When the to-do list seems never-ending, prioritise tasks based on importance and deadlines. Tackling one task at a time prevents the feeling of being pulled in all directions. It’s about progress, not perfection.
Eating Right: Know Your Body and Stress Triggers
Fuelling your body with the right foods is a pivotal aspect of stress management and finding your zen. Understand your body’s unique needs and pay attention to how different foods impact you. Some foods may trigger stress responses like bloating and fatigue, affecting your overall well-being.
Choose a balanced and nourishing diet, emphasising whole foods that energise rather than drain you. By being mindful of your dietary choices, you’re not just eating for today but investing in a healthier and stress-resistant tomorrow.
Exercise for Vitality: Combat Sluggishness with Movement
Physical activity is a potent antidote to sluggishness and stress. Make it a point to incorporate regular exercise into your routine. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a yoga session, or a full-on workout – movement invigorates both body and mind.
Exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural stress relievers, promoting a sense of well-being. So, lace up those sneakers, move your body, and let the positive energy flow, ensuring that sluggishness has no room in your day.
Forgive and Forget: Liberating Yourself from Yesterday’s Stresses
Don’t carry yesterday’s stresses into today; instead, embrace the transformative act of forgiving and letting go. Holding onto grudges only anchors us to the past, hindering our ability to immerse ourselves in the present moment fully.
Forgiveness is not just a gift to others; it’s a profound act of self-love. Recognise that people make mistakes, including yourself. By letting go of resentment, you unburden your mind and heart, creating space for tranquillity. It’s a conscious decision to release the weight of negative emotions, allowing room for healing and personal growth.
Tips for Finding Zen in our daily lives
So, as we go about our daily lives, even if we have tried to zen our lives, the proverbial always hits the fan. When you find yourself being engulfed by chaos here are some tips to combat the feeling of overwhelm.
Take a Deep Breath
Sometimes, the most straightforward remedy is the best one. When you feel the overwhelm well up inside you, take a deep breath for 30 seconds and let the tension melt away. Count to 10, and feel the tension dissipate. It’s a quick fix that works wonders, be it at home, in the office, or amidst the bustling public. I came across a guy called Wim Hoff whilst watching a Netflix special from Goop. His method really works wonders and has saved many colleagues from my stressed-out wrath.
Let the music soothe your soul
Everyone has a song that hits the spot. Better yet, you should curate a playlist that calms the madness out of you. Take time to find something that talks to you. Some people like classical mellow vibes, while my go-to is soulful tunes… think Angie Stone, Lauryn Hill and En Vogue. Whatever your jam, make sure you have your happy place on standby invoked via your playlist.
Pause and Reset
Find a way out. Find a quiet place where you can be alone and collect your thoughts. This isn’t always possible, and sometimes it’s enough just to close your eyes and imagine you are far away, in your happy place. Take a step back, regather your composure, and channel the chaotic energy towards serenity and peace.
Find your peace-buddy
I hope you are lucky enough to have someone who calms you to help you find your zen (I have in my husband), it’s great to seek them out in times of high stress. Finding your zen may be as simple as a panic phone call to your significant other or bestie. In the office, it may be a close colleague. Whoever it is, make sure they are a peace bringer, not a whirlwind maker. You need calm, not escalation.
Choose a physical space in your home or workplace as a Zen Zone. It could be a cosy corner with a comfortable chair, soothing colours, or calming scents. Retreat to this space when you need a brief escape from the chaos.
Smile: The Best Makeup and Endorphin Booster
Ever heard the saying, “Smile, it’s the best makeup”? Well, it’s not just a charming quote; it’s a profound truth. A genuine smile has this magical ability to light up your face, making you radiate with positivity and find your zen. It’s your natural and most beautiful adornment. And the bonus is when you break into a smile, you’re not just enhancing your external glow; you’re triggering a flood of endorphins, those delightful feel-good hormones.
Find Your Zen Amidst Chaos
Throughout life’s challenges, the pursuit of zen appears as a resilient anchor amid the chaos. Each practice contributes to weaving a tapestry of serenity, from fostering gratitude and mindfulness to setting goals, embracing forgiveness, and engaging in soul-soothing activities. May we carry the essence of zen into our daily life, finding solace in the simplicity of a deep breath, the melody of soothing tunes, and the warmth of a genuine smile, ensuring that we remain at peace and set to bring the best of ourselves to the day.