Life continually changes, and with these changes, how we adapt and accept the changes determines how we move through the world. Having strong skill sets in problem-solving and self-soothing are the tools we all need to develop to meet the challenges.
It can feel like there is a never-ending urgency at every turn, inducing anxiety and overwhelming us to the point of depression. The daily news often adds to our distress, and social media triggers insecurity and self-doubt in all its addictiveness. Then add in the responsibilities of work and family, and it’s easy to understand why it is so crucial to create a personal Zen space for washing away the noise and negativity of modern life.
Intentionally allowing ourselves to have a safe space where we can embrace clarity and peace of mind can break the pull of chaos and ground us here and now. Having a simplified environment at home or work, perhaps even both is a kindness we can give ourselves to promote wellness.
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What Is A Zen Space?
A Zen space is your retreat, created by you, to be meditative and relaxing. This space is a place to calm, soothe, regenerate, and is customized with that which evokes serenity and calmness in your own life.
As a typical Canadian girl, I try to capture the feeling of sitting by the lake as the sun rises, with the birds just waking up and the mist dissipating over the water. The sound of gentle waves is deeply soothing to me. There are no wrong answers to define what is entirely peaceful to you.
Are you able to think of a time and place where you felt calm and in unity with yourself; perhaps there are even a few different scenarios. Consider what the unique elements that combine to evoke that feeling may be.
What To Look For In A Zen Space?
There are no hard and fast rules for a Zen location or size. It can be an entire house or the corner of a room. It can be at home, work, or another place you frequent; some companies may even provide a space for their staff to use.
When you are looking at where to place your Zen space it is very important to notice how your body reacts in the space. The more comfortable and safe the space feels the more you will be able to benefit from this space. Does it automatically drop tension? Can you breathe a little deeper? Is it somehow soothing in a way that your heart rate slows and your blood pressure drops? Do you feel drawn, like you could spend time sitting peacefully?
My biggest challenge is slowing down my mind from continually focusing on the next thing on my list. The goal is to have a simplified environment where you instinctively relax in comfort. It will speak to your mind as a place that you can experience peace. It will talk to your body as well, and you will feel various parts relax. Perhaps for you, your sense of smell is the sense that brings you that moment or maybe it is through your other senses. What do you smell? Hear? Feel? The sum of all the parts come together for the encounter.
What Do I Do In A Zen Space?
A Zen space is a grounding place to experience your body in the present moment. It is a place to go throughout your day to deal with your anxiety, depression and dissociation, or a place to review your day and let it go, or both.
When in this space, begin by breathing and experience the peacefulness around you. Play music that is calming and contributes to serenity.
When my anxiety is fully active and has taken a toll on me, my neck and shoulders will be so tight it seems as though they are up to my ears in a semi-permanent shrug, and my breathing is shallow from tensed muscles. I find a comfortable position to rest and meditate and pray until I am calm, my shoulders are relaxed, and my breathing is deep.
You can assume a sitting posture or lay down; it is essential to be comfortable so that your mind is free of distraction. Take the time to be mindful about how your body is feeling, tune your awareness to each part, and let it tell you where tension and pain reside.
Meditate and release the negativity, absorb the peace and serenity in its place. When you exit your Zen space, you will be more mindful, leaving with clarity in your thinking and the calmness to navigate the rest of your day.
Suggestions For Items To Place In Your Zen Space?
Customizing a Zen space is dependent on your aesthetic. Generally, they are uncluttered and display items that bring you feelings of peace or remind you of a time and place that you felt at ease and grounded to the earth.
Think of the five senses and incorporate items that stimulate each one. Decorate your space with calming pictures of scenery, animals, family, or even heroes, anything that adds to the feeling of serenity. If there are particular items or religious objects that speak to you, include them.
Consider a soft carpet, mat or a blanket to sit or lie down on. The ideas is to create a comfortable environment that is inviting. If the Zen space is too hot or too cold, you may need a quiet fan or heater.
Incense, a diffuser or candles in a favourite scent can transform a corner of your living room into a bamboo forest, the beach, or a sunny lavender field, and the addition of a salt lamp can provide soft lighting. The sound from a singing bowl or the addition of gentle music or relaxation recordings is helpful to ground yourself and bring serenity. All items you incorporate into your space are there to help you form a relaxing space.
Creating your own Zen space is an incredibly important gift we can give ourselves. We all experience emotions that can weigh us down and diminish our happiness and our ability to thrive in life. Helping those around us without also caring for ourselves is impossible. When life gets overwhelming, having a Zen-like space infuses us with comfort, clarity, and serenity.
A safe place to touch base with our inner self feeds our soul and allows us to be.