By Lori Deschene | Tiny Buddha
“Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it.” ~Brian Tracy
There was a time when I thought peace was a destination, in much the same way I imagined I’d eventually arrive at happiness or success.
It seemed like something I needed to chase or find—definitely not something I could experience without dramatically changing my life.
I needed to work less, relax more, and generally revamp my circumstances and relationships in order to be a peaceful person.
Despite seeing peace as an endpoint, I also saw it as something passive; after all, that’s why I was so stressed: I had so much to do.
I’ve since realized that peace is always available, and like any desirable state of mind, it requires effort, even if that effort entails consciously choosing to be still.
Sure, our circumstances affect our mental state, but they don’t have to control them, not if we make tiny choices for our well-being.
Admittedly, it’s not easy to choose peace when we’re going through tough times. I still go through periods when I get caught up in worries and stresses, and it can feel like that’s the only available response to things that have happened.
But it’s not. There are countless things we can do to create peace of mind, both in response to events in our lives and proactively, every day.
If you’d also like to develop a greater sense of peace, you may find these suggestions helpful:
1. Take five to ten minutes for a simple seated meditation.
2. Take 100 deep breaths, counting “and one,” “and two,” and so on, with “and” on the inhalations and the numbers on the exhalations.
3. Take a meditative walk, focusing solely on the physical sensations of walking—the earth under your feet, the swing of your hips.
4. Find a guided meditation on YouTube and let it lull you into a blissful state of presence.
5. Practice alternate nostril breathing. Hold the left nostril down and inhale through the right; then hold the breath. Release the left nostril, hold the right one down, and exhale through the left. Now start on the left with an inhalation, exhaling on the right. This is one set. Do up to five of them.
6. Write down everything that’s weighing you down mentally and then burn it as a form of letting go.
7. Write down everything you’ve learned from a difficult experience so you can see it as something useful and empowering instead of something to stress you out.
8. Tell someone how their actions affected you instead of holding it in and building resentment.
9. Call someone you’ve denied forgiveness and tell them you forgive them.
10. Apologize for a mistake instead of rehashing it, and then choose to forgive yourself.
11. Engage in a little art therapy; grab some crayons, markers, or paint and put all your feelings on the page.
12. Create a peace collage. Include images that make you feel relaxed and at ease. (Google “peace collage” and you’ll get lots of ideas!)
13. Meditate on your favorite peace quote and then write it in calligraphy for framing.
14. Take a walk with the sole intention of photographing beautiful things that make you feel at peace, like a tree with colorful autumn leaves.
15. Write a blog post about what gives you peace of mind. (This has been a calming experience for me!)
16. Get up and dance to your favorite song, focusing solely on the music and the movement. Get into your body and get out of your head!
17. Take a long walk on the beach, focusing on the feel of the sand between your toes and the sound of the crashing waves. Cliché, but highly effective!
18. Go for a bike ride in a scenic part of town, and immerse yourself in the calm of your environment.
19. Take five to ten minutes for stretching, syncing your breath with the movements (or if you have an hour, visit a local studio for a yoga class).
20. Declutter a cluttered part of your home, creating a more peaceful space.