“Every breath we take, every step we make can be filled with inner peace, joy and serenity.”—Thich Nhat Hanh
Originally published in October, 2019
There are so many things in life that can disturb your inner peace, especially in these frantic times we live in.
First, there is the small matter of your own mind—the worry thoughts, the neurotic thoughts, the self-critical thoughts, the judgement thoughts.
These lodgers in your head can suck all the peace right out of you in the blink of an eye, if you give them an inch.
There are the stressful situations you have to deal with on a daily basis—the morning commute to the life-sapping job you’re forced to do to keep up the payments on the house and the car.
And then there’s the sad state of the world… but let’s not even go there.
At times it can feel like an achievement just to get through another day with your will to live intact, let alone feeling calm, relaxed and at peace.
How on earth do you find inner peace when there seems to be so much wrong—with yourself, with your life, and with the world?
How to relax, let your hair down and enjoy life more?
Here are 7 practical steps you can take right away to experience more inner peace, even if your current situation is less than ideal.
7 Ways To Experience More Inner Peace Today
1. Accept Yourself Unconditionally
Do you have a tendency to be your own harshest critic? Perhaps you demand a level of perfection from yourself that even a saint would have a hard time living up to?
Want some good news? Everyone, without exception is flawed and imperfect. It’s part of the human design. We are all, as Jean-Paul Sartre puts it, “spectacularly flawed.”
Sometimes you are kind, compassionate and caring. At other times you behave like a total jerk. And it’s all OK. It couldn’t be any other way.
I’m not suggesting, of course, that you use this as a licence to abuse others.
People who experience inner peace have learned to accept themselves just as they are—the good, the bad and the ugly. They know they are far from perfect… and they’re OK with that.
They accept themselves unconditionally.
2. Learn To Skilfully Surf Life’s Waves
Most of the experiences we encounter in life are beyond our control—much like the waves that appear in the ocean.
Good stuff happens, bad stuff happens. It’s all part of the ebb and flow of life.
It’s not the ‘bad’ waves themselves that cause us pain and suffering. How you feel is determined by your level of resistance or acceptance of what happens.
Some people remain calm and at peace even under the most harrowing conditions whereas others freak out if the food in the restaurant takes a little too long to arrive.
Those who experience peace have a more detached attitude towards life’s ups and downs. They don’t get over-excited when life treats them favourably… nor do they get overly dejected when things don’t go their way.
“This too shall pass” is the mantra of the wise.
The trick is to welcome all of life’s waves with an attitude of non-judgemental acceptance.
What’s the point in resisting what is already there anyway?
3. Don’t Get Too Bogged Down In The Mind
Most of the advice on learning to surf life’s waves applies equally to the thoughts that appear in your head. You have no more control over the thoughts that show up in your head than you do over the waves that appear in the ocean.
Pleasant thoughts appear. Unpleasant thoughts appear. They are like little clouds that float across the sky—some big, some small, some light, some dark.
The sky doesn’t care what types of thoughts pass across it. It’s possible to cultivate the same sense of dispassion towards the thoughts that randomly appear in your head.
People who experience inner peace don’t get too bogged down in their minds.
It’s not to say that they don’t have negative thoughts… everybody does. They just don’t make such a big deal out of them.
Roll out the red carpet to ALL thoughts. The mind only seems to have a lot of power over you because you are in the habit of giving it a lot of attention and importance.
When you’re not so bothered about what it gets up to, it loses its power to affect your peace.
Download my book “Kick The Thinking Habit ” for FREE to learn how to disentangle yourself from a troublesome mind.
4. Spend More Time In The Present Moment
The mind is never present in the moment. It constantly pulls your attention into past and future.All problems are mind-created and exist in time.
Peace is a natural by-product of being present in the moment.
Learning to be more present can help alleviate much of the suffering in our lives. Don’t take my word for it. Test it for yourself.
Think of a problem you are currently facing in your life. Try holding onto the problem whilst simultaneously giving your full attention to the breath as it flows in and out of your body.
You will discover you can only focus on one or the other.
There ‘s a beautiful mindfulness practice called “abiding in the now.”
Most of us, through habit, are masters at abiding in our heads!
When you withdraw your attention from the mind and place it instead on the present moment, all problems vanish. The world comes to life in the most beautiful way.
5. Live Simply, Slowly and Mindfully
Levels of stress, loneliness and depression have gone through the roof in recent times and I believe it’s mostly because we’ve become so alienated and disconnected from our natural way of living—from our biological needs.
I go into this topic in detail in my book “Awaken The Happy You.”
For the past few years, I’ve been spending every winter in a small town in India. The people there exhibit a level of inner peace and happiness that I rarely, if ever, see in the West.
The Chinese philosopher, Lao Tsu said,
“Nature doesn’t rush. Yet everything is accomplished.”
This is a perfect description of how the Indian villagers live. There is no rush in their lives, yet everything gets done. They live slow, simple lives in natural surroundings.
So, if you want to experience more inner peace, take steps to slow down and simplify your life… declutter, downsize, work less, exercise more, cut down on your commitments, nurture your relationships, spend more time in nature.
Whether you’e washing the dishes or eating your lunch, perform each action slowly and deliberately. Give your full attention to the present moment.
6. Look For The Good In Everything
People who enjoy inner peace and happiness have an optimistic outlook on life.
Some people are fortunate to be born with a sunny disposition, while others need to work at it a little more.
We are all free to make the simple choice: “Today, whatever arises, I choose to focus on the positive.”
Abraham Lincoln once said: “Most people are about as happy as they decide to be.”
Count your blessings rather than dwelling on the things you perceive to be wrong in yourself, in your life and in the world.
There’s a lot to be grateful for… if you choose to make that your focus.
7. Hone Your Inner Peace Muscles Daily
If you wish to experience more peace in your life, it’s helpful to adopt some form of spiritual practice. I’d recommend mindfulness meditation for its simplicity and wonderful benefits.
Stress arises when we become trapped in the mind’s web of worries and concerns. Meditation is a tool for helping you break the habit of getting lost in unproductive thinking.
When you withdraw your attention from the mind, it becomes quiet. Peace is the natural by-product.
It is who you are in the absence of thinking. You don’t have to create it. You just have to be still enough to experience what is always there.
In each moment, you can choose to be attentive to the mind or to bring your attention back to the present moment. Regular practice helps establish this habit.
Inner Peace Is Your Most Precious Possession
It can be a real challenge to keep up with the frantic pace and complexity of modern life without getting overwhelmed and stressed out.
Just keeping your head above water can feel like an achievement in itself.
Inner peace is your most precious possession. Without it, all the riches in the world mean nothing.
It is a delicate flower that can easily be trampled if you don’t take measures to slow down and stress-proof your life. It needs you care and attention to blossom.
But here’s the good news.
No matter how stressed and disconnected you have become, there are simple steps you can take to get back on track.
Use the 7 tips above to access the inner peace and calm that is always available at the core of your being.
Learn how to rest peacefully in the eye of the storm as life’s trials and tribulations blow all around you.
And if you feel you’d like some one-on-one support, why not jump on a FREE discovery call to explore how I may be able to help?
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