So peace of mind is a phrase we use often to refer to a physical and spiritual state of relaxation or ease, to have no big worries if you’d like to describe it in a simplistic point of view, we also know it as “inner peace” but it can get challenging and tricky to get to this point when difficult times knock our doors.
Whatever the name you want to give to it, this peace of mind we are talking about is a desirable state of being, mentally and spiritually if you will, necessary for all men and women alike and after all, who would like to be overwhelmed by preoccupations when life’s got so much to wonder for and enjoy?
Now because we want to be there right away and find ourselves in bliss and joy let’s pass quickly to the tips I have briefly described below:
- Stop Over-thinking your Problems
Over-thinking your problems is one of those factors completely in your control, thinking about painful memories or other problems over and over only stresses you unproductively, logically speaking, if there is no solution for the problem then there is no need to worry, and if there IS a solution for your problem then you need no to worry, or something similar to this the saying goes, a win-win situation for us.
Sure that’s easier said than done, but think about it, if there is something you can do to solve the problem then stop torturing yourself and take action immediately.
For example, you are stressed because you lost your job, and the worrying wont let you fall asleep, because man! you’ve got to pay the bills right? Yes however, you’ll need that full night rest for the interviews you are going to attend when you actually go out and look for another job, (insert the jobland joke here) I know it is not always simple and there might be a serious lack of job offers, but it will make you no good to still having to go drive/walk door to door looking for one and having to do it tired and stressed, your chances with a prospective employer will be diminished.
Focus your Attention Elsewhere
You can also turn your worrying into something aside of the problem by focusing productively, if you feel this way focus your attention to things that need to be done not necessarily related to the problem itself, like mowing the lawn, finishing writing that pending book, clean the whole house or make a schedule to complete the so long postponed errands in the short-term.
Sports, surprise! … not really, if you have read the other posts in this website you’ll notice that exercise is often an aid to problems involving stress, running is a great example, just plug your earphones in the park and start jogging, then go for an extra mile or two or three or the amount you need, this will give your mind a short-term goal to accomplish and it will tend to subordinate your worrying second to it.
Meditation is also a good answer, a dwelling and uncontrolled mind can drain your energy to exhaustion and leave you frustrated and tired, through meditation you can clear your mind and refresh it, realizing the moment of now is the true moment of existence, the time to actually do something for yourself and about your problem.
- Communicate With Others
It doesn’t need to be all kept for yourself, well yes don’t just tell everyone about it, be selective, reach to your close friends, your family, for advice or even as a relief talk, if the problem needs the help of a professional do not doubt to seek for it.
If this what affects you is about something or someone from your past (or present) and what they did or are doing to you, tell them how you feel, confront that demon, you may not get the answer you’d like, but it can be a relief for your heart.
If it is something you did in your past, like hurting others, then there is more you can do, call or email that person, apologize and tell them how much you are sorry, help repair the damage all you can, yet again, you may not even get an answer, nor it is a guarantee they’ll take it lightly, but remember this is also for you and your soul.
Write thoughts down, yes I know, this is not like communicating with another but to yourself, from your inner self to your conscious self, now there could be a cloud of confusing thoughts surrounding your head like noisy flies, stealing your energy and peace, write those thoughts in a sheet of paper to clearly identify them and take the proper action to each of them, take your time, and carry the list to get it ready whenever those thoughts appear in your head.
- Be Honest
Better be honest now than hurting others later down the road, be truthful with your thoughts and feelings, don’t be afraid to tell other people how you really feel when the moment requires it, in love, personal relationships and professional, don’t add that heavy unnecessary luggage to your cart.
Be honest to yourself too, make a thoughtful effort to recognize how you really feel and what you really want, recognize those deeds wrongly made by yourself also, acceptance is a must before contentment and the first step to correct our mistakes, take responsibility of your actions.
Make an effort every day to introspect about your daily actions and meditate about them, try to account them and not make the same errors again.
- Be Patient
Discomfort starts as an irritation which can then develop to impatience and often to anger that finally leads to the loss sight in the objective you have in mind.
Patience will help you through the roller coaster of emotions that present throughout the day, refrain from committing a mistake in deed or word by the losing of your temper.
Of course this virtue goes both ways, be patient with yourself too, no meaningful change in your way of thought, spiritual healing or way of reaction will be achieved if you don’t give yourself enough space and time to embrace it and make it yours.
Take it easy, this process of introspection and letting go might need you to take your time, this is all about yourself so there is no need to rush.
- Giving and Contributing
Giving back to society, family and your loved ones has tremendous effect on the feeling of self-realization, and it’s not that you can compensate for errors of the past by the good deeds of your present, it’s not the idea, forgive yourself for that and carry on, the idea is that you realize your are part of a whole in your community and family and you can make a significant change on other people’s lives.
You can volunteer on your local animal shelter or better yet, in a food bank, help your elderly neighbor take the groceries back home or take their trash can out, be creative on this one and never expect any kind of retribution in exchange, not even a “thank you”, this is all for yourself.
An act of kindness to anyone on any moment can go a long way down the road, if they offer their help or give something in return tell them to pay it forward to another needing soul.
- Ease of expectations
You know what other thing could be stealing your rest at night? The thought that life is not turning exactly the way you want it, if you feel this way you should ask yourself if what you’ve actually achieved so far really isn’t enough for you.
You might just have everything you need covered and yet feel like a failure, remember you don’t need to change your car every year, nor you need a beach front property to be and feel whole, it’s all a matter of perspective.
Focus on smaller achievable goals and a long-term target, but don’t feel discouraged or stressed about it, rethink your current situation and you may realize how fortunate you already are, feel grateful for it and thank yourself for getting there.
- Realize Every End is Also a Beginning
Although it is hard to see while going through it, every ending situation and every major change is just the beginning of another chapter or the opening preface for a new book you can write about your life, rest assured that what comes next might result better than your past experiences since you have also grown in experience and wisdom.
Make the effort to get over your past, to make the right choices this time and use wisely this newly presented opportunity, be grateful for the lesson learned and the knowledge acquired before.
Well obviously these are not the only ways you can implement to find your inner peace, but I believe it is a good start, now if I had to quickly summarize this in a concrete way I’d say the most important aspects are: Accept your present situation and yourself as it is, realize how fortunate you already are, work and progress on your mistakes after contemplation and introspection, be contempt on your achievements and don’t over-expect.
This works for me and I hope it does for you, you can add to the repertory mood enhancing things like: listening to good relaxing music (I’m now listening to traditional relaxing Chinese flute myself) or go for a contemplative walk on a beautiful park, even taking a nap can do wonders when the time is right.
Disconnect from your job when you’re trying to spend quality time with your family, friends and loved ones, just as you should leave your personal problems home and not take them to work, you could show your beloved ones you care about them by not staring at your phone screen and calling unnecessarily trying to control every aspect at the office right there from the picnic mat, I know you might be an important part of the enterprise you participate in, just try not to be a martyr by believing things wont get done without you, this is for your own good alright? So set your priorities straight and give everything its proper place and time.
Tell the people at your office not to call you unless it is of extreme importance, delegate what you can and don’t take home any pending work when possible, let alone to the Sunday park walk, there’s even an incoming call option on smartphones sort of “do not disturb” where only a second or third call will actually trigger an audible ringtone, try that option.
- Schedule your meetings and fun time
Schedule not only your meetings and clients calls, but also a date with your significant other or your family and friends, call them, save a date for them and write it on your weekly agenda (yes now!), give it the importance you give to all other important pending tasks and meetings, schedule at least three days a week for quick exercise sessions, you’ll be more likely to try and arrange your daily activities and follow your schedule to get there on time and not cancel what you have compromised yourself to do.
Don’t be afraid to write those activities in your calendar, some people feel silly writing things like “romantic dinner with wife” or “evening park walk with the kids” in their agendas, you are not silly, well to be honest you might be silly thinking you are silly by doing this (and I’m not trying to confuse you), writing things down works on a subconscious level making them feel more important as they are being materialized and perceived by more than one of your senses, besides, if you don’t do it you’re more prone to forget it or “reschedule” for later, a later we both know won’t happen.
- Stop doing unimportant time-consuming activities
Not that watching TV is totally wrong, after all it can serve as a window to the world if you watch the right programs, there are also learning channels for children and adults alike.
Now talking about this aspects in a professional and personal way, how are you going to get things done and arrive to your appointments on time if you get distracted and deviated easily from your schedule? End procrastination and do it now! not tomorrow or later.
Social networking is an incredible tool to get in contact with clients and family or friends, and I support its responsible use, however its engagement can get out of control and become an addiction pretty quickly so try not to abuse it, it’s an all too common employer’s complaint that people get lost in their screens for hours at a time under the clock, you don’t want to stay extra after hours to get even on the delayed pending tasks because of this reason if you can avoid it, so put your phone down while trying to focus.
Not long ago I remember reading an article where the author suggest the reader to get help with the errands of the house if that’s frees you the time to do the things you want, will get back to you with the link when I find it but I agree, hire a nanny or a housekeeper if that does the trick, not that the cleaning of the house or the raising of our kids is unimportant and should be always delegated, I’m just saying that you should also give yourself time for the things you enjoy, if that time is normally scarce then get some additional help and use that time wisely.
- Set your priorities clearly
So it all comes down to this, what are the most important things in life for you? Why bother making all this trouble to free some time and space for it? If your answer is your family, loved ones and your own well being then that’s probably your number one priority, so if that’s the case then why not give it its proper attention?
Start from there then, you are doing all this hard work for them, for you, give them and yourself their place, give them the most precious resource: time, that of what we can’t get any extra out of our life, then do it for yourself, enjoy the fruits of your efforts in health and alive, don’t rush all your life to get the latest, best and most of every superficial aspect just to end the marathon without an applause and realizing you didn’t enjoy the run, so give yourself time for exercise, leisure and sharing love.
- Find space for vacations, relaxation and leisure
Yes this is an important aspect for a balanced happy life, not all of your time should be used for responsibilities at work or home, you also need time to relax, and do the things you enjoy, may be a hobby like train modeling or something that could become a business like woodworking or a sport or both, even if you’re a pretty busy person all year round try to schedule some days off for a vacation trip, away of the daily routine and to visit new exciting places and take the family there.
Relaxation doesn’t need to take a lot of time either, some hard working persons believe that if you can’t take the evening to yourself then it’s not worth starting an activity at all so they keep working all day long, and although you feel alike that doesn’t have to be the case, you can take a 30 minutes nap, which can make wonders with your morale by the way, a quick 15 minutes breathing and meditation session to get your focus aligned or something as simple as going for a quick visit to your local coffee for a take away cup, go walking there and that’ll be a good small exercise session too.
I might add a question about this, what will you be doing once you’re retired? Imagine yourself WITHOUT the every day adrenaline rush of your daily routine, subtract 8, 9, 10! hours of work from your job of your day and what is left? Could you live with that? think about doing those things you like and getting in touch with your family, you’re most likely going to do a lot more of that (or wanting to do a lot more of that) after your retirement, on the other hand, if you found yourself with an “I don’t know” answer then it might be time to rethink your priorities.
- Don’t try to be perfect at everything
Well you do know perfection doesn’t exist, yet you stay longer at the office, the shop or the store trying to sort things out in a “better” way, because you know you can do it better and bigger right? Don’t allow yourself to deepen in this way of thought for long, sure your job needs to be well done, but try not to fall in this trap: You’re about to leave the office and then you open that slider presentation one last time, just to realize you could change the background color for a better looking one on the title, then after you do it end up re-redacting all that content on the report to make it sound a little more professional and the list goes on and on, by the time you realize, you are so late at the office, your spouse has already stacked the dinner in the freezer and the kids are on their beds.
If you are like this, then we might be suffering from the same delusion, perfection doesn’t exist and we need not to pretend it does, we just keep repeating tasks believing it will better on every iteration, and it might be a little but what could be the cost? Do your best, make it better every day, just don’t believe you “still” have some time to make things a little more when you should be back home with your spouse or kids or simply doing things for your own good too.
Relaxing and finding time for ourselves is just as an important aspect of our lives as it is to ensure the means we have to make a living, probably hard and demanding in the beginning until we can set a working schedule for both aspects but like you have read, these steps are not really that hard to follow by themselves, the trick I think, lies in the REALIZATION that all these require our attention as much as our clients, jobs and errands, I believe that by adopting one or two of this recommendations we can aim to an increased well being and a more fulfilling lifestyle.