September 21 is the U.N. International Day of Peace.
Peace may feel like a foreign concept at the moment, with Covid-19 and a national election campaign raging. You may feel that impacting world harmony is a tough ask just now. That may be true.
That doesn’t mean you can’t initiate a peace movement. But, rather than focusing on global change, perhaps the starting point should be closer to home.
This is a great time for each and everyone of us to work towards inner peace. This is attainable, will make you happier and can impact the globe.
“When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us. When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighbouring communities.”
The Dalai Lama
Like happiness, tranquility is contagious. Your calm can create a sense of serenity in others.
There are other benefits that come from achieving inner peace.
• A calm mind that isn’t spinning like a top, leads to a better quality of sleep.
• You’ll find it easier to focus on things that are important to you.
• Your sense of wellbeing will improve.
• You’re likely to be more patient and tolerant of yourself and others.
How do you free your mind from worry and negative thoughts and replace them with quiet serenity?
This isn’t an inclusive list, but here are a few ways to get started.
Accept what is
Know what you can change and what you can’t. For example, there’s no use feeling glum about the weather. You can’t do anything about it, so you might as well accept it for what it is. In fact, you can take it one step further and try to enjoy it. This is possible even then the rain is ruining your plans for a day on the lake.
Former Castanet columnist editor, Ross Freake, introduced me to the phrase, “Enjoy what is.” I love its sentiment.
If it’s raining, enjoy the coziness of your home, or spend time listening to the pitter patter on your roof. Appreciate the soothing sounds the rain makes. That’s a much better way to spend your time than lamenting what could have been.
Make decisions and accept their outcomes
This is something I’ve been working on for a year or two now. It isn’t easy.
When you make a choice, you usually have an idea of how you expect things to turn out. How do you feel when the result is something totally different? Disappointed? Devastated?
To achieve inner peace with your decisions, accept the outcome. Recognize that you can’t control all the variables. An unwelcome result doesn’t mean you made the wrong choice.
When you struggle with unexpected outcomes, go back to accepting and enjoying what is.
If you’re blaming others or your circumstances for the way things are in your life, you have judgements to release.Take in information, and decide what’s best for you, but don’t look for excuses if things don’t work out the way you expected them to.
Avoid criticizing people who have a different viewpoint from you. Everyone’s on their own journey through life. Respect the routes of others. They aren’t you and have their own lessons to learn.
Still your mind
Meditation is a great way to achieve this. If this seems too daunting, simply find time to close your eyes and concentrate on your breath.
If you keep forgetting to do this, set the alarm on your phone, or choose specific times in your day to stop and breathe. Block five minutes into your calendar if that’s what it takes.
Having regular social media detox weekends and making a more conscious effort to spend time in nature, are also great ways to quiet your mind.
Look through a lens of gratitude
You create your reality, by deciding what lens to view it through.
If you’re an optimist, you’re likely to love your life and believe you’re lucky. As a pessimist, you may find yourself focusing on disappointments and perceived failures.
Find reasons to be grateful for every person in your life and every experience you have. Both lessons and blessings are equally valid reasons to be grateful.
Choose which thoughts to keep
Even the happiest and most peacefully minded people have negative thoughts fly into their minds. But just because they appear, that doesn’t mean you have to focus on them.
You have the ability to choose which thoughts, perspectives, and attitudes to adopt as your own.
When you decide to go to Dubai for a long weekend, and it rains the entire time, you get to choose whether to hang onto “this sucks” or look for some alternative fun and adventure. (True story.) Wanting inner peace is also a choice. The fierier and more passionate your personality, the more challenging you may find this quest. Don’t let that stop you.
I recommend you start slowly. Choose one peace-attracting skill and turn it into a habit. One small change can turn into a life altering transformation.
When you feel confident in habit one, add a habit two.
September 21st is the perfect day to begin or continue a quest for inner peace.
“When things change inside you, things change around you.”
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.