It seems there is so much fear, anxiety and general negativity in our world these days, I realized how conflicting it feels with the season of peace we are supposedly in. I hope to inspire you to seek greater peace in your life by sharing some of the strategies I have come to know over the years.
One important thing to understand is that having more peace in your life has nothing to do with changing the world around you in order to feel content. The fact is this: peace is an inside job.
Another fact is that you can have a greater sense of peace in your life despite what hardships, heartaches or illnesses come your way. Here are my suggestions. I am interested in hearing yours too!
Disconnect. The world is all connected (technologically-speaking) and that sounds great. Yet, we have never been lonelier and more isolated. We mistakenly think social media brings us together. But when you see a family at a restaurant and everyone is staring at their phones, you probably realize this is backfiring on us. When we disconnect from electronics, we start to see life in a different way. More real. More natural. More of what matters. Take some time to shut off the TV, leave your phone behind. Go for a walk or sit in silence. Take note of what you see, hear, taste, smell and feel when your senses are allowed to just “be”.
Demonstrate gratitude. Simply put, gratitude changes your heart! If you focus on all that is good in your world, you will see more of it. Have you heard the phrase “What you focus on GROWS.” It really does. Start small and try listing five things you are grateful for each day (find different things). By the end of the week, you will have a few dozen things you are grateful for. If this is a new concept for you, it may feel very awkward. You may even think you have NOTHING for which to be grateful. That isn’t so. Everyone can find something…you just need to look for it.
Draw boundaries. This is critical to save your sanity if you have troubling, difficult, or dramatic people or situations in your life that seem to disrupt your sense of peace. We can love our friends and family, but it may be necessary to draw a boundary for yourself to see them only on certain occasions or discuss only certain subjects. There is nothing selfish about keeping a boundary of peace around yourself. In fact, the healthiest, happiest, and most peaceful people I know actively do this for themselves.
Slow down! What’s the rush? If you are constantly rushing from one place or project to another, perhaps you have too much on your plate. Is everything really that important? You may think so. But if it doesn’t get done, what is the worst that can happen, honestly?! This leads me to the next tip which is to…
Learn to say NO! “No” is a complete sentence. Sometimes you have to deny people of your own time. If you’re a people-pleaser, this is difficult. But your peace of mind is primary to your mental and physical health. If you can lovingly deny a request or invitation, you will thank yourself later when you feel a sense of relief and peace.
Unclutter your home, office, life or even just your purse! When you have less stuff (or dare I say, less junk) in your life, you feel lighter, and things seem simpler…more peaceful. A clutter-free home begets a clutter-free life.
Breathing techniques. Breathing slow, big, deep breaths from your diaphragm, is very helpful to activating your parasympathetic nervous system, thereby helping you to relax, lower blood pressure, digest well, and decrease anxiety. Here’s a belly breathing technique that you may find helpful: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/ease-anxiety-and-stress-take-a-belly-breather-2019042616521
Acceptance. This is critical and most important to getting more peace in your life. In fact, if I could only suggest ONE thing, this would be it. “Accept people and things as they are.” That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to change unpleasant situations you are in. Of course, you can and should change your outlook, your attitude or your predicament. That is a must. But accept the fact that you cannot change other people. You may be able to inspire them but expecting them to change is going to lead you to incredible frustration. Accept what is. I assure you, you will have far more peace in your life if you heed this wisdom.
I hope you find some useful ideas to help you incorporate more peace in your life. I encourage you to do some reading, understanding, journaling, meditating, practicing about it. See what resonates with you. Let me know what you discover! I’ll share more strategies for peace next time. Stay tuned!