Four ways to find your inner peace
Finding your inner peace sounds serious. It involves focussing your attention on one thing - the present moment - which isn’t easy for everyone to do. As you read this, are you really here? Or is your mind drifting in and out of the past? Thinking about your to-do list for the rest of the day? Whether you’ll hit that deadline? What to have for dinner tonight?
How many times have you gotten into your car and driven somewhere safely - then wondered how you even got there, as you were so lost in your thoughts? Before you can be mindful and find inner peace, you need to accept how mindless you can be sometimes. And then you have to change it. Here’s how:
1. Declutter your life
First thing’s first - clear the decks. Check your calendar and make sure you know what’s happening in the two weeks ahead. Review your goals, work out whether your life needs rebalancing, and write down whatever may need changing. What matters most? Health? Family? A special project? Once your mind is clear and your actions are set you can go about your life with less friction. You will have a mindful system set in place so calmness will come more easily.
2. Breathe more
It’s obvious, but overlooked. Deep and controlled breathing triggers our ‘relaxation response’, slowing down our heart rate, relaxing our muscles, calming our nerves and boosting our immune system. Breathe in and out from the belly, in and out through the nose, and breathe out a little more than you breathe in. Whether you’ve just missed the train or your boss is being a huge pain, frequent stress is a barrier to inner peace. Making your breath a constant companion and being aware of your body can help you think and feel better.
3. Anything you do, do it mindfully
Eat mindfully, walk mindfully, breathe mindfully, smell mindfully. Yes, it’s a wellness buzzword - but it makes more sense when broken down into common sense practice. Put simply, mindfulness is reconnecting yourself to your senses. Here’s an example - the next time you have a bar of chocolate, don’t just eat it all at once. Observe its appearance, take a sniff - notice how saliva starts filling your mouth. Place it on your tongue and really taste it. Is it salty? Creamy? Fruity? How do you feel? Be aware of any sensations in your mouth, throat, and body as you eat, as well as the aftertaste.
4. Look for the positive
Easier said than done, right? Once we’re aware of how much negativity breeds unwanted physical responses - from raising your blood pressure to digestive problems - it’s not only a simple way to feel more at peace with yourself, it improves your health, too. Spend more time focussing on emotions such as gratitude, hope, amusement, pride and inspiration. Listen to music you love. Read books that make you happy. Kick off endorphins with a fun exercise class. Stop working late and rest more - your body and mind will thank you for it.