For many of us, daily life can be busy, stressful, and sometimes overwhelming. Achieving inner peace is a way to help bring calmness and serenity into your life, and help decrease those feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. Often people confuse inner peace as something you “find”, so you might be surprised to hear that the way to achieve inner peace is by learning and practising it on a regular basis. Some of you might imagine inner peace as something you can only achieve when the external things around you are calmer, for example, when you go on holiday, when your health is good, or only at the weekends when you are not working. But inner peace is something that comes from within. You can still achieve inner peace even if you live a hectic lifestyle, just as much as someone who has a more relaxed lifestyle. Remember that achieving inner peace is a process, so take it one day at a time. To help you achieve inner peace, I have put together some tips to help you:
- Let things happen rather than making them happen – It is important to recognise that some of your desires are about how you think your life should be, rather than how it is now. We’re all constantly trying to figure the world out, rather than letting the world unfold by itself. For example, some things in life that involve you wanting it to happen rather than allowing it to happen include wanting to go to sleep, rather than going to sleep. Wanting to be happy, rather than allowing yourself to be happy. Wanting to be peaceful, rather than allowing yourself to feel peaceful. Try to start to let go of your desires of wanting things to be a certain way, and instead simply relax and allow things to happen.
- Meditate – By taking 10-15 minutes out of your day to meditate, it will help quieten the mind and leave you in a calm, peaceful state. If you meditate first thing in the morning, it is a great way to start the day as that feeling of calm and peace will stay with you throughout the day.
- Appreciate what you have – Too many of us “wish” we had a bigger house, more money, better job, perfect body etc… And not enough of us stay focused on all the things we have already. Take a moment to make a mental list of the most valuable things in your life – maybe your family, friends, health. Now think – did having the latest iPhone come up near the top? Or the biggest house? Or a promotion? I hope the answer is no! That’s because the reason they don’t come near the top is you don’t need those things. By appreciating what you have, it will enable you to stay focused on all the amazing things you do have, so stop “wishing” for things and open your eyes to see all the amazing things you already have!
- Accept the unexpected – Sometimes life doesn’t go in the direction you thought it would, but you know what? That’s okay, because on that journey you’ll learn more about yourself and the world than you would have in your entire lifetime had you not been on that journey. So, whatever journey you’re on, instead of fighting the change, try and learn to be at peace with it and sit back and watch your journey unfold – you never know what amazing things you might find along the way.
- Practise mindfulness – We are often so busy caught up in our own thoughts that we miss all the wonderful things going on around us each day. By practising mindfulness, you are living in the moment, which allows you to notice and enjoy the simple things in life, such as a beautiful sunset, the sound of children playing happily or watching a dog playing with it’s ball! For more tips on “The Very Basics of Mindfulness”, click here.
- Stop comparing yourself to others – So many of us continuously compare ourselves to others, wishing our life was more like theirs, but by comparing yourself to others you are only depriving yourself of your own joy and happiness. It is important to recognise that even if you did have their life, their body, their job, it wouldn’t necessarily make you happier. We often believe our happiness comes from these external factors, but our happiness comes completely from within.
- See the positive in every situation – No matter what happens to you in life, you alone have the ability to choose how you respond to it. You will constantly face unfortunate situations in life that are out of your control, and you can choose to feel sad, angry or annoyed at the situation, or you can decide to turn it around and focus on the positives. Sitting and complaining about your problems won’t change the situation, it will simply make you feel worse. When you form the habit of searching for the positives in every situation, your life will immediately start to become more peaceful.
- Let go of things you can’t control – The only thing we can control in our life is our attitude and our thoughts at any given moment. We cannot control the weather, the traffic, or the mood of those around us. Try to learn to accept situations you can do nothing about or when things don’t go to plan, and start to focus on the only thing you can control which is how you respond to it.
- Enjoy and be grateful for each moment – Imagine waking up every day and asking yourself this question: “What would I do if today was my last?” Think about how you would treat your family, your colleagues and even strangers. Mentally list all the things you would do; the people you would call and the moments you would savour. Think how productive and excited you would be to live every moment to the maximum. You would start to focus on all the meaningful things in your life, and stop wasting your time on the trivial things that are dragging you down in life. As an experiment, try asking yourself this question every morning for one week, and notice the positive impact it can have on your day.
- Have an open mind – When you have firm beliefs and ideas about something and someone opposes or questions you, you might start to feel agitated, uncomfortable, and maybe even angry at the individual with different ideas and beliefs to your own. Yet if you live with an open mind, you would feel at ease hearing about different ideas and beliefs, and you may even start to understand and embrace the differences, helping you to feel more peaceful towards yourself and others.
- Refine your definition of “failure” – Failure is something you will inevitably encounter throughout your life. Instead of seeing it as a negative experience, see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. There are no mistakes in life, only lessons. Furthermore, what if instead of seeing it as a “failure” when you give something a go and it doesn’t work out, you see it as a victory that you tried at all?
- Be comfortable in your own skin – Learning to be comfortable in your own skin is one of the most important things to learn in life because it has such a significant impact on your well-being. By learning to accept yourself it will not only improve your life, it will help improve the lives of all those around you. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship you have, so accept your flaws and recognise that no one is perfect. Love yourself on the good days and love yourself on the bad days. If you practise this regularly, you will feel much happier and more peaceful within yourself.
- Stop worrying about what other people think – Many of us want to be liked and accepted by others, but we spend too much time and energy worrying about what other people think, which can result in us feeling unworthy. The root of the problem of worrying about what other people think of you, is that you cannot control what people say, do, and think about you! The key to help you stop worrying about what other people think, is to feel more self-love and self-acceptance from within. When you start living from a place of genuine love and acceptance, you will learn that what other people do, say and think about you has nothing to do with you, it’s all to do with them! If you don’t like what they have to say about you, you can walk away knowing you are being true to yourself.
- Laugh and smile frequently – When you laugh and smile, you instantly feel happier and more relaxed. The best thing about smiling is you don’t have to feel like smiling to smile, yet you can still feel all the benefits of smiling when you do. Try it right now, just smile, smile at all the wonderful things in life! You may be surprised at how much better you feel from just one small smile or laugh. Make sure that you don’t ever take life so seriously that you forget to laugh at yourself. Always remember the power of laughter and smiling.
- Spend time with nature – Spending the time to connect with nature is an amazing way to help you feel more peaceful and happy, reduce feelings of stress and negativity, and help you sleep better. Make it a habit to spend more time in nature: have breakfast or lunch outside, go for a walk, or maybe do some stretches or exercise outside.
- Let go of anger – By holding onto anger, you are only depriving yourself of achieving inner peace. The Dalai Lama says, “Anger is the ultimate destroyer of your inner peace”. If you want to achieve inner peace, you need to learn to let go of the anger, and realise anger cannot be overcome by anger. If someone is angry with you or you are angry at yourself, control your anger by showing the opposite emotions – love, compassion, tolerance and patience. This will help you to achieve inner peace.
- Stop worrying about the future – Many of us worry continuously. We worry about our health, situations we can’t control, our career, the people we love, and life! However, worrying doesn’t make anything better, in fact it only makes things worse. Have a think right now about something you are worried about, for instance, finishing your piece of work for a deadline, your health and waiting for those test results, or maybe your family member going through a hard time – now think, did worrying help or change the situation? The answer will be no. Worrying does not change the situation. Always remember you cannot control what happens to you or others in life, all you can control is your thoughts and attitude at any given moment.
- Avoid overanalysing – When you overanalyse certain thoughts or situations, you make the simple, complex, the easy, hard, and the minor, major. You might start to misinterpret situations or what people are saying to you, and start to bring the situation further away from the truth and reality. When you notice yourself overanalysing, try to imagine the situation as if you were an “interested visitor”. Look at it as if you were watching as an outsider, almost like a “fly on the wall”, and mindfully observe the situation calmly and without judgement. This will enable you to see the situation clearly.
- Learn to forgive – We all do things we regret every day. We hurt people we don’t mean to hurt, we say the wrong things without thinking, and we act in irrational ways when we are feeling overwhelmed with emotions. To learn to forgive yourself you need to remember that you are not the only one making mistakes! Learn from your mistakes, make any apologies and amends you need to, and then move on. You won’t be able to learn and grow from your mistakes if you are still living in the past. This also applies to helping you forgive other people, as others may do things which frustrate, hurt or anger you, but you can choose to see beyond this and accept we all make mistakes, and that underneath all our differences we all share the same human experience.
Achieving inner peace takes time and practise, but you can get there! There are so many benefits from achieving inner peace, which you will soon discover by following these tips. I hope you find these tips helpful and your life can become more peaceful.
Metta, E xx