We all have those people in our lives who just seem so peaceful no matter what is going on. The smiling calm kindergarten teacher, the zen yoga professional, the wise grandmother; how do they do it? I used to think peace was a result of your situation, your chemical makeup, or your overall health, until I learned that your mind can be trained to be at peace just like an other muscle of your body. Here are some ways that I “forced” myself to be at peace until I retrained my mind to do it naturally.
Assess Your Circumstances Honestly
If you are feeling anything BUT peaceful, what’s really making you feel that way? For example, if your kids are going crazy, not listening to direction, causing chaos, etc; is it THEM making you feel upset, or is it YOU? I used to feel so out of control as a parent, and that led to me questioning my abilities and made me feel inadequate and hopeless. These feelings robbed me of the peace I could have been having if I instead focused on accepting my current situation and focusing on what I could do to change it. Sometimes, the only thing you can change in that situation is you, and accepting that you are doing your best is enough. Sometimes, you need to get an outside perspective or take a couple minutes to center your mind before coming back to the situation. When you figure out the REAL root of the problem, you can tackle it.
Accept The Things You Can’t Change
In many situations, there are aspects you CAN change and aspects you CAN’T. If your inner peace is being affected by your job, that is something you CAN change, you just might not want to. If you inner peace is being affected by something you can’t change, say an allergy to bees is dominating your day with fear and frustration, that’s something you CAN’T really change. Maybe there are some things you can do to make it better, but I don’t know of anyone who was able to heal their own bee allergy. In this case, accepting that your situation won’t change and letting go of the expectations that it will, grieving those expectations if necessary, can help you move forward in changing your mindset.
Change What CAN Be Changed
If your inner peace is being affected by factors you CAN change, then decide what it’s worth to you. Would you rather accept the situation and make peace with it, or would you rather change it? Which option works best for you? It might be a big scary change and mean taking a big risk, so you have to decide which end result is easiest to live with. I like to imagine myself in three different options. Option 1 – I don’t make any changes. Option 2 – I make changes and it DOESN’T go well. Option 3 – I make changes and it DOES go well. Most of the time, I can live with the possibility of option 2, because my vision of option 3 is SOOO much better than my current option 1. Sometimes though, I decide to accept the situation I am in and make peace with it similar to a situation that I can’t change.
Redirect Your Anxieties
This used to be the hardest part to being at peace for me, but now it’s one of the easiest because I’ve been able to retrain my mind. Don’t ask me to redirect my anxieties about spiders yet though, I’m not that evolved! I’ll use an example of how I do this from a few months ago. Before driving home one day, I realized that my current bank balance was not enough to handle the known upcoming charges and expenses, and we weren’t going to get paid in time. I spent the drive home mentally listing all the ways I was grateful for my finances. I had enough food. None of the upcoming expenses were things that were life or death. The reality of overdrafting my bank account was something I could emotionally handle, and I was grateful for that. By the time I reached my driveway, I was calm again. In the big picture, a few days of financial pressure were not a big deal. I had peace in knowing that the consequences of our previous bad decisions and circumstances were gradually fading, and I had plenty of resources if I had a REAL financial emergency. Gratitude is the opposite of fear, and when we redirect our thoughts from fear to gratitude, our mind will continue down the path of peace.
Taking care of yourself is a great way to put your mind at ease as well. Sometimes, all I need is a hot epsom salt bath and a face mask to right my mind. If I don’t have time, even a simple act such as putting on a special perfume or lighting a favorite candle can brighten your outlook. Self care also shows gratitude for yourself and your resources, and it sends a message to yourself and others that you are worthy of inner peace.