These are turbulent times, and it seems that the world is becoming a much more dangerous place every day. We chase after inner peace as if it were something elusive – as if it were a destination, much like we perceive happiness.
The truth is, we can achieve world peace through finding inner peace and sharing how to find inner peace with friends, family and others. If we have a world full of people who have inner peace, then we have a peaceful world.
Inner peace is always available to you. Like any state of being, you just have to commit to it and practice. In learning to cultivate inner peace, you learn that your circumstances can affect your mental state, but they don’t have to control it; you learn that inner peace is a choice, even if it’s sometimes a hard choice (life does keep happening and sometimes it drops bombs!);
Here we will explore some ways to increase the peace you feel within yourself – so that you are more compassionate and understanding, less reactive, and more inclined to see the best in others. As you become peaceful, you positively impact everyone around you, and start a massive ripple effect.
Yes, YOU – an individual among billions – can make a huge difference in world peace. Here’s how:
- Meditate. Take any chance you can to consciously unplug from stressful thoughts! Even if your meditation only lasts a few minutes, that’s a few minutes of inner peace. If you’re neck-deep in troubles, meditation offers a quick mental and emotional getaway without actually running away from your problems (which is an instinctive reaction).It also helps put things into perspective and calms you down so you can respond instead of reacting. The more you respond in this way, the more peaceful your daily life becomes …. PERIOD!
- Write it out. Write down everything that is weighing heavy on you: unfinished business, worries, fears, regrets and guilt… everything. “Brain dump” on paper anything that causes you anxiety.
Now – next to each item that relates to the past, write, “I am at peace with what happened.” Be kind to yourself about the past. Be compassionate toward yourself and your role in the situation. If you had no role – such as with tragic events across the world – simply do a loving-kindness meditation to everyone. If you need to forgive someone, do so.
Next to each item that relates to the future, write down the ideal scenario. Do not concern yourself with “how” that ideal scenario will happen. This is your version of “Ask, and it shall be given.” Just put it out there, and believe it to be a possibility. The more you practice this, the more you will learn to think in terms of what can go right – which is very peaceful!
You will notice, in this exercise, that none of your problems relate to the present. Even things you’re going through right now – such as an inability to pay your mortgage – are based in fear of the future, like the fear of your house being taken away from you. But in this moment that fear is not reality, and therefore it does not exist. Right now, the roof over your head offers you proof that what you fear losing, is yours. Now – even if you find yourself homeless in this moment, your fears are still future-based: fears like “I’ll freeze to death” or “I will be shunned by my family.” The point is – right here, in the present moment, you are not experiencing what you fear will happen. Those fears only live in your imagination and you have the power to shape-shift your reality so these things do not happen.
- Communicate your desire for peace. If someone’s actions affected you, let them know. If you made a mistake, apologize. If you have been withholding forgiveness, forgive.
- Remember everything you’ve learned as a result of adversity. Then, that situation becomes empowering instead of stressful!
- Be creative. You don’t have to be an artist to be creative. We are all, as humans, natural creators. Go make something, and who cares if it’s a “masterpiece” or not? Physical creative acts stimulate the kinds of creativity necessary for coming up with solutions to people’s problems.
- Think about what makes you feel peaceful, and then go do it. Walking in nature? Petting your dog? Cooking? Gardening? Tinkering? Meditation? Bubble baths? Photography? Dance? Puzzles? Writing computer code (yes, puzzles of any kind can be simultaneously soothing and energizing!)? Rollerblading? Yoga? Composing? Walking? Sailing? Whether your activity is solo or with others; and whether it’s actually an activity or a state of being, if it makes you feel peaceful, do more of it.
- Practice acceptance. “It is what it is”, and only your interpretation of it and your response to it, determines whether you can feel peaceful about it.
- Practice gratitude. Actively focus on appreciating what you have. This is an extraordinary life-changing practice that allows you to be at peace with what is.
- Remove the word “should” from your vocabulary. “Should” comes with a whole heap of judgment, resentment, guilt, anger and low self-esteem. For example: “I should have been nicer to him before he died,” (ouch!) – rephrase it with, “I recognize that I didn’t treat him as well as I could have. I have learned from this. It’s a painful lesson, and I forgive myself.”
- Be present. The more you can engage in what you’re doing, immerse yourself in an activity, and connect real-time (face to face) with someone, the less you will be dwelling on what’s worrying you.
- Do something kind for someone else without expecting anything in return. If they ask what they can do for you, tell them to pay it forward.
- Serve. Shift your thinking from “What can you do for me?” to “What can I do for you?” and you will instantly feel more at peace. You will feel important, needed, connected, and valued.
- Learn. The more you can learn about other people – their cultures, values and beliefs – the more peaceful you will feel toward them. We are all just doing our best to get by, and while a few rotten apples do stink, they do not necessarily have to spoil the whole bunch!
- Give more attention to people who are doing good things, than to people who are doing bad things. A lot of terrible things are committed just for the sake of attention. Deny the attention, just as you don’t play along when a toddler is having a tantrum.
- Smile more. Smiling is a superpower! It helps you to connect with people, makes them – and you – feel better, opens doors, and creates feelings of trust.
These are just a few ways you can cultivate inner peace every day. Choose the tips that resonate with you, and feel your tension, anxiety and anger melt away.