Monday, September 23, 2013

The Modern Girl's Guide to Being Zen

Of all the trends in effect these days the healthiest has to be the Zen Trend.  And let me tell you, everybody is doing it.  I cannot tell you the number of tees adorned with floating Buddha men or the word "Namaste" printed on the front. Now, as a New Yorker I can honestly say that not everyone donning Mala beads is working on their inner peace. That isn't to say that you can't.  I imagine that people who make time to chill out are healthier than people who don't acknowledge their stress. 

Be active
As we know stress is like cancer to the body.  So calming down and taking some moments to heal ourselves is a must.  And its perfectly simple.  First you need to get a good workout going.  Everyone has heard of runners high and we all know about the bazillions of studies and articles linking exercise to the release of endorphins.  It seems that after a tough day we're told we just want to relax.  But the body hasn't physically worked out all of the day's tension.  So you have to make moves: yoga, running, swimming, dancing- pick your poison. 

Show gratitude
Next you want to take the time to really think about all the little things you should be grateful for.  I feel like every morning while you're brushing your teeth or walking the dog you should spend the time thinking of why you're fortunate.  It's the really simple things like running water, being able to take a taxi, having motor skills or sight, a nice family... just take some moments to really appreciate what you have.  Thank God, the universe, mother earth, your parents, Darwinism or whatever you believe in.  The point is when you take time to realize what you have, even the little things that we forget about like brain capacity, your friends, freedom; Just know that there is so much of the world living and enduring without the things that seem ordinary.  When you realize you should take nothing for granted you may find it soothing to see just all that you have.

Spend time with animals
Speaking of walking the dog, you may want to consider getting a pet.  Get a fish or a bird or a cat and if you can't have pets for whatever reason spend time with your friends pets or volunteer at a shelter or even go to the aquarium.  So studies have also shown that pets are pretty freaking soothing.  And there isn't a formula for what kind of pet you should have.  Universally our furry, feathered and scaly friends lower our anxiety and blood pressure levels and just make us smile.  I have a cat who is always happy to see me and a friend who's had her chinchilla Pepe for almost a decade (apparently these little guys live forever) and these guys are so calming.  And all of my friends with pets seem to be so calm.  But hey, if you can't have one because of allergies or house rules or finances follow some on Instagram or Tumblr. There are some really cute pet accounts.

Get out there and do some good
Oh man sometimes it seems like there isn't time to volunteer.  I know I am not a lady with any real free time but there are little things you can do that help on a smaller scale and make you feel better.  Little things like recycling, giving a couple dollars or a sandwich to the homeless guy on the corner, smiling at strangers or giving a genuine compliment. It makes you and someone else feel good and that's important.  Even just holding the door for the dad with a stroller and a 4 year old struggling to exit the Duane Reade.  Lending a helping hand is good for everyone.  And positivity begets positivity.  Call it karma or whatever but when you put good in you get good back.

See the world
Save your money and travel.  Fly to London for the weekend, see the Grand Canyon, even get lost in different parts of your city.  Nothing puts things in perspective more than seeing a different culture and allowing yourself to experience something new.  

Its all so simple.  This is seriously a bandwagon you should leap onto.  Nothing feels better than realizing you're happy and focusing on the positive.  The world can be an ugly place and people can really get to you and break you down.  But if you actively pursue "calm", you can pacify the "crazy" and spread the love.

Sound good?  Let's get zen.


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