Peace of mind, also described as inner calm, refers to an internal state of tranquillity. When you have mental peace, you might feel:
- at ease within yourself
- a sense of self-compassion
- unruffled by day-to-day worries
- prepared to welcome whatever life tosses your way
You might assume you can only find peace from within when you’re finally completely free of troubles, but that’s not the case. In fact, it often works the other way around. Feeling at peace internally can boost overall contentment and feelings of happiness, regardless of the challenges you face. A relaxed and calm outlook can help you navigate life’s often-turbulent waters more smoothly. Finding peace of mind isn’t as challenging as it seems. You can find peace of mind by:
- accepting what can’t be controlled
- forgiving yourself and others
- staying focused on the here and now
- going within
- journaling your thoughts and emotions
- connecting to nature
1. Accept what can’t be control
You can’t actually control your mind and simply tell it, “Be more peaceful” — just as you can’t control life. Life is unpredictable. From time to time various challenges will surface, complicating your daily routine and leaving you anxious, drained, or even afraid. When you fixate on those feelings, they can eventually take over, disturbing your peace and making it more difficult to cope. Ignoring those feelings to just get on with things generally doesn’t help, either. Suppressed emotions can intensify, leaving you far less calm down the line.
Acceptance, on the other hand, often does make a difference. Research shows that accepting your own thoughts and emotions is an effective strategy. You can also practice cognitive reframing by reminding yourself:
- “What’s happening right now won’t last forever. In the meantime, I’m doing my best.”
- “This is a tough situation, but I can get through it.”
- “I feel miserable right now, but I won’t always feel like this.”
It’s natural to want to turn away from pain, so it can take time to get in the habit of acceptance. But as it becomes more natural, you’ll likely find yourself feeling more at peace.
2. Practice forgiveness
Feeling hurt, even angry, when someone wrongs you or treats you unfairly is an understandable (and completely natural) response. Yet holding on to grudges or slights won’t do much to help you find inner peace. Feelings of anger, disappointment or resentment takes up plenty of emotional energy and can contribute to physical and mental health symptoms. Forgiveness doesn’t just benefit the person you forgive. It could do even more for you, in the end.
Forgiveness doesn’t always come easily, with a snap of your fingers. It’s often a long and emotionally demanding process that goes beyond simply saying, “I forgive you.” Forgiveness involves compassion and empathy, not to mention acceptance. That goes for your own actions, too. You’re on the path to self-forgiveness if you’ve already:
- made an effort to amend the wrong
- committed to changing your behaviour
Your next steps toward a more peaceful mind involve offering yourself compassion and letting go of guilt and shame.
3. Practice mindfulness meditation
Try meditation for peace of mind. Evidence suggests mindfulness meditation can promote greater awareness of the present moment, whether it brings joy or pain. In general, it helps you cope with emotional distress. Both focused meditation and increased mindfulness can indirectly help you acknowledge accept, and let go of the physical and emotional distress that might otherwise stir the waters of your mind. With a regular meditation practice, this acceptance can go a long way toward promoting lasting mental peace.
4. Make time for yourself
While too much time alone can lead to loneliness, spending just the right amount of time on your own could benefit your well-being and lead to finding peace in a frantic world. Setting aside space for solitude can promote some people’s deeper sense of contentment over time.
5. Keep a journal
Journaling can help you process and express emotions you might otherwise keep inside. Writing, of course, won’t get rid of your troubles. But you might find that committing them to paper helps ease some of their emotional weight and transforms inner peace from an exception to more of a rule.
6. Get back to nature
Do you head for the trees (or the seas) when you need some rest and respite from the daily grind? An abundance of research backs up your instincts: Natural environments, green spaces in particular, can ease emotional distress and foster feelings of inner calm and peace of mind. Leave your phone at home (or powered down in your backpack if on a hike). A constant stream of notifications or the urge to refresh your social media feeds can quickly chip away at your newfound calm.