Life aggravates all of us. At times it just seems as if everything comes at once and I can remember times in the past when I felt as if I was walking a tight rope, teetering precariously between sanity and completely losing the plot.
Thankfully, those extreme moments have decreased…perhaps I am mellowing in my old age or perhaps it is due to the techniques I now use to talk to myself in ways that promote inner calm.
Here are a few ways in which you can increase inner peace and calm in your life.
One important way to keep calm is to look at the situation for what it is. Often, we upset ourselves by catastrophising and telling ourselves that the situation is worse than it seems.
Accepting that something has happened is the first step to inner peace. It’s the way it is so instead of being angry and resentful and huffing about saying “why me?” to yourself, put your thinking cap on and decide what you are going to do about it.
If someone shoots you in the shoulder with a bow and arrow, will you stand there and shout at the perpetrator “ah man…why did you do that? You’ve ruined my shoulder, it’s so unfair…” (slightly tongue in cheek – I enjoy a bit of humour)…or are you going to immediately try to figure out how to get the arrow out of your shoulder? I hope it’s the latter.
This example can be applied to life – stop looking for blame. Rather, focus on what needs to be done. What is the next step? Focusing your energy on why it happened might make you feel a little better but it won’t solve anything.
The second way to promote tranquility is to be mindful. Mindfulness means that we are aware of the moment and living in the ‘now’ instead of focusing on the past or on what might happen in the future. When we allow our thoughts to take us away from the present moment, we invite anxiety into our lives. we also take away the enjoyment of the moment. So make an effort to stop every now and them and practise mindfulness. Engage all your senses – sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. The more the brain is engaged in the five senses, the less time it has to worry. Mindfulness takes practise though so don’t worry if you find it tough to stay focused in the present. Just keep trying!
A third way to assist you in your quest for serenity is to make a habit of unhooking from your thoughts. Be aware of your brain’s constant activity and remind yourself that these thoughts are in your head. They are not facts, they may never come to fruition. They are electrical impulses in your brain that evoke strong emotions in you. Many of these emotions could be avoided if we just watched our thinking. Unhook from your thoughts and detach from the negative content that upsets you. Challenge your thinking. We all have habitual thoughts that recur but that serve no purpose apart from upsetting us. Identify them and visualise them passing by..like a perpetual stream of words floating by. Don’t give them attention, just let them pass by.
Be patient – it takes time to harness the skill of calming your mind. When you begin it will seem like an effort but if your practise and keep reminding yourself that your thinking is not fact, you will be able to put the content of your thoughts into perspective and be less influenced by them on an emotional level.
It definitely works though, I know, I’ve done it…still doing it!
More on Mandy: http://www.mandyjane-lifedesign.com The author of this blog lives in Surrey, UK and offers counselling to couples and individuals. All names have been changed to protect the identity of clients. Personal client stories shared in this blog have been published with prior permission from the relevant clients.