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80% of adults experience some form of anxiety or stress on a daily basis. And yet many of us ignore it. We either attempt to put it away in a box somewhere, cite how expensive treatments like prescription drugs or talk therapy are, or the stress simply puts us in a confused state of inaction.
We totally get it. But there’s some good news. Most people can make a certifiable dent to their stress levels by adopting some relatively simple daily activities. These can bring out your inner Zen without costing you a lot of time or money; in fact, they become so routine that you won’t even realize you’re doing it.
Working out isn’t just about getting fitter, losing weight, gaining muscle, or any other obvious physical benefit. Exercise is also an essential component when it comes to reaching your inner zen.
According to a wide range of studies, physical activity has a positive effect on stress levels. The American Psychological Association has a solid report summarizing how exercise acts as an effective stress reliever. Exercise doesn’t just ooze away from the stress, but it boosts your mood and self-esteem.
This is easy, yet often ignored, daily activity that can help boost Zen levels: gardening. It not only provides you with exercise (and we’ve already talked about how physical activity = Zen), but it also helps improve psychological and social health.
There are a variety of things you can try and achieve in your garden, from adding a bit of color through planting flowers, growing your own vegetable patch, and dealing with common issues such as a compacted lawn. So get out there, get your dosage of Vitamin D, and get a little closer to your ultimate Zen self.
Some people call them boring. We call them ‘Zen Booster Shots’. Chores help you feel that you’re on top of things. They help you get rid of that feeling of overwhelm. They create a pleasant living environment. All of these put together = Zen. Here are some easy ones you can do on a daily basis:
- Organize your desk. This one is particularly important if you work from home. Messy desks are not good for productivity. Try and do this before you start your working day.
- Clean out your fridge. Some people see this as a mission impossible, but it’s actually relatively easy once you get started. And that feeling of satisfaction, once you’re done, is soooo worth it.
- Sort out your laundry and wardrobe. We used to do it too, piling our clothes on top of a designated chair in our bedrooms. But it just piles on the stress where you need it least. Instead, make sure you’re on top of your laundry and declutter your wardrobe.
- Did you know that a 30-minute session of vacuuming can have the exact same effect as 15 minutes in a kickboxing ring? It’s true. Work out your legs, core, and biceps by getting rid of some dust.
The modern diet is not good, to put it lightly. It’s often full of processed and unhealthy ingredients, there’s an alarming lack of vegetables, and we’re often too lazy to even try to rectify it. There’s a reason why services like Deliveroo and UberEats are super popular right now. People are sadly losing their interest in the art of cooking.
Instead of putting your dinner in the microwave and catching an episode of Netflix while you eat, why not cook your own meals instead? It’s a useful skill to have, you’ll know exactly what’s going into your food, and the process can be a calming and Zen-boosting experience. You can do the difficult time-consuming parts at the weekend, and supplement with cooked side dishes during the week to save you time. There’s no excuse!
Take a Nap
Most people get between 5-6 hours of sleep per night. The rat race has serious consequences on our health, with a lack of sleep being linked to a range of negative physiological and psychological effects. While the ideal scenario is boosting your sleep anywhere between 7 and 9 hours, it’s not always possible.
The solution? The tried and trusted ‘power nap’. It’s been shown to reduce levels of cortisol in the body, as well as a slew of other stress hormones. Set your alarm to 20 minutes, doze off, and wake up refreshed and ready to take on the world with a little bit of extra Zen.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to do all of these daily activities. In fact, we advise you not to. Changing your routine in an extreme way from one day to the next often means your new habits will never stick; you want to introduce them slowly and layer them accordingly. Do that and soon you will find you’ve reached peak Zen without even realizing it!