Health & Wellness Zen Tip Tuesday

#ZTT – Finding clarity in your day

March 11, 2019
Clarity in a busy day

The word ‘Zen’ to me conjures images of peace, harmony and feeling at one with yourself and the world.

The 21st Century lifestyle is busy and the majority of us are trying to find ways to bring balance and to focus on the important areas of our lives.

The Urban Dictionary describes Zen as: ‘a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind.  Zen is a way of being. It also is a state of mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts.’

Being mindful and taking time each day to breathe, focus on the moment and ensuring that we schedule in down time, helps us to find clarity and bring some calm and order to our state of being. 

How to find mental clarity in a busy day

Meditation is a great way to introduce calmness into your life.  I never thought I could clear my mind long enough to meditate but with practice you can achieve a meaningful meditation. I have also learned that it is okay for our minds to wander during meditation. We just accept it and then return to our breath and focus.

Incorporating some form of meditation each day will bring inner peace and calmness to cope with the problems of the day. However, some of us struggle to remain calm and focused because of our ‘monkey minds’ that just won’t keep quite and still.

Creating your own 3 word mantra for the day helps during times of stress and anxiety. Select 3 words that have a meaning for you. Repeating your 3 word mantra throughout your day will bring focus and clarity to your mind.

8 benefits of bringing more ‘Zen’ into your life

  1. Provides clarity of mind
  2. Encourages us to have an open mind to life and what it offers
  3. Improves our concentration
  4. Improves our sleep
  5. Can provide a new perspective on problem solving
  6. Reduces anxiety and stress
  7. Helps you to recognize your feelings
  8. Brings mindfulness and self-reflection

Try the following breathing exercise for at least 5 minutes – you can spare 5 minutes for your health and well-being can’t you?

The Square Breathing Technique

Square breathing is a very simple technique and a method to focus the mind using controlled, deliberate breathing.

A square has four equal sides. And, square breathing has four equal sections.

  • Find a quiet place where you can comfortably sit or lie down without distraction.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Take a moment to try to clear your mind – focus on something that makes you feel good
  • Breathe for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds and hold the breath for 4 seconds. Repeat for 5, 10 or 15 minutes

If you are feeling stressed or anxious at any time during the day and practice Square Breathing.

Joining Min at Write of the Middle for Zen Tip Tuesday.

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  • Reply Candi Randolph March 12, 2019 at 06:03

    I practice a morning routine that involves scripture and prayer, and that is very helpful to me and helps me to start the day with focus. Having said that, I can see the benefit to taking time during the day for ‘square breathing’. It’s simple and sounds like it would do a world of good to slow down and just breath/relax for 5 or 10 minutes. Thanks, Sue! xo

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 12, 2019 at 06:23

      Hi Candi, yes I like to ease into my mornings with some planning. I do like the idea of ‘square breathing’ throughout the day when life takes over and we can become overwhelmed. Have a great week! xx

  • Reply Min @ Write of the Middle March 12, 2019 at 08:33

    Hi Sue – as you know, I’ve been wanting to cultivate a daily practice of meditation into my life but haven’t managed to yet. However, now that a certain ‘painting job’ has been completed, I have the spare room back and have rolled out my yoga mat and have a dedicated space now. My plan is incorporate some daily yoga AND meditation to my routine. Just need to sort out an app to provide what I need. I know there’s the one you recommend so I’ll have another look – hoping for free or low cost at least. I totally agree with your 8 benefits of bringing more zen into your life! Looking after yourself in this way has a flow on affect not just spiritually but mentally and physically and contributes more than people might realise to our overall sense of wellbeing. Thanks so much for linking up with #ZTT xo

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 12, 2019 at 16:25

      Hi Min I use the free Yoga Studio but also on YouTube Yoga with Adriene who I just love. I really enjoy her yoga practice and if I don’t do it I find I miss her. Her personality is lovely. I would love a dedicated room but in a two bedroom apartment where we are moving to that won’t happen. I do have the ocean at the door though so perhaps my Zen place will be on the beach. Thanks for the link up as it certainly prompts me to explore ways to be calmer and more at peace in our lives. x

  • Reply Debbie March 12, 2019 at 09:34

    This says it all to me Sue, I was feeling a bit confused about zen, but you have clarified it for me. So much so I I have actually updated an older post and joined up with Min’s #ZTT for the first time.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 12, 2019 at 16:26

      I think Zen is one of those words Deb that people can’t really relate to or think it is some hippy, airy fairy kind of thing. I’m so pleased that I unwittingly clarified it for you and I enjoyed reading your post about reading which is definitely one of the places where I find Zen in my life! I just love a good book x

      • Reply Debbie March 13, 2019 at 17:59

        I enjoyed this again Sue and am sharing for #mlstl

  • Reply Leanne | March 12, 2019 at 12:51

    I’m a big fan of mindful breathing Sue – I use it at night to help me fall asleep and sometimes during the day if I’m feeling a little stressed by what’s going on around me. I’m not a fan of clearing your mind but I like how you describe it – where it’s more about being in the moment and being present.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 12, 2019 at 16:27

      Hi Leanne, yes I’m not one for clearing my head and once I accepted that I find that I can at least find some space to just feel more relaxed and calm. This breathing technique is so easy and as you say you can do it during the day or just before sleep. xx

      • Reply Leanne | March 13, 2019 at 13:23

        Hi Sue – off and running for another #MLSTL. Thanks for sharing the love with me and I’m off to pin and flip and whatever else, your lovely post xx

  • Reply Jennifer March 12, 2019 at 20:49

    I love breathing exercises and have used this one in the past. My go-to breathing exercise is to just pause, close my eyes and bring my attention to my nose so I can pay attention to how the air feels as I breathe in and out. I usually stay there until I can feel the difference in the breath on the inhale (coolness) and on the exhale (warmth.) If I can’t feel it, then I know my mind is too busy and I need to continue until I can feel that subtle difference.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 13, 2019 at 11:57

      Hi Jennifer, I’m going to try your go-to breathing exercise thanks for the tip and have a great week! xx

    • Reply Leanne | March 13, 2019 at 13:24

      Hi Sue – off and running for another #MLSTL. Thanks for sharing the love with me and I’m off to pin and flip and whatever else, your lovely post xx

  • Reply Natalie March 13, 2019 at 06:59

    Well said, Sue. I like your question “You can spare 5 minutes for your health and well-being can’t you?”. The breathing technique is simple and powerful. I practice it, too. #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 13, 2019 at 11:58

      I’m not great at breathing techniques, Natalie and usually forget to breathe especially when doing exercise 🙂 This one I found simple and effective. Yes it is a good question, because 5 minutes out of our day is nothing. Thanks for linking up to #MLSTL and enjoy the rest of your week. x

  • Reply Michele March 13, 2019 at 10:31

    If I had understood the power of taking some quiet meditative time for myself I would have started doing it years ago! I think I was intimidated by the details of meditation, but it really is just quieting your brain so that you can listen with your heart and body. There are lots of ways to do that and deep breathing definitely helps. I do find clarity in it.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 13, 2019 at 12:00

      I hear you Michele. I always thought Meditation was too difficult as I have a busy mind. I tried Mindful in May last year and found the meditations were just too hard for me to concentrate. Now that I know that it doesn’t matter if my mind wanders I find I can focus much better. It is all about learning, isn’t it? Have a beautiful week, Michele. x

  • Reply Christie Hawkes March 13, 2019 at 10:56

    Like you, I didn’t think I could quiet my mind enough for a good meditation session. As soon as I learned I don’t need to fight against my thoughts, but just keep returning to my breathing, I was able to relax. Over time, I’ve come to really enjoy my meditation and realize the benefits. I have tried several breathing exercises, but not the square breathing technique. I’m going to give it a go. Thanks Sue. #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 13, 2019 at 12:01

      Hi Christie, the Square Breathing technique is so simple, even I can do it! Like you I could never quiet my mind but now that I accept that during meditation, I find my mind clears quickly. It is a learning experience isn’t it? Have a great week and thanks for stopping by x

  • Reply Nancy Dobbins March 13, 2019 at 11:15

    Hi Sue,
    I loved reading this post and got a lot out of it. It also connects to a lot of the info I have been reading about health and happiness.
    I like the square breathing idea…it is very concrete and do-able. And I know that mindful breathing is very beneficial in many ways.
    Shared to SM…lovin’ #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 13, 2019 at 12:03

      Hi Nancy thank you for your continued support of my blog and encouraging comments. I liked the square breathing idea because it is simple and easy to do. I’ve been enjoying your happiness course that you have been doing and thinking of doing something similar myself. Have a great week and lovely that we have connected through blogging. How is the knitting going? xx

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee March 13, 2019 at 11:48

    Great tips. I need a bit more of this at the moment. #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 13, 2019 at 11:55

      We can all do with more clarity, Lydia. Have a great week!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 13, 2019 at 12:03

      We can all do with more clarity, can’t we Lydia? Have a great week. xx

  • Reply Victoria March 14, 2019 at 05:09

    I sure can use that square breathing. Clarity is something I am missing from my life most days.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 18, 2019 at 08:49

      Hi Victoria it is so easy to do which I like. I don’t need to be concentrating too much while I’m trying to relax! Take care and thanks for stopping by xx

  • Reply suzanne March 15, 2019 at 04:18

    Love the square breathing technique. I have never heard of it before.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 18, 2019 at 08:42

      I hadn’t heard of it before either, Suzanne but it is so easy to remember – only 4 counts! Have a great week. xx

  • Reply Trisha Faye March 17, 2019 at 08:13

    “…you can spare 5 minutes for your health and well-being can’t you?”
    That’s my favorite part. I think sometimes we make it so involved that we don’t follow through with what we want to do. It seems like a huge commitment in time and energy. Yet, you’re right. Many things we can do to improve our life, our outlook, and our overall sense of peace only require 5 minutes.
    Thanks for another inspiring post.
    Sharing for MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 18, 2019 at 08:37

      Exactly Trisha and when we put it in perspective 5 minutes is nothing in our day. We find that if we make the effort of 5 minutes we carry on longer anyway. Glad you enjoyed the post and have a fabulous week. xx

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