“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle
In this post, we'd like to share a few simple practices that we like to incorporate in our daily lives to promote zen living. We believe that it's imperative for individuals to prioritize personal development because that ultimately helps to improve the health of their relationships.
Shout out to neurofitlifesystems.com for introducing us to many of these concepts in 2011!
Here are the 7 suggestions to boost your zen living today:
1. Develop a Morning Routine
What do you need to start off your day with energy, intention and confidence every time? Before leaving your home, or tuning into any form of media, do a few things to ground yourself.
We do the following 10 minutes of exercises as soon as we wake up to align the mind, body, and soul in preparation for each day. We call them morning exercises. We do at least 25 reps of each exercise and true purpose is to focus on breathing deeply and moving in a controlled fashion! It's not really about muscle building.
2-3 of your favourite core stabilizing exercises
Slow push ups for overall stability and activation
Bodyweight squats and lunges to activate our legs
Static and dynamic stretches to promote circulation
Getting started: Start with one morning routine that is easy and simple to begin with and do that for 3 weeks before adding more to your routine.
2. Develop a Bedtime Routine
Incorporating a bedtime routine helps signal to your brain that it's time to slow down, which will help increase the quality of sleep. What do you need to close off your day to go to sleep happy and to wake up feeling amazing?
Beyond avoiding blue light an hour or so before bed and stretching a little before sleep, we optimize our pre-sleep by journaling. Journaling helps to infuse us with peace, gratitude and a sense of direction for the next day.
This is what we write each night:
Three things you are GRATEFUL for from the day & why (IE: I had the opportunity to interact with like-minded individuals because it motivated me to continue following my passion)
What you are GRATEFUL for in ADVANCE (IE: becoming healthier by jogging each morning)
GOALS for the next day that you would like to accomplish and that align with your long-term goals (IE: try a vegetarian meal)
Getting Started: Find or make a journal that connects to you and that inspires you to reflect on yourself! It’s worth it! Then, start with 1 gratitude statement per night.
3. Integrate Some Form of Daily Meditation
Meditation is one of our favourite practices because it’s so versatile and practical. You can do it for many purposes, anywhere, and anytime! The results are a sense of control, peace, and vitality. There is an abundance of science backing meditation.
Getting started: If you have never meditated before check out YouTube for some guided mindfulness meditation clips to begin the learning process! Speak to a practitioner for specific guidance.
4. Move Your Body
Part of our routine involves treating our bodies as temples. One component of this is to make your body work! For example, David used to work out regularly and do martial arts. These days, he focuses on tabata sprints and Karate each week.
Lindsey used to do a circuit program at least once a week, did ab exercises when she gets home from work, and jogged each morning. These days, she practices yoga and exercises at lunch.
Note that everyone has different needs and that they change depending on circumstances. Explore activities or exercises to figure out what’s right for your mind and body space. For example, jogging is good for David’s mind but not good for his body at this time.
Getting Started: To get started, see 20 tips to set up an environment fit for fitness.
5. Consume Powerful Food and Content
Along the lines of treating your mind and body as a temple, fill your mind and body with less s***. We are generally conscious about what we eat or read/listen to and how it can not only affect our mind and body but how it works together.
There's a lot of research that shows that eating healthier can improve your mind, body and mood! We typically make sure that our grocery bags contain no unnecessary processed foods and have more vegetables and fruits than anything else.
There's also a lot of research, particularly from positive psychology, demonstrating that your your thoughts guide your feelings, so fuel your thoughts with positive content. We indulge in a book or a podcast that connects with our live's missions every day. This has been so great for our development. We also avoid listening to the news or gossip in the morning and at night, so we can start and end our days with positivity and gratitude.
Getting started: Scan the self-help section in a bookstore or online and listen to or read during your commute or before bed. Even if it's only for 10 minutes to begin with.
6. Surround Yourself With Positive Energy
Spend time with people who love themselves: Being authentic and positive is hard if you’re not in an authentic and positive environment. Make friends who believe in themselves, who bring people up, and who are open-minded.
Be nice without expectations: To yourself, to loved ones, and to strangers. Without expecting anything in return. See for yourself how great it can be.
Chill in nature: Enjoy your natural surroundings. It’s been proven that being in nature at least once a day improves overall health and longevity.
Simplify your living and work spaces: Spend a day making more space in your spaces and adding inspirational elements to your spaces.
Getting started: Which one of the above points speak to you most? Try it or plan for it right now!
7. Access The Power of Your Breath
Interrupt stress and negativity anytime you want by taking 4 very deep and slow breaths from the belly to give yourself some perspective and to calm your nervous system.
When you do this, relax your neck, back, and face muscles and smile. Be in the moment and carry that energy when get back to work.
Getting started: Try it right now.
This post isn't meant to be prescriptive. It's more of an inventory of what we've done to empower our lives as individuals and as a couple. We're sharing it with you in the hopes of providing a source for inspiration and exchange.
How do you build yourself and each other up each day? Which of these practices are you most interested in trying and why? Let us know on our Facebook group!
“Our daily actions speak louder than our biggest words.” Start now.