Don't dwell on this question so much. It's an easy question. The catch is that you might not be able to verbalize the answer so well and so you think, "I don't know" or as a lot of my friends said, "I've never felt it." When I heard these answers, I was quite surprised, shocked even. To think that these people had never felt peace was incomprehensible to me. So I asked further, led them on to situations where I thought they might have felt at peace. And there was my answer, they had felt it. But because it was a fleeting and unknown feeling, something they took for granted, they didn't attribute it to the "feeling of peace."
You feel peace when your mind is submerged in one entity, be it a memory, an idea, a dream, a person, an activity that you love, or maybe even some sweet sleep! And haven't we all been wholly engrossed in something that we love? For me, let us say it music, for someone else it could be painting, or reading, or writing or even being in the arms of your lover. But let's establish a fact that at some point in our lives, we have felt at peace. Let's stop having such a negative and pessimistic viewpoint about our lives. This change instantly makes you feel better about yourself. Once you know you've felt peace somewhere in the past, you now know that you can feel it again.
I had another group of friends who enlightened me with their notions of peace. Some said it was a quiet Saturday evening when they didn't have to stress about tomorrow's work, and they could sit back and watch their favourite Netflix series. For another person, it was 'living in the moment" and sometimes "the absence of people." For yet another, It was the "feeling of being trusted." Another person told me they feel at peace if they have a good conversation with their family. Another said that it was the feeling of being 'released' from a position where you felt like a 'stretched rubber band.' I felt that!
So as we can see from this array of experiences that peace of mind is very subjective. It depends solely on how you perceive it to be.
But then, we don't always feel at peace. And even though that's very human, a long period with a troubled mind can put you in a very dark place. So I thought, why not put forth some helpful ways which might take bring peace to one's mind? As I mentioned earlier, peace of mind is very subjective, so not everything may work for you, but something will. Keep Looking.
Breathe! Source: health.com
We breathe all the time, but that doesn't ensure that we're at peace. What does, then? The answer is Mindful Breathing. When you consciously drive your attention towards this simple process of inhalation and exhalation, it can work wonders. After all, we know how it has the powers to put you on different levels of consciousness. Countless research has shown how mindful breathing, which is a form of meditation, helps in boosting mood, strengthening concentration and even improving mental and physical ailments. Psychologists recommend deep relaxation techniques to their clients!
A simple exercise that you could very well fit into your routine is this- take three long and deep breaths three times a day. It hardly consumes 3-4 minutes of your day, and it can Instantaneously bring your mind back to the present, momentarily get rid of negative emotions and perhaps even instill your heart with positive emotions.
Another way in which you can practice meditation is by the 'Body Scan' method. This method involves mindful breathing along with the picturization of your entire body, part by part. And sometimes, you can even add elements like "filling your body with positive emotions" to it. You can feel so peaceful doing it; I can't stress enough.
Letting Go is powerful! Source: psychologytoday.com
I'm sure you've faced an aversive event in your life. It may have been possible that you couldn't even sleep that night (or nights); your mind was troubled. So what did you do instead of sleeping? You thought. Over and over again, you repeated the same images in your head, soliloquized the same sentences, felt what you could've done or could've said and so on. I'm not saying this is wrong. It's not. It's very natural to think about things or situations, sometimes it even brings out possible solutions, but if you think about negative stuff for too long, not only will you feel psychological limitations but also physical ailments. There are five things that I believe are always worthy of letting go.
First, Comparision is something that unfortunately is inbuilt in our systems. We compare ourselves to everyone and for the smallest of things, and this is such a deterrent for the peace of mind. With the onset of this madness of social media, we have begun to compare our typical day to day life with someone's highlights, and this is so problematic. Next is control over situations that you can't control. Funnily enough, some of us spend too much time thinking about controlling things we exercise no control over! Why doesn't she love me? Or why is my boss always so angry? Like you can't make someone fall in love with you, you can't change someone's temperament. So instead of thinking about such things, accept them as they are. It is tough, but one must do it. Thirdly, Guilt is something we need to let go of simply because the feeling serves no useful purpose. You may feel guilty about something you did, but that's not going to change the past. What you could do is to apologize perhaps or make up for it.
Furthermore, we need to let go of grudges. Think about it. How is holding a grudge helping you in any way? Contrary to helping, It makes you miserable, deprives you of stronger relationships or the fulfilling feeling of 'forgiveness.' Finally, let go of Jealousy. It stems from comparison, and once you stop comparing, you wouldn't be jealous as well.
One way in which you could let go of these negative feelings is by writing them down on a piece of paper. Let's say you hold a grudge against a former friend. Write down what you feel, what you are holding against them. After you've created a tangible form of your feelings, destroy it. You could scribble it, shred it, crumble it, burn it or throw it away. Take another piece of paper and write in this case that you forgive that person, and you don't hold that grudge anymore. Do it with your heart, and it will work. You can find some tips here.
Forgiveness Liberates You! Source: psychologytoday.com
They say, "To err is human and to forgive is divine." The notion of forgiveness, however, is quite misunderstood. I read a very enlightening article about the misconceptions we hold about forgiveness. (Source: Psychology Today) By knowing what forgiveness isn't, we move a step towards what forgiveness is.
Forgiveness doesn't mean that you are trivializing or excusing what the person did.
It doesn't mean that the person needs to be informed that he is forgiven.
It doesn't mean that you lose your right to have feelings about that event.
It doesn't mean that everything is okay now, or that there is no more scope of improvement.
It doesn't mean that you should forget the event ever happened.
It doesn't mean that you have to include that person in your life.
Forgiveness is not something you do for others.
Now how does one go about forgiving, as I said above, let go? Acknowledge your feelings about the situation and accept them as they are. Accept the whole event and then acknowledge the growth you derived from it and how it perhaps made you stronger. Then think about the other person and why they did what they did. The answer will always lead to the fact that humans are flawed and you can't control that. Finally, decide on whether you want to tell that person that he has been forgiven or not.
Be Thankful for the people, resources, and Opportunities you have! Source: loverelation.com
In the great words of Aesop, "Gratitude turns what we have into enough." Sometimes life moves on so fast, and we are so focused on certain things, that we take for granted the small yet essential blessings that we have. The idea of gratitude is to be thankful for everything big and small and to seek appreciation of all situations, fair or challenging. Research has shown time and again that grateful people are happier. To change your mindset into a more grateful one, you could try out the following ideas. Tryout a gratitude journal. This small piece of advice that my professor gave me once has had a very positive influence on my thinking patterns. Now instead of sleeping with a stressed mind, I write three things that I am grateful for in this journal and trust me when I say no matter how hard my day has been, this practice ends it positively.
Moreover, whenever you can, think of the tough times you have been through and how you are in a better place right now. This sets up a contrast in your mind, which is a breeding ground for gratitude. Furthermore, spend time with your family and friends. I'm sure you are grateful for them all.
Deactivate your social media. Source: swypout.com
What is the thing people are the most connected to these days? I think their phones. Is it a good thing? Necessity aside, it's not. There are so many instances that show how technology, mobile phones, and social media cause unwanted and avoidable anxiety. I say preventable because we purposely choose to engage in activities that cause stress. For instance, you watch the news. Although some would say its a practical thing to do, is it more important than your peace? We can have different answers to this question, but all I'm trying to say is disconnect from things that disrupt your order if you can. Not only does this involve social media and the news, but also people. Let go of relationships that cause you to stress a lot more than happy. Quit the job which is not fulfilling your potential and dreams. If something is putting you down, disconnect.
Spend time with your loved ones! Source: thriveworks.com
We have talked a lot about letting go and disconnecting, but somethings are meant to be cherished, preserved and to be reconnected to. Connecting to oneself and others elicit happiness and peace. You connect to yourself through meditation, learning new things, doing something you enjoy or simply being by yourself. Appreciate and celebrate people, accept them as they are, be around them. Reconnect with people you haven't heard from in a while. Hearing from an old friend is a blissful feeling. This is another way you can elicit harmony in oneself.
Giving gives you peace! Source: siasat.com
Have you ever wondered about how much you take and what you give back? Your answer might surprise you. And if it does, you might want to indulge in some prosocial behavior. Prosocial behaviors are voluntary actions aimed at benefiting others. And preferably you should do it without egoistic or practical reasons. Sometimes we help, not only because it's a good thing to do but also because we have some ulterior motives. This is not exactly the kind of 'giving' i am talking about. When you do something without any expectations of a reward of any sort, and you do it for the greater good, that behavior lends you peace. A study at Harvard University studied the relationship between prosocial behavior and happiness. The results concluded that not only were the people who engaged in such conduct "happier," but they were also more likely to repeat prosocial behavior. When we are kind to others, we feel better about ourselves. Praise, appreciate and develop a more compassionate attitude towards people and situations.
Think Positive! Source: msinthebiz.com
More often then not, people who struggle to find peace of mind have dysfunctional schemas. Schemas are mental frameworks that help in organizing and interpreting information. According to a very famous theory given by Aaron Beck (1967), these dysfunctional frameworks are responsible for a disturbed state of mind, which could later result in disorders such as depression. These 'wrong beliefs' are rigid, extreme and counterproductive. Social situations activate them. For instance, a person has a schema "if everyone doesn't love me, then my life is worthless." This enables a negative pattern of thinking wherein a person thinks negatively about oneself, one's expectations and about one's future. These thought patterns are further maintained by Cognitive biases such as all or none thinking(E.g., either 100% marks or it's worthless), Selective Abstraction (focus on singular negative details while positive details are ignored) and Arbitrary Inference ( Jumping to the conclusion with any evidence). Therefore, we need to change these belief systems. This can be difficult, but it's not impossible if done with determination.
Focus to flow to peace! Source: meetup.com
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi said, "The best moments in our lives aren't the passive, receptive, relaxing times. The best moments usually occur if a person's body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something we make happen." We have heard the time, and again that life is a journey, not a destination, and that is the essence of the concept of flow. Flow can be defined as the mental state of operation in which a person is performing an activity, fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the action. The sense of flow has the following characteristics according to Mihaly:
Completely involved in what we are doing- focused, concentrated.
A sense of Ecstacy- of being outside everyday reality
Great inner Clarity- knowing what needs to be done and how well we are doing.
Knowing that the activity is doable- that our skills are adequate for the task.
A sense of Serenity- no worries about oneself and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.
Timelessness- thoroughly focused on the present, hours seem to pass like minutes.
Intrinsic Motivation- whatever produces flow becomes its reward.
Our brain can only process 110 bits of information in a second. For example, when we are listening to someone, it may take up to 60 bits, and so we can't listen to more than two people at once. Now when we are in the state of flow, all these 110 bits of information are used up by the task we are doing, putting us in pure bliss.
But how does one reach this state? Well, the answer is relatively simple, but doing it might not be so leisurely. First, you need to choose the work you love doing; you should build the proper skills to do that work. Then you should clear out all the distractions and find a peaceful place to do it. Finally, sit back and immerse yourself fully in that task. Flow creates a sense of contentment and ecstasy, and that increases your happiness. This ecstasy can last up to three days!
Bring out your inner child! Source: pinterest.com
Everyone has an inner child in them! Some people keep it repressed while some let it out! I would suggest that bringing out your inner child once in a while is a refreshing change that you can do to yourself! By Frolic, I don't want you to have an idea of yourself just playing or messing around, but letting go of all 'social expectations' and norms that we have been taught. A child does not care about being judged by people when he dances. He dances. They don't control their feelings. If they are happy, they laugh the merriest, and if they are sad, they shed tears. It's plain and simple for them, unlike us grown-ups who have a world wired with complexities. And sometimes letting go of these complexities is what can bring us peace. Apart from the mentality of it all, you could also try playing like kids. Adult Hide and Seek is equally fun!
Clean yourself in and out! Source: steemit.com
Have you heard of people who get peace and relaxation out of washing dishes? I have! And at first I thought this was the weirdest way of finding peace, but research supports it! Studies have shown that activities like washing dishes are relaxing in nature (our moms shouldn't find out about this). Similarly, organizing your table, wardrobe, your entire house can give you a lot of peace. Besides hosting, you could let go of things which you don't need. For example, you could provide your extra clothes or furniture to charity. Decluttering doesn't limit to physical space but also your mind! Try to clean out your mind; we talked about letting go and forgiving. These practices can clear out your headspace. Besides, try limiting the information that comes to you. Here disconnecting plays an important role. Moreover preventing oneself from multitasking and prioritizing things also helps. A habit that can help you declutter is journaling!
Nature Heals! Source: my-health.ch
Nature, I believe, is a fulfilling and free health service! It relieves you of all things evil and refills you with the abundance of good! Honestly, there is so much good that nature does to us, but it'll take me another blog to write about it. Lets briefly skim over how one can use mother nature for inner peace. One thing you could do is to run, walk or hike mindfully in nature. Feel how you are putting one step after the other, carefully feel the wind, closely hear the birds or small animals, touch and smell the flowers and leaves, etc. Go barefoot and reconnect with the higher being. You could sit under a tree or by a river and read, write, sing or sleep. You could try sleeping outside, never mind whether its day or night. Sleeping under a roof of the sky and a bed of grass is heavenly! Lastly, take care of mother nature as she takes care of you. Plant a tree, nurture it and see how much peace that brings you.
Sleep for peace! Sources: alliancecounselling.com
Many believe that sleep cures everything. Dalai Lama says, "Sleep is the best Meditation." No one can underestimate the importance of good, quality sleep in our lives. It is advisable to sleep for a minimum of 7- 8 hours daily. Sleep not only improves memory, concentration, and immunity, it also has a direct link to happiness. Studies have shown that when you are well-rested, the cortex of your brain can better control Amygdala, the seat of emotions. Thus you become capable of keeping a check on your feelings and produce a more balanced and informed response. Another study by neuroscientist Matthew Walker has shown that the reactivity to negative stimuli increases when a person is sleep-deprived. Thus whether you know it or not, you might be having a lot of negative responses because you haven't slept enough. Therefore if you want to be at peace, you should take proper care of your sleep schedule!
These are some ways in which we can elicit a feeling of tranquility. As I mentioned earlier, not everything may work for you, as peace is subjective, but you got to keep looking!