The first thing to consider when discussing "peace of mind" is to resolve this constant search for change with a state of inner peace and tranquility. Can the two co-exist?
Surely having inner peace is a state of being satisfied with what we have? But then you could argue inner peace is having what we want?
So what is it?
Is peace a destination? that we can imagine we will eventually arrive at in much the same way as we feel we will arrive at happiness or success.
Is peace something we need to chase or find—definitely not something we could experience without dramatically changing our lives.
Many feel they need to work less, relax more, and generally revamp their circumstances and relationships in order to be a peaceful person.
Now let's consider this...
How would it be if we realized that peace is always available, and like any desirable state of mind, it requires effort, even if that effort entails consciously choosing to be still.
Sure, our circumstances affect our mental state, but they don’t have to control them, not if we make tiny choices for our well-being.
Admittedly, it’s not easy to choose peace when we’re going through tough times. I still go through periods when I get caught up in worries and stresses, and it can feel like that’s the only available response to things that have happened.
But it’s not. There are countless things we can do to create peace of mind, both in response to events in our lives, and proactively, everyday.
Here are just a few things we can do that may well help us to feel at peace with ourselves:
Work to simply accept what can not be changed. Develop an attitude of "it is what it is". It may well be that something horrendous has happened, but none of us can change the past, so instead of letting the past chain us, why not work to simply accept it.
Here I want to make one point very clear. When I say accept I do not mean agree with. For sure, there are things that happen that should not happen, rape, murder, brutal violence.... I am not for a moment suggesting we approve or agree with such acts, I am suggesting that instead of fighting against them and as a result destroying ourselves, accepting that they have happened.
This is one of the fundamental premises of the Counselling therapy ACT - Acceptance and Commitment Therapy which is evidenced to bring huge relief to people suffering from a wide variety of mental health issues.
So how do we accept things we wish had not happened? The first step is to stop fighting them, to acknowledge them, to allow thoughts to exist.
For example, when we get a thought of something bad, we can acknowledge that thought by saying to ourselves "oh, there goes that thought again, that's interesting" and then continue with whatever we were doing.
2. Practice meditation or some form of mindfulness
For a few minutes focus your mind on some simple activity, it could be walking where you concentrate on the way your feet lift and feel the ground with each step, or the way the breeze moves the leaves on a tree; or the way your breath fills your chest with each intake.
There are many resources available to help with mindful meditation, or you could try my own exercise available here.
3. Develop affirmations that you are OK
Learn to recognise that you are you, and that is alright. Each of us is unique in so many ways. How boring would it be if we were all the same? Learn to relish what makes you you.
Give this a go: stand in front of a mirror and look yourself in the eyes and say "I love and approve of myself at all times".
Get up and move around, dance to your favourite song, run around, jump up and down, or go for a short brisk walk, anything that gets you moving.
As you do this enjoy the pleasure of feeling life flow through your body.
5. Tell someone you love them
The human species is a social species, we all need to feel connected to others. So call someone you care about and tell them how much you care, go and give your children, dog, cat, partner, friend a hug.
Smile at people as you pass them in the street. It costs nothing and if they smile back you will know you have brought a little joy into someone's life. If they don't smile back, that's OK, you can still feel good knowing you put it out there.
To find out more ways to release the stress of constantly striving to change and learning to love who you are, warts and all, get my program to release stress or contact me to arrange a consultation.
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Carrie has a passion for people. Seeing people make the best of their lives.
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Depression, Grief & Loss, Anxiety Counselling - facilitating your empowered life
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