Are you barreling through each day, crossing off task after task, and waking up each morning begrudging another iteration? Don’t fret. It happens to the best of us.
It’s easy to lose our sense of inner-peace and purpose when the demands of daily life have significantly modified our routine. The art of zen is about simplifying and getting back to basics; it is about doing things that feel good and also offer feel-good benefits. Don’t over think it, though… this is all about ohm! Here’s some super simple bad habits to ditch to get back to your center:
1. Go easy on the caffeine
How many cups of coffee do you drink? If you’re drinking 4 or more cups per day, you’re probably over-caffeinated. It’s common for many people to over-caffeinate by drinking coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks throughout the day. According to the Mayo Clinic, drinking more than 4 cups of coffee per day is harmful to your body. Regular caffeine over-indulgence of 500-600 milligrams can lead to severe caffeine dependency. Too much caffeine results in a slew of side effects that keep you off-center, such as insomnia, anxiety, and headaches. It can also make you physically ill because caffeine can increase the acids in the stomach. Consider cutting back on caffeine intake to no more than 300 milligrams per day to stay zen-tered. Gain energy in other ways, like a mid-day workout to give you a natural boost.
2. Grub down early
Unfortunately, a Starbucks coffee does not equate to a healthy breakfast. Kick-start your metabolism and eat something within two hours of waking up. Studies show that people who eat breakfast can better control their weight. Skipping breakfast leads to poor food judgment calls throughout the day, as well as less energy. Some people skip breakfast to cut calories, but skipping breakfast can actually lead to consuming more calories throughout the day because the body is operating on empty. Eating a healthy breakfast can curb your appetite. When lunch comes around, you won’t be as ravenous and and therefore you are less likely to eat a large meal. No time in the morning? Grab a piece of fruit or a granola bar that you can eat on the go.
3. Stop collecting sleep debt
It can be a vicious cycle: stay up late and collect sleep debt, only to combat the lack of rest with loads of caffeine the next morning. Sleep is important to physically and mentally restore our bodies. According to a Harvard study, led by Harvard Medical School (HMS) neurology instructor Daniel A. Cohen, M.D, the human brain keeps a close record of waking and sleeping hours. The brain keeps a sleep log dating back several weeks. What does this mean? It means that the bigger the sleep debt, the quicker our performance worsens. Aside from increasing alertness, sleeping more can actually make you skinnier.
4. Get hydrated
Staying hydrated is essential to heart health, fat metabolism, and your brain. As simple as it sounds to drink more water, most people don’t stay hydrated. You don’t have to be parched in the hot desert to suffer from dehydration. It’s possible to suffer from mild dehydration in the middle of an air-conditioned room. One of the symptoms of dehydration is fatigue. It’s a sign that the body has lost too much fluid and it needs to be replaced. How much water should you be drinking each day? Dietitians suggest taking your weight and dividing it in half. That number is the number of ounces that your body needs to stay hydrated throughout the day. For example, a woman that weighs 150 pounds should try to drink 75 ounces (or about 9 glasses) of water each day. Increase your water intake if you sweat up a storm during a hard workout, or if the weather’s really warm.
It typically takes three weeks for a new habit to become innate and routine. Little adjustments can have a big impact and it’s all well worth it as nothing is more powerful than that inner-ohm.