We can blame it on our generation, technology or maybe even our unceasing ambition (hey, nothing wrong with that), but there’s no denying that us as humans aren’t the easiest people to please. Employees are jumping from job to job more quickly, singles looking to settle down are few and far between, and bigger, better and faster technologies have us always looking for the next best thing.
While we’re all about holding high standards for ourselves, this constant desire for things to improve has created an inability for us to feel truly comfortable with anything. And although we all inherently know that any level of perfection cannot be reached, that doesn’t exactly help feelings of happiness and self-satisfaction. Inspirational speaker Mitch Williams explains that “without inner peace, as well as peaceful relationships, any so-called happiness we may experience will most often be more about striving, wanting and fleeting moments of self-aggrandizement and ego gratification. Peace is the foundation of any true happiness, and it’s only from a place of peaceful balance and equilibrium that we have the insight necessary to take truly effective action to address the various challenges of life.”
So how can we still reach for the stars, but feel at peace while on our way up? Experts emphasize the importance of having this balance in our everyday life and how anyone can achieve it:
Practice feelings of gratitude
Having gratitude towards many aspects of your life can help you feel more at peace with where you are now. Plus, it’s a pretty easy habit to pick up! Start your mornings by thinking of a few things you’re grateful for each day, or even pick up a gratitude journal if that helps you stay focused. Kathy Walsh, parenting expert and founder of Joyohboy, says “gratitude journals can help us all focus on the good. Going to bed with positive thoughts and a heart filled with gratitude helps aid in a restful night’s sleep. It really is the key to a peaceful heart and a joyful life.”
Exercisers are used to being told to breathe, but it’s pretty vital for your mental health, too. Clinical hypnotist Scott Schmaren explains,“By controlling our body, by controlling our breath, we induce what is called ‘the relaxation response’ in our brain and our minds begin to slow down and become more peaceful. When you control the physiology of our body, our minds and emotions follow along.” Practicing deep inhales and exhales are a great first step to giving yourself peace of mind and—best part—can easily be done no matter where you are.
Get your priorities straight
It’s hard to feel at peace when you have so many temptations distracting you from your goals. Decluttering your space, making to-do lists or even writing down your goals are all beneficial towards achieving peace of mind at a moment’s notice. Bal Agrawal, CEO of LifeWorx Inc., says that often, “there are too many distractions, and if you have more than three to five priorities, it will be very difficult to find peace. Best is to pace and spread out these priories over time and focus on one or two things.” Think about what’s really important to you, then forget about the rest (for now, at least). You’ll feel calm enough to tackle what’s pressing first, and then be able to accomplish more later.
This ancient practice has been becoming much more mainstream lately, and if you see how zenned out meditators are, you can understand why! Ridding yourself of negative thoughts and allowing your mind to focus on a single movement, the breath, can bring you an immediate and overwhelming sense of calm. Sherna Stephenson, founder of the meditation app BlackZen, suggests that, “Meditating twice a day, in the morning to begin the day and in the evening to complete the day, can have a profound impact on centering yourself so you feel less tension and invite more joy. When our minds and emotions are scattered and not at peace, we respond in ways not consistent with promoting happiness.”