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
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.
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.