FINDING YOUR ZEN
How much difference would it make to your life if you woke up energised and refreshed, and moved through your life feeling more relaxed and at peace?
You will, I’m sure, have some understanding of the stress response and that it has a lot to answer for – it has been connected to everything from exhaustion to every illness under the sun.
There is a big body of research to support the claim that the best way to combat the stress response is to regulate your nervous system.
The fastest, and the most efficient way that I have found to do this is through a combination of breathing, and lying on a zen mat – both of which have an effect in their own right, however, in my personal and professional experience, when they join forces, miracles happen.
A BIT ON BREATHING
The single most effective way of soothing both the nervous system and the overworked mind is a timed breath where the exhale is longer than the inhale.
This activates the Vagus nerve, that runs from your neck down through the diaphragm, sending a signal to your brain that it is safe to relax.
Here is a blog I wrote that goes into a little more depth and offers some ideas on how to incorporate the breath into your busy life.
INTRODUCING THE ZEN MAT
Also, known as an acupressure mat, they are a safe, non-toxic and cost-effective holistic treatment that stimulates blood and energy circulation, calms the nervous system and triggers the body’s innate healing mechanisms. It is an excellent tool for easing tension and inducing a deep state of relaxation, amongst other benefits.
As points on your skin are stimulated and your body begins to relax it will move from the adrenaline-driven ‘fight and flight’ of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), to the relaxed ‘rest, digest and repair’ state of the parasympathetic (PNS) nervous system, which is what we are after.
They don’t take a long time to work, either. Many people use them for 10-15 minutes a day and experience significant results.
LET’S GET PRACTICAL
My personal favorite way of incorporating this practice into my day is placing my zen mat in bed and combining it with a breathing exercise or guided meditation before falling asleep. Learn more about how meditation can benefit you in this blog post.
I started with 10 minutes and now I often find myself sleeping on it for the entire night. BEST SLEEP EVER! Identify with trouble sleeping? Need some support in setting up a bedtime ritual? You can access The Zen Division’s ‘7 Steps to a Zenful Night’, here.
The Zen Division is dedicated to inspiring mindful living and promoting intentional self-care because we know the challenges that contemporary life presents. We know that you know WHAT you can do, but also that it’s a challenge to actually do them.
The Zen Division also provides face-to-face counselling sessions and workshops, including hosting a free online self-care group for women where we share, support and celebrate our self-care journeys together. So, don’t go it alone, come and join us in Zententions, we’d love to have you.
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