In my journeys to Kyoto, I always take the time to visit one of the oldest temples in Kyoto and meditate. In a busy life, it can be easy to get swept up among the to-do lists, swim lessons with my daughter and morning meetings. Often, an hour of meditation feels out of reach.
However, many of the practices—and benefits—of meditation and zen philosophies can be incorporated into even the busiest of days. I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite easy ways towards a more worry-free day.
The most important is to take a moment for self-care. Particularly these days as the seasons change, it seems like there can be so many things to worry about in our skin, whether it’s too oily in some areas, too dry in others, if our pores look too big, or there’s a pesky last minute breakout before a big event.
Tatcha’s new Water Cream was created to bring zen to your skincare ritual. The unique oil-free formula bursts on skin to release refreshing hydration and powerful Japanese botanicals for smooth, poreless skin, making your skin one less thing to worry about. With its pure, minimal ingredients formulated with everything you need and nothing you don’t, it’s even easier to be worry-free.
Some other zen-inspired daily tips:
Wash your face each morning. Before walking into a temple or shrine in Japan, each person washes their hands to refresh and purify their minds—a clean beginning. Starting the day with a clean face and hands allows you a new beginning, each and every morning.
Single-task. There is a zen saying: “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” These days, multitasking is a fact of life, but it’s worth focusing on the things that matter. When your mind is not juggling many things, it reduces stress to bring skin a rosy glow and clear complexion.
Forego your headphones. When meditating, you can either sit in a quiet room to think inward, or in an open room by the garden to better connect with the sounds of nature around you. I like to turn off the radio on my drive into work, or go for a walk with only my thoughts for company. It’s an opportunity to get more in touch with your breath and your body.
Spend time with friends. I recently fell in love with the KonMari method—inspired by Japanese essentialism—of simplifying your life and focusing instead on what sparks joy for you. Forego the gym membership for a weekly walk with friends, or cleanse your closet and reward yourself with a new purchase.
Give someone a sincere compliment. One core principle of zen is serving others, through volunteering or acts of humility. Although it can be hard to find the time to serve others, this can be incorporated into every day. Even a bright smile or a kind word helps to improve someone’s day, giving you—and them—radiance from the inside out.
Don’t be swept away. There is a beautiful Zen saying about the futility of stress: “If the problem has a solution, worrying is pointless as in the end the problem will be solved. If the problem has no solution, there is no reason to worry, because it can’t be solved.” Instead of fretting over things that you can’t control, focus on the things you can.
Look at a tree. Inspiration from nature is core to Japanese meditation practices. One beautiful analogy from a Buddhist monk says to observe how a tree sheds its leaves and twigs, but maintains a strong core. This illustrates how we can consider a new perspective, without compromising what is important.
Find a mantra. Do you hope to be more calm? More present? Grateful? Reciting a mantra comes from Japanese meditation practices. Choose a mantra that focuses on your goal and repeat it to yourself whenever you think of it, silently and aloud.
Think about your body. Many people think that meditation is about quieting your mind—which can seem like a daunting task. Instead, close your eyes and focus on different parts of your body. Are you sore anywhere? Feeling a breeze? Focusing on the sensations you feel is much easier than trying to think about nothing, but has the same de-stressing effect.
I hope these tips and tricks will bring some everyday zen into your life.