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This week, we are all about peace.  Inner peace to be exact! We have talked in the past about managing worry worry and will touch on this again here.  However, finding inner peace in the modern world is a significant challenge and goes a lot deeper than just worrying.

If you really think about it, everything about modern society feels like an obstacle to experiencing peace of mind.  From social media, advertising and even the next door neighbours, we are under increasingly more pressure to have the right shape, the right phone, the right dog and the right politics.  We can get so scared of being offended, or offending anyone.  It’s a minefield.

But there are ways to find and maintain inner peace. Inner peace is a choice, and many of your habits determine how much peace you experience in your daily life.

I’m not going to lie, I haven’t yet found inner peace, but as I get older, the more at peace with myself I become (one of the advantages of getting older is that you do get to realise what is important in life and those things that are less important).  In addition to getting older (which I see as a privilege that not everyone gets to experience), here are some other things I work on to help me find inner peace and enjoy life on a deeper, more satisfying level.

Focus your attention on those things you can control. Why worry about those things you can’t control? Focusing on things I can’t control, lowers my mood and makes me believe I’m less capable.
Literally ask yourself, “Is this something I can control? Will worrying be beneficial in any way?”

Spend time in nature. The original humans didn’t live in a 3-bedroom semi-detached and eat ready meals. Take a long walk in the park or spend a weekend camping. You’ll feel dramatically different compared to sitting in a building 24 hours every day. There’s something peaceful about spending time among the birds and the trees. In fact, just getting out in the sunshine can really help lighten the mood and give you a new perspective on things.

Be true to yourself. Few things disturb your inner peace than living a life you weren’t meant to live. It continuously gnaws away at you. Live a life that’s congruent with your values. For more information on this, go back to my musings on values and boundaries.
It’s too easy to allow society dictate your choices. You don’t have to spend your life on a career that’s impressive to others. You don’t have to chase after a fancy house. Make your own decisions about what’s most important to you.

Eat well and keep hydrated. You might not realise how bad you feel because you’re so used to it. Try eating the way you know you should for just a week. Note the change in how you feel.
Now try eating some junk food and see what happens to your mood and your overall sense of well-being. You’ll feel like you’ve been run over by truck.

Exercise regularly. This is something I struggle with. I don’t like gyms and I can’t do much running or jumping with a poorly foot.  However, exercise doesn’t have to be spending hours in the gym, getting a personal trainer or spending three hours a day with the Insanity DVD.  Exercise should feel good, and you feel good about yourself for doing it, so find something you enjoy, like dancing, swimming or even getting off the bus a stop earlier or parking a bit further away from your destination.

Do something nice for someone else. This is a great way to take your focus off of yourself. You become more aware that others are struggling, too. When you are kind, you receive kindness in return. You’ll also feel a sense of pride and satisfaction when you help someone else.

Be assertive. Many people confuse being assertive with being aggressive. It can be a struggle for some to be open and forward about their needs and desires.  It’s much easier sometimes to stay quiet and let others make decisions.  If you are happy with this, then fine, but if it is messing with your inner peace then you can be assertive without being aggressive.

Meditate.  Meditation is calming. It also helps to see life and its challenges more accurately. Things are often better than they seem. Meditation can prevent your mind from making a situation seem worse than it really is.

Avoid trying to change others. You’ll have as much success trying to change the weather. Honestly, it’s hard enough to change yourself. How will you ever manage to change someone else? All you can do is change the way you respond to other people.  While that takes some work, it can help you to have unhelpful responses when dealing with difficult people.

In summary, it’s important to take care of yourself mentally and physically. Eat properly, exercise, and be true to yourself. Be assertive and take charge of your life. All the accomplishments in the world can’t replace inner peace. Avoid chasing after those things that society has determined to be important. Decide for yourself and live the life that makes you happy.

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