It seems like everywhere I turn, everyone I know is seeking peace and calm connections. Ironically, some people I know are decluttering to bring peace. While less stuff does bring a sense of calm, true peace is an inside job.
All the decluttering in the world and leaving margin in your schedule will simplify life, but it won't bring lasting peace.
So what does?
Lately, I've been absorbed in the following books: Flow, Focus, and Peak Mind. They are intriguing and the content is actionable. I learned about these books from Sara Candela and Focusable. Sara and the #Optimalist Book Study Group taught me that "focus is everyone's problem, and everyone is focusable". Optimal performance and peace of mind are obtainable.
Where your mind goes, energy flows
The key is cognitive control. (Mindfulness) Simply put: self-awareness allows us to focus, flow, and enjoy life more than IQ. Focus and flow bring peace of mind. They keep our attention under wraps. When our attention isn't darting from one distraction to another, we experience peace & happiness.
Persistent practice of doing what stretches us = results & flow.
Results & flow = happiness.
Happiness = stressing less & peace of mind.
Peace permeates our soul when we stop, think, and tune into what is robbing it. We can trade hustle and the busyness badge for serenity.
We're all so programmed to distraction. I bet right now, you paused because your phone dinged with a notification. It's okay. It's become the norm; however, true peace comes from mindfully tuning into what matters most to you instead of being swept away by the dozens and dozens of distractions every minute. The following steps are the beginning to your peace of mind.
10 Steps to Peace of Mind
1. Stop & listen to your body.
Ignoring my body's signals sent me to the ER and landed me two emergency surgeries. The best advice I received from multiple doctors during my hospital stay and recovery was as follows: Listen to your body. It sounds so simple, right? However, most of us hustle through life eating and driving or talking and walking the dog. We do multiple tasks at a time. In doing so, we don't tune into any one thing well, particularly our body. I ignored multiple signs of my body's distress prior to the ER forced visit.
What if I'd listened to my body? Now, I pause & tune into my body and life. I only eat when I'm hungry. When I eat, I sit down and savor every bite chewing slowly. I actually taste my food instead of shoveling in bites while bent over the computer. I only eat what agrees with me. By listening to my body and mindfully tuning in, I pinpoint what depletes my energy or upsets my tummy. I make healthy choices instead of mindlessly stuffing my face on the run.
This is an important skill because food is fuel. When properly fueled with premium foods, we function better. Poor fuel causes us to sputter and slip. Good fuel leads to focus, energy, and a feeling of happiness. Processed foods cause us to be slow and sluggish. Processed foods energy doesn't last because they're low in nutrition and fiber causing us to crunch more calories than necessary. Pain is our body's scream to slow down and pay attention to what is causing it. Listen to your body.
2. Focus on the present moment. Purposefully plan times in your schedule to stop and just be present. Focus on your breathing and body. Is your breathing rapid, rhythmic, or slow. Be conscious about breathing in and out, in and out slowly and restoratively.
3. Focus on your breath. Whenever you feel stressed or overwhelmed, take a few deep breaths and focus on your breath. This will help you relax and be more in the present moment.
4. Pursue Self-regulation & reflection. Avoid self-deception. Practice mindfulness.
5. Connect with nature. Spend time outside in nature and appreciate the beauty around you. This can help you feel more connected to the world and find peace within yourself.
6. Spend time with loved ones. Surround yourself with people who make you happy and who support you. These relationships will help bring more joy into your life.
7. Do something that makes you happy every day. Make time for activities that bring you joy and make you feel good about yourself. This could include hobbies, exercise, or anything else that makes you happy. Align what you do with what you enjoy.
8. Let go of what’s out of your control. There are many things in life that we can’t control, so why worry about them? Accepting what we can’t control helps us feel more at peace with ourselves and the world around us. The other day I was stuck in traffic making me twenty minutes late for work. In the past, I would've ruminated, stressed, and stewed while sitting in standstill traffic. But not the other day. I refocused my mind on what I could do while I waited. I listened to a podcast and welcomed the extra time to learn something new.
Remember, where your mind goes, energy flows.
Therefore, while I was stuck in traffic, I recited the following: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
When I recited the Serenity Prayer, it changed my focus from what I couldn't control to what I could do. I couldn't get to work any sooner, but I could give thanks for a caring team that had me covered. I could give thanks for avoiding the accident just minutes before me. I could listen and learn to something new. Instantly, I went from rehearsing and ruminating worry to peace. You can too!
9. Let go of negativity. Capture your thoughts. The books I shared with you at the beginning of this post taught me that we all have a natural propensity to negative thoughts when we aren't focused and mindful about what we think about. You and I have control of our thought life. Thus, we have control of our actions, because thoughts lead to actions. Letting go of negative thoughts leads to peace of mind.
10. Be grateful. It’s easy to focus on what we don’t have and forget about all the good in our lives. But if we take the time to be grateful for what we do have, we will find more happiness and peace.
10 mindful minutes can change the day, change your life's trajectory, and bring ultimate peace.
True peace comes from the inside--your mind, then out.
YOU make a difference!
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