How to cultivate peace of mind
Peace of mind can be hard to find in the troubled world we live in. You can have every will in the world to have a good day and something will come along to scupper your plans. Whether it’s unexpected bad news, debt, ill health or just exposure to the general skulduggery that exists all around us.
The main way to cultivate peace of mind is to accept that we live in an uncertain world with no guarantees. When you accept the transient nature of life and the fact that we have little control over the future, it takes the pressure off trying to second guess and anticipate every eventuality. When we resist what is, we create enormous pressure for ourselves and spend our lives trying to control the uncontrollable. It’s like a dog chasing it’s own tail – a waste of energy and it won’t get you anywhere.
By acceptance, I mean – look at what you can control and let go of what you can’t control. Sure, it’s great to have goals, look after your health and take precautions where necessary but when we delve into the world of “what ifs”, we begin a path to neuroticism. “What ifs” are hypothetical, don’t go there unless it is something you can control.
Example: What if I break my leg on my skiing holiday?
You can’t necessarily control whether this happens or not, accidents are part of life but you could take out ski/health insurance. Do that and then stop fretting. Mentally shelve the worry and focus on what you can control.
Example: What if he/she is unfaithful and leaves me?
You have NO control over others, let it go and enjoy the good things with them in the present moment. Don’t allow your fearful thoughts to ruin otherwise happy moments.
Be aware of your focus
Most of us are ‘passive receptacles’ to our senses and thoughts. We are bombarded daily by fearful thoughts and when we do not pay attention to what we are focusing our attention on, the default position will be the scary fearful thoughts. This leads to anxiety and/or depression. Learn to be more aware of your focus. Are you focusing on fearful thinking that may have no real evidence behind it? Are your insecurities getting the better of you? Make a habit of focusing on neutral and/or positive thoughts. Also get into the habit of dismissing the scary thoughts that have no basis in reality, such as the “what if” thoughts. Remember that thoughts are facts – they aren’t real. They are your perceptions. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t valid but it also means that you shouldn’t automatically accept every thought as real and valid.
If you find you are constantly focusing on what might go wrong, your weaknesses, your mistakes, the negativity in the world, make an effort to do the opposite. Watch a comedy, take up a hobby…you have a choice over what you wish to focus your attention on.
Mindfulness can greatly help focus. It keeps you in the present moment so that you aren’t panicking about the future or fretting about the past. Learn to focus on what is happening right now. What can you see, hear, smell, touch and feel? Each time you sense your focus going elsewhere. force yourself back to your immediate environment. This takes practise too but it’s a great trick for peace of mind. Regularly check in – what am I focusing on? What we focus on creates our reality – be selective.
Tune out from others
I don’t mean stop socialising. I do mean, let go of comparisons and what others are up to. When we compare we inevitably feel we are inadequate, missing out or not doing enough. It’s a false comparison as you will never really know what is going on in someone else’s life. You only see what they allow you to see – an edited version.
Besides, your power lies in focusing on yourself, not on others. What’s more important is where you want to be and what your goals are. Tune out from others, it can confuse us and lead us to thinking we wants things that actually we probably don’t. It dilutes our essential self. Stop caring about what others think, this is a great way to feel peace of mind.
Stop fighting who you are and get to grips with your good bits and bad bits. No one is perfect and it makes no sense to resist and fight who you truly are. Start enjoying that funny laugh that everyone comments on, wear your hair just the way you like it…enjoy your quirks. Really – we can all do some self improvement but we are stuck with what we were given at birth. The quicker you learn to make the most of what you have been given and learn to love yourself as you are, the quicker peace of mind will follow. Stop the negative critical self talk – it is unhelpful. Instead, focus on what you are good at, focus on what you like about yourself (kind, funny, patient, tolerant, caring??) and get busy living rather than criticising yourself.
I could add more to this post but the above suggestions are a brilliant way to move towards a life filled with more peace of mind. Life is filled with ups and downs and seeking peace of mind is probably something we all have to work at but if you have the knowledge on where to start, you might find that peaceful state a little quicker.