There are lots of lists out there describing what people consider to be the most important things to do in life. And these lists have lovely sentiments. Find love. Appreciate your family. Do something you are passionate about. I don’t disagree with any of that advice. Those are important things. But all those lists avoid […]
We all wish to have that seemingly elusive “peaceful mind.” A peaceful mind is like a still pond. You can toss a pebble or rock into it, and there will be some ripples. However, it quickly reverts back to its still state.
Like the pond, a peaceful mind may be upset momentarily by life’s inevitable frustrations and problems. But it quickly goes back to being still and at peace. That kind of mental steadiness is what we all strive for.
But how do we get there? How do we achieve that peaceful state of mind? Below are some ways to develop a peaceful mind so that you can feel less worried, agitated and stressed.
Don’t Take Things Personally
If you want to consistently have a relaxed, peaceful mind, don’t take what others do and say personally. Admittedly, it is very hard not to get upset and take it personally when someone is rude to you. When that happens, we reasonably think, “Well, if I was important or powerful or likeable, then that person wouldn’t be rude to me.” However, that simply isn’t true.
If someone is rude or mean to you, it is because that person has a character flaw. Their actions have nothing to do with you. Rather, their poor behavior is the result of their flawed character.
So, while the behavior of rude or unkind people can be upsetting, their behavior shouldn’t rob you of your peace. You can be at peace knowing that regardless of what others do and say, you choose to hold yourself to a higher standard.
Stop Worrying About What You Can’t Control
One of the main reasons why we unnecessarily feel agitated is that we worry about matters which are outside of our control. For instance, try as we might, we can’t control other people. Likewise, we can’t control the weather, the economy, or whether we or someone we love becomes ill.
In fact, a great deal of life is outside of our control. And yet, the things that are outside our control are what we worry about the most. That worry is futile! Worrying will never change anything.
The only thing you can control in life is yourself. So, be kind, be responsible and be honorable (meaning be trustworthy and keep your word). Live a life in which you hold yourself to the highest standard. And if other people around you act without honor, don’t worry about it.
If calamity befalls you, deal with it as best you can. But again – don’t worry about it. Worrying has no value, and it will not solve your problems. Worry only prevents you from having a peaceful mind.
Surround Yourself with Calm, Peaceful People
When we are around agitated, unhappy people, we tend to feel that way ourselves. People like that have a negative energy which saps the life out of everyone. They will point out everything that is wrong in life and will predict tragedy at every opportunity. Those folks will steal your peace of mind.
People who are angry and aggressive have the same effect. Unfortunately, there are some people in this world who like to create conflict. They run around telling people off whenever they feel the slightest bit offended. They are unhappy, and they believe their unhappiness is everyone else’s fault. Avoid these people like the plague. They create drama wherever they go, and they will rob you of your peace.
Instead, if you want to have a peaceful mind, choose to be around mature, relaxed, easy-going people. Be around people who themselves are peaceful, and their peaceful spirits will rub off on you!
Pray or Meditate
Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, our minds are agitated. We may be worried, irritated or just plain mad! That happens to the best of us. When our emotions get the better of us, that is the time to stop and pray or meditate.
Through prayer and meditation, we give our brains a break from whatever is troubling us. Those practices allow us to clear our minds. So, for instance, we may change our focus to praying to God for strength and guidance. Or we may try to turn our attention to peaceful thoughts by listening to a guided meditation.
It doesn’t really matter which approach you choose. The point is to give your brain something else to do besides engaging in anxious thinking. I happen to use both approaches. So, sometimes I’ll pray or listen to a hymn. At other times, I’ll listen to a guided meditation. Both help me return my mind to a positive, peaceful state.
Immerse Yourself in a Positive Activity
If you are feeling agitated or stressed, sometimes it helps to just do something positive. You need to do something that allows your mind to stop thinking upset, frustrated thoughts, and to instead focus on a quiet, peaceful, positive task. Ideally, the task should be something that gives you a sense of accomplishment. At the end of the task, not only should you feel more relaxed, but your self-esteem should get a little boost!
Baking a pie, doing some gardening or cleaning out a closet are all positive, productive ways to divert your attention from your concerns. The benefit is that when we do something positive, we feel capable. We feel like we have the power to solve our problems, and that naturally makes us feel less worried and upset.
So, find an activity that allows you to accomplish something of value! Immerse yourself in a project. For example, you might create a photo album for a family member. Or maybe you might purge your belongings and create a pile of stuff to give away. Not only will your home look better with less stuff, but someone else will appreciate your hand-me-downs.
When you shift your focus away from your concerns and on to something positive, you naturally will feel more positive and more peaceful.
Realize that you don’t have to live your life feeling agitated or worried. If you are seeking to develop a more peaceful mind, consider using the approaches above. If you do so, you will find that you are more relaxed, at ease, and at peace. (To read about being at peace in an unpeaceful world, click here.)
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