Zen Life Skills

Notes for Mental Peace

  1. Make movement an inevitable part of your life

Mental peace starts with good physical and emotional health. Often, we get stuck into a rut when it comes to our jobs, and daily lives. We forget to move our bodies as much as we could. Now, we could give excuses like we have a sedentary job and household responsibilities and have no time for exercise.  But we forget that exercising for an hour a day is not the only way to achieve the movement we need.  Simple things like walking to the nearest railway station while travelling to work or taking the stairs instead of the lift can make a huge difference in our mood.  We are conditioned to ignore such baby steps that we can take to get the movement we need in our bodies.  Our brain is only as good as the neurochemicals and the feel-good hormones it can create and our heart is good only when it can race (well sometimes… you know what I mean).  So, ditch that elevator, TODAY!

  • Remember that saying ‘yes’ to something means saying ‘no’ to something else.

Many of us have the tendency to say ‘yes’ to every task that is requested of us.  Don’t get me wrong, this is the most important quality required at the beginning of your career when you are learning the ropes of your industry.  However, as you spend enough time in your field, you identify your strengths and move towards particular roles that suit you better than others.  It can be quite difficult to discontinue doing the tasks that you did previously. Stop yourself and reframe the situation by asking yourself ‘Will this not get done if I don’t interfere?’  Get involved only if the answer to that question is a resounding ‘YES’.  Make sure to think from the POV of all stakeholders involved.

  • Ditch perfection.

When we are used to giving our best, we expect the same from others.  So, work on understanding the difference between being effective and being perfect.  Sometimes ‘effective’ and ‘efficient’ is better than ‘perfect’.  Next time when you make that PPT, think about whether it performs the function it is designed for.  If yes, stop beautifying it beyond a point. Next time, you bake that cake, instead of going for a detailed icing that takes you an hour, just pour some chocolate syrup on it and relish it.  (Well unless you are baking for sale of course)

  • Lovingly, let go of tasks, skills and people that don’t lead to joy.

There are certain things you enjoyed in the past, such as some hobbies that you enjoyed.  You look back at your life and wonder what happened?  Why don’t you spare time for those hobbies or people or tasks?  Well, you have evolved babe! There are certain other hobbies which if you cultivate today, can lead to immense growth in your life. There are other people who you need to meet to grow your mindset. Identify which ones you want to keep and then lovingly, surrender the other ones.  Ask your muse or the universe or God (whatever you call the greater force) to lend that skill or deliver that hobby to someone else who might need it. This step is important because otherwise, you will just keep beating yourself up for not doing things that you once loved while you don’t even realise that those hobbies don’t bring you joy in the present life that you have built.

  • Don’t be afraid of being perceived as ‘Too ____’ (fill in the blank with the most common label people use for you)

Societal labels are omnipresent.  Don’t let them become omnipotent in your life.  ‘You are too fat’, ‘you talk too much’, ‘you are too thin’, ‘You are too ambitious ‘, ‘You are too old for’ ‘you are too XYZ, ABC’…. Anything that accompanies the word ‘too’ is an opinion.  Opinions are like wild fires, easy to spread and difficult to control. So next time when someone goes ‘Too+an adjective’ with you, say thank you for the compliment and move on.  You have a choice and can decide what to do with opinions and the choice includes throwing them in a garbage bin.

  • Acknowledge your fears and then, do the fear-inducing things anyway.

There is only one thing that stands between you and the life you want.  For instance, if you ask for that raise at work, you might be ridiculed.  Guess what, ask anyways! Starting that side hustle/blog/business may open you up for judgement from a lot of people including your own family.  You know what, start it anyways! Often your fears are the compass that guides you to the most important things in your life. Lovingly acknowledge your fears and then do those things anyways.  You never know what you will discover about yourself if you don’t allow fear to make your decisions for you.

  • Trust your intuition, its there for a reason.

Sometimes we sense all kinds of red flags before signing up for a project / job or while starting an association with someone.  We ignore the red flags because we get blindsided by the so-called potential benefits of this endeavour. Remember no job, project or person is more important than your mental well-being.  If the little voice in your head is jumping up and down trying to catch your attention, or you feel physical signs of discomfort in the presence of someone, get out! With immediate effect! 

  • Show gratitude openly.

People who anchor you to your roots or hold the fort in your absence deserve your attention.  In the multi-verse of the several jobs, roles and hobbies that you hold together, do not forget to thank those that enable your multi-passionate journey. The more gratitude you bring into your mindset, the more abundance, spaciousness and energy you can bring into your life.  Knowing that there are people in this world who have your back can push you into a different zone of confidence.

  • Start before you are ready.

I wish I had invented this notion.  But no, I heard it from an online mentor, Marie Forleo, whose videos have brought me a wealth of wisdom.  While talking about this strategy, Marie talks about the importance of acknowledging the fact that its almost always impossible to know the outcome of any endeavour before-hand.  Most successful people usually make a choice to reach a particular goal and then take baby steps towards their goal.  They gradually figure out the path to that destination. Of course, there are false starts, detours, failures, losses, judgments, hate comments, etc on the way.  However, if you keep waiting to feel ‘ready’ before you take action, then you would never start anything worthwhile.  You will just lose your peace of mind beating yourself up for not trying. If you fail, you can always pick yourself up and go on with the lives you had prior to that failure, unless you have so damn defeated your spirit with ego-based success metrics.  This leads us to the last point.

  • Fill your cup first.

NEVER deplete yourself so much that you cannot pick yourself up. Before you give your time effort and energy to anyone else, give these things to yourself.  Take the time to learn skills at a job before you start-up on your own.  Learning from the example of mentors or seniors at work is the best gift you can give yourself. Before you spend your money on fancy equipment or expensive courses or degrees, make sure you invest and save your money regularly.  No course or degree can replace the sense of security you feel when you have a financial cushion to fall back on when you try out the detours and survive the false-starts that you would inevitably face.  This way, even if you fail in your endeavours, you would not risk the well-being of those who depend on you. ALWAYS take care of yourself FIRST!

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