#ActiveApril Health & Wellness Zen Tip Tuesday

Keeping Zen with an Active & Healthy Lifestyle

April 2, 2019

If asked to describe what ‘Zen’ means I would immediately think of sitting quietly, eyes closed and feeling calm or I think of meditation and being relaxed. I certainly wouldn’t associate being ‘Zen’ with activity. However, being active and living a healthy lifestyle actually can bring calm to your life by reducing stress. During #ActiveApril we are working on being more active and feeling alive not just physically but mentally and spiritually. So let’s improve our Zen with some healthier lifestyle choices.

5 ways you can improve your ‘Zen’ by living a healthy lifestyle

Keep Active

Regular exercise is proven to reduce stress and anxiety as well as regulating our body functions and keeping our bodies strong. When we are active our bodies release chemicals called endorphins which trigger a positive feeling. We feel energised and alive after a good workout and it has been scientifically proven that being active helps us to think clearer and keeps our brains sharp.

Eat Nutritious Food

What we eat can have an affect on our mood, blood sugars, hormones balance, cognitive ability, energy levels and emotions. Include more whole foods with plenty of vegetables and give the processed foods a miss.


We can’t function without sleep and research shows that not getting adequate sleep raises the stress hormone levels. Sleep is the time when our bodies restore, rejuvenate, grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones. Finish your day with a wind down routine that will help you feel calm and relaxed and ready for some ZZZZs.

Cognitive Wandering

Next time you are stuck on a problem or feeling overwhelmed, instead of persisting in solving it, take a break and go for a walk. Research conducted by Stanford University found that those in the study who walked increased their creative output by 60% compared to when they were sitting. Jonathan Fields, founder of the Good Life Project, a multi-platform wellness organization, advocates for brain breaks.

Work less, walk more. The change in setting, cognitive wandering and physical movement allows your brain to refuel, reset and often come up with insight-based solutions more readily than grinding ever will. Pro-tip – leave your device home or, at a minimum, turn off notifications, so you’re not just stuffing your neural network with alternative stimulation and keeping it stuck.


A good belly laugh can do the world of good and make us feel happy and alive. Even if you fake it till you make it, laughter and feeling happy reduces stress and anxiety and certainly makes life fun.

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  • Reply Erica/Erika April 2, 2019 at 01:29

    Hi Sue, Your post on “Zen” really resonates with me and likely most of us. I am pretty good on 3 out of the 5 categories. It is the “sleep” and middle of the night “cognitive wandering” that has been a challenge for me all of my life. I think this is the case for a lot of women. This is why I gravitated to the Mindfulness Apps listed on your initial #ActiveApril Week 1 post. I read Dan Harris “10% Happier” book a few months ago. A candid, interesting book. I may check out his app. The walking meditation is like brushing teeth for me. Thanks for all of your effort and research, Sue.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 2, 2019 at 05:22

      Hi Erica, sleep is an issue for me although lately for some reason I have been sleeping better. My problem is that if I wake at say 2am that is it for the night, I can’t get back to sleep. I agree ‘Cognitive Wandering’ doesn’t come easily because we have been conditioned to work hard and in the case of women, for many years, we had to be Wonder Woman and try to do it all. I now find that running helps. If I have a problem I go for a run and let my mind wander for a while. Usually by the end of the run I’ve found clarity and can come back to solve my problem. So pleased you are enjoying the #ActiveApril and have a great week. x

  • Reply Janet Mary Cobb April 2, 2019 at 03:14

    Sue – this reminds me of the old parable about the two monks in training who approached their mentor. The first asked, “Can I play tennis while I pray?” And the mentor said no. But when the second asked, “Can I pray while I play tennis?” the mentor said, “Of course.” Isn’t it all about mindfulness and purpose? Another great post!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 2, 2019 at 05:24

      I love your wisdom Janet and always appreciate your insightful comments. It is all about being mindful and having purpose in all that we do. I’ve enjoyed your ‘A’ is for Ask post and the perfect way to approach self-care. I’ve referenced in an upcoming post on Emotional Eating. I look forward to reading all of your AtoZ. x

  • Reply Min @ Write of the Middle April 2, 2019 at 08:29

    Great post Sue. I agree that being active helps reduce stress and therefore helps towards achieving some zen! I’m a terrible overthinker and worrier so cognitive wandering is something I need more of. I could use more frequent belly laughs too! I’m sleeping good lately but I just don’t sleep long enough – waking very early most mornings and unable to get back to sleep. Thanks so much for linking up with #ZTT and have a great week! xo

  • Reply Retirement Reflections April 2, 2019 at 12:32

    “Work less, walk more.” I wish that I had learned this lesson a long time ago.
    Good thing that it is never too late to learn.
    I agree that Zen & positive activity go well together!

  • Reply Debbie April 2, 2019 at 19:56

    I’m a huge fan of cognitive wandering, except I didn’t know itv was called that until reading your post Sue!! These are all great tips and we need to be aware of them in our quest for a healthy life. Great post for #ztt

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 2, 2019 at 19:56

    I like the idea of Cognative Wandering – it’s basically what I do every morning + a bit of mindfulness thrown into the mix. I definitely think our brains benefit from fresh air and a change of scenery.

  • Reply Miriam April 8, 2019 at 20:19

    Great post Sue. It’s so true that working less and walking more has a positive effect on both the mind and body. Here’s to a zenful month ahead. xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 11, 2019 at 08:23

      And the same to you Miriam. You always look so relaxed and contented so you must be doing something right! Enjoy your week xx

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