“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Finding inner peace in the world we live in today seems to be a significant challenge. Trying to find balance as you keep your sanity intact while working eight-hour days, and then pick up after the kids, run errands, make dinner, and do the laundry…can get overwhelming.
Most of us have forgotten what it means to live a life without being constantly overworked, overloaded, and undervalued — not only by others, but by ourselves.
But there are ways to find (and maintain) peace of mind.
Much like anything in life, inner peace is a choice. But it’s not something you can simply turn on, decide to do, and then do it.
It needs to be achieved, improved upon and is an ongoing journey that requires a lifelong commitment.
In this post, you’ll discover how to find inner peace, its practical applications in your daily life, and how you can take your inner peace to the next level.
What is Inner Peace?
You don’t need to meditate on a mountain or scurry away to a holistic retreat to find inner peace. After all, we live in the real world. So, learning how to find peace amidst the frantic pace of day-to-day life is what we need most.
That moment when someone cuts you off and gets the last parking spot, or your toddler’s juice box spills over the new rug, or your phone starts to ring in the middle of an important virtual presentation. That’s when you need inner peace, right when you’re angrily suppressing the urge to spurt out a stream of 4-letter words.
So, what is inner peace? Inner peace is:
- Finding happiness not through achievements, but through reconnecting with yourself
- Rediscovering who you are and staying true to yourself, without feeling compelled to please others
- Letting go of thoughts, emotions, pains, and worries weighing you down
- Living in the moment, and not ruminating about the past or worrying about the future
- Being in a state of gratitude and contentment
- Being kind to others, and to yourself
- Accepting everything in your life — your career, body, relationships, everything — so you can own your problems, then take control and improve your life
How to Find Inner Peace
The three practical tips below set the foundation to bring inner peace into your life:
Challenge Negative Thoughts and Accept What is
Negative thoughts create “noise” in your head that can cause all sorts of damage. Navigating difficult thoughts and emotions, without crashing and burning, is the basic definition of inner peace.
Being positive doesn’t mean ignoring the negative. Being positive means overcoming the negative. There's a big difference between the two.
Here’s how to curate your thoughts to find inner peace:
- End all negative thinking with a “but” that is followed by a positive statement or affirmation. So, for example, instead of beating yourself up when things don’t go as planned, you can say “I didn’t have a very productive day today, but I can always do better tomorrow.”
- Learn to differentiate between self-blame and healthy criticism
- Keep a journal and record negative thoughts, and you may see a pattern emerge that you can take action on
- Accept the present moment — don’t resist, struggle or argue. The present is here, and no amount of conflict will change it, and trying to will only create more suffering. Instead of challenging the moment, accept it, and ask yourself what the current moment requires of you, and do it
Make Mindfulness a Habit
Mindfulness simply means being in the here and now, and not compulsively thinking about the past or the future.
You need to proactively take the effort to teach your mind to become still. It’s difficult for a turbulent mind to be at peace. Meditation helps to shift your mind from turmoil and unrest to stillness and tranquility.
The mind is like water. When it's turbulent, it's difficult to see. When it's calm, everything becomes clear.
~ Prasad Mahes
Here’s how to practice mindfulness meditation for inner peace:
- Find a quiet area to sit
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath
- Be attentive to the sensations within you (feel the aliveness of your hands, legs, chest)
- Be aware of the sights, sounds and touches around you (really notice them)
- Treat your thoughts like passing clouds — don’t push the thoughts away, but don’t pay attention to them either, simply let them come into the horizon of your awareness, and then simply drift away
- Allow yourself to find peace and harmony in the present moment. True inner peace arises in the “now.”
- Burn white sage to promote mindfulness. Burning sage can help to encourage a state of mindfulness as it engages all of the senses, bringing more awareness. Research has shown that mindfulness meditation can help to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, and it’s easier to be mindful when you create the mood and environment to enter a better mental space.
Read our blog post to discover the many benefits of mindfulness meditation.
That said, getting into a mindful or meditative state does not always mean sitting cross legged and humming a mantra, if that’s not your thing.
You can also choose to engage in an activity that demands 100% of your attention such as reading, painting, pottery, solving a puzzle or working on a zen garden.
Figuring out what works best for you will make it easier and more enjoyable to wind down and turn mindfulness into a habit.
Non-attachment is not about being emotionally dead, but about letting go of the thoughts and emotions that create suffering. Once you learn to detach from your thoughts, you can experience tremendous relief, well-being, and a prevailing sense of peace.
Attachment is also not to be confused with commitment. When you become attached to fame, certain securities in life, attention, a certain idea of yourself, you may ignore everything else in your life in blind pursuit of that objective.
Non-attachment is linked to many beliefs, most commonly Buddhism, and allows us to live in the world fully, without expecting anything in return.
The root of suffering is attachment.
Here’s how to practice non-attachment for inner peace:
- Stop looking for happiness outside of yourself. We often chase happiness believing someone or something can bring us joy — making the pursuit of happiness the biggest form of attachment.
- Pay attention to every time you say “should” or “must,” as expectations are often preceded by these two words. For example, “He should not talk to me that way,” or “I must receive that award, because I deserve it,” simply means that you believe something “should” or “must” happen. Let go, and allow life to unfold without imposing your expectations on it, and you’ll be much happier.
- Include thought-awareness into your life, meaning be aware of how irrelevant your thoughts are, unless you give them meaning. When you don’t give them any importance and they simply come and go, they cease to cause you pain.
- Embrace the ideals of non-attachment and transience, by working on a zen garden. No two patterns and arrangements are the same, and this reminds you that nothing is permanent. Mindfully working on your garden allows you to truly experience and live in the moment.