21 March is known as the World Day for Inner Peace. A beautiful initiative to organize a school day dedicated to world peace, in which students could experience inner peace for themselves, through meditation.
It was set up to spread the message of peace in some of the most troubled areas around the world: refugee camps, occupied territories, and places devastated by war. Places where inner (and outer) peace is a great challenge.
However, inner peace is something we all seem to be looking for, no matter where we’re from and what situation we’re in.
Let’s start with a definition of the term. Inner peace is the state of calm you feel within yourself. It’s an achievable state of mind that has everything to do with how you feel inside, instead of what’s happening around you.
Peace is actually our most natural state of being. If we do not return regularly to our hearts, and to the stillness within, we would most likely be permanently overstimulated, hyperactive, exhausted, or even burnt out. The world around us could be stress-inducing and chaotic, but if you try to keep your calm no matter what, inner peace will more likely be your default modus.
The first step towards inner peace is to be open to it. To believe it’s possible you can achieve it, even though you might think you can’t because your mind keeps spinning around. Simply trust that every action you take will bring you a (little) step further.
Here are eight tips that will help you on your way.
Meditation is about mental silence. It’s the exercise of calming your mind in order to connect with the present moment and to observe and accept whatever is going on in and around you.
In everyday life, our minds are always thinking. To-do lists, what to eat for dinner, things we have done and could have done differently… We’re never not thinking about anything. And even though meditation is not about stopping your thinking, it is, in fact, an efficient way to allow yourself a break from the outside world and observe what’s going on inside you, pleasant or unpleasant. In a state of mental and emotional calm, you learn to simply observe and acknowledge things as they are, which helps to achieve some sense of peace in your life.
This may sound like a no-brainer, yet most of us are glued to our screens all day long. If there’s one big cause that disrupts inner peace, it is social media. Social media can cause a fear of not living our best lives when comparing ourselves to friends’ or famous people’s stories and posts. This alone will disrupt your inner peace.
Moreover, research shows that being present on social media for extended amounts of time can cause physiological changes in the brain. It lowers our ability to maintain our attention on any one selected topic, and it makes us addicted to our screens, by causing our bodies to release dopamine (the happy hormone) each time we post or get a notification from an app. Studies show that the brain scans of heavy social media users look very similar to those addicted to drugs or gambling.
So, trying to say bye to your phone more often is a great idea if you'd like to keep your inner peace high.
See your breathing as the remote control of your autonomic nervous system. By changing the way you breathe, you change your state of mind in just a few seconds!
Feeling stressed or anxious? Controlled, slow breathing triggers the relaxation response of our bodies, slowing down your heart rate, relaxing your muscles, calming your nerves, and soothing your thoughts. Just sit down, close your eyes and breathe slowly in and out from the belly for a while. You will soon notice a calmness coming over you.
Breathing is one of the fastest and most effective ways to achieve inner peace. Need help? We’re here to guide you, as moonbird is specifically designed to guide you in doing slow breathing exercises in order to find more inner peace.
When you’re consciously making an effort to be kind to those around you, you will always feel better. If you focus on the good, the good will come back to you, and you’ll quickly realise that you’re more at peace since your mind pays less attention to the things causing you distress.
If you’re going through stressful times, try performing acts of kindness on a daily basis. Help others, but don’t forget yourself in the process! In general, the world becomes more peaceful if you are kind to yourself. Do things that make you happy and lift your spirit. Love, for yourself and for others, is the key to living a life with more inner peace.
Nature is such a beautiful thing. Not only because it is literally beautiful, but also because surrounding yourself with nature instantly improves your well-being. Our relationship with nature – how much we notice, think about, and appreciate our natural surroundings – is a critical factor in supporting good mental health and preventing distress.
Research shows that people who are more connected with nature are usually happier in life and more likely to report feeling their lives are worthwhile. You can take a daily walk in the woods or by the water, but if that’s not available, a short walk in the park around your house also helps to lower your stress levels and curb your anxiety.
Whatever you do, spending time outdoors is always a quick and easy way to achieve inner peace.
Laughing is the best medicine, as it works for basically anything. Laughter boosts immunity, lowers stress hormones, decreases pain, relaxes your muscles, prevents heart disease, adds joy and zest to life, eases anxiety and tension, relieves stress, improves mood, strengthens resilience, strengthens relationships, promotes group bonding, and helps defuse conflict.
Inner peace will never be achieved when you’re taking your life too seriously. Yes, life can be stressful, challenging, and take unexpected turns, yet the invitation is to keep finding the joy and beauty of it.
If you're having a hard time and your mind is putting you to the test, find things that make you smile. A funny movie, a night out with friends, dancing around in your living room: whatever works for you.
Inner peace is both the foundation and the sustenance of creativity. Expressing yourself and making art of all kinds improves your well-being. It’s one of the most mindful things you can do, as you only focus on what you do, pay attention to every detail and get into the flow state where you don’t notice time passing by.
Whether it’s making music, drawing a picture, or painting a chair: being in the creative process puts your mind at ease and shifts your attention from pain and anxieties to something beautiful.
Do you think you’re not creative? Guess again. Every person is intrinsically creative. And you don’t have to become a Picasso to make art. Just do it and trust the process (not the outcome).
Mindfulness is a state of clear presence or peace of mind that enriches your life. This can be achieved through shifting your focus within, through meditation. You don’t have to necessarily close your eyes and sit still to practice mindfulness. Why not try to be mindful with your eyes open, as much as you can?
At any moment during your day, you can bring your attention back to the present moment. A mind that is at peace is in the here and now and is not thinking compulsively about the past and the future. What can you do? Every time you feel a thought or feeling coming up, try to shift your attention to for example your breathing, your bodily sensations, or the thing you are doing at the moment (like sipping your coffee).
Try to be as attentive as you can be and allow your mind to find harmony with the present moment. True peace always arises in the now.
Want help finding the present moment and inner peace? Find out how breathing with moonbird can help.
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