Inner Peace - Where To Begin?
What is inner peace? A clear conscience? Total acceptance of self? Reckless abandon?
Inner peace is a state of being that supercedes any and all circumstances taking place in one's life. The trick to finding inner peace is to shift our sense of power and control from doing to being.
The demands of everyday life are immersed inside people, places and events that come at us from all sides. It's hard not to feel as if life is happening "to us" instead of "with us". The only thing we truly have control over at all times is how we let life's circumstances affect us. This control -this choice- is not an easy one to see amidst the pressures and demands we continually face.
Cultivating inner peace requires a priority shift that values quality of experience over productivity, efficiency, or outcome. Regardless of the circumstance or task at hand, choosing to be -to flow- with a situation grounds us in the experience. It also grounds us inside self.
More oftentimes than not, the biggest obstacles to being at peace with self are the thoughts that run around in our heads throughout the day. Thoughts about what we could be doing, what we should be doing, or what we'd rather be doing carry undertones of lack, loss, and worthlessness which eat away at our core self-essence, and preempt any possibility of inner harmony from taking root. Inner peace and negative thinking patterns cannot exist in the same mind-space.
In obtaining inner peace we enter into the essence of who and what we are as individuals, unfettered by the "mental" requirements of roles, expectations, or circumstances. Realizing that life is meant to be lived rather than endured, or conquered, or ignored puts us back in the driver's seat. If we make up our minds that our primary objective within any circumstance is to experience it to the fullest, we've in a sense made peace with the circumstance at hand, and made "a peace" inside self.
3 Quick De-Stress Triggers
With work and family and other obligations, a lot of us don't have a spare hour, or so to dedicate to cultivating a lifestyle of inner peace. Meditation, taking space, or even quiet time are luxuries of time that just aren't available. Fortunately there are small, practical techniques we can use to redirect our focus within stressful situations, and in the process, incorporate a lifestyle of inner peace within our daily routine.
Short breaths, rushed breathes, or shallow breathes will put the body into a stress state without us even knowing it. Breathing is one of those things to be put on our checklist whenever there's a stress build-up within the day. Deep breaths tell the body everything is ok. Physical relaxation is a definite pre-requisite to entering a state a inner peace.
Grounding is a visual technique that involves focusing on an object in detail. It can be anything - a chair, a picture, a window, a pen. Focusing on it's characteristics (color, shape, texture, contour, shading) puts us back in the moment, which can be helpful when thoughts and plans and worries are going through our heads. In effect, this exercise tells our minds to shift out of "doing" and into "being".
The roles and expectations we place on ourselves can be the biggest obstacle to finding inner peace. Roles and expectations are oftentimes walls and boundaries in disguise. Sometimes just asking ourselves "Is this how I want this to affect me?" is enough to reframe our perspective on a situation. By asking this question we can automatically put ourselves back in the driver's seat. The bottom-line being, we can always control how situations affect us.
Cultivating inner peace is an ongoing process. It's a lifestyle that depends on the quality of the experiences that make up our lives. Life's demands require us to be doers, first; but that doesn't mean we have to relinquish our sense of presence and experience in the process.
Finding inner peace can be summed up in one familiar saying : "It's the little things that matter the most."
J.A. Jeanty specializes in areas of healing and recovery. She is the author of Easy Lovin' for Couples In Crisis - A Relationship Repair Manual
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