Inner peace has become a luxury. We live in a convulsive society that “forces” us to lead a hectic lifestyle in which we don't stop for a minute. If we get involved, we will be overwhelmed by a mountain of things to do, most of them insignificant, that don't leave us a second to ourselves.
We are so caught up in the fast pace that sometimes, when we have some time for ourselves, we feel guilty. Guilty because we should be doing something more productive. But there comes a time when you need to stop and say "enough!". Enough of meaningless worries and an oppressive pace of life. Enough of social pressures, all those meaningless activities and the pursuit of perfection.
Finding inner peace is essential for our well-being and happiness. It is essential from time to time to relax, take a break and rearrange our priorities. This is a change worth making.
Tranquility is not peace. Today's world sells us a quiet, artificial and anesthetized peace that we can access simply by placing the "do not disturb" sign. This space of tranquility is important, no doubt, as it allows us to rest, but it is not the peace we need.
Inner peace is a subjective feeling of well-being, it is impalpable but very real as it fills us with deep tranquility. It is a state where we free ourselves from our main worries, fears, stresses and sufferings.
However, inner peace involves much more than just getting rid of negative emotions and feelings, it also means being aware of the wonders of life and feeling fully connected to the universe and to ourselves.
Inner peace is a feeling of calm in which we stop fighting against negative thoughts and emotions, even if this does not mean that they do not exist, but rather that they stop dominating and harming us because we do not give them too much importance and prevent them from becoming recurring worries. It is a state in which we mentally and emotionally separate from everyday problems and conflicts and take the psychological distance necessary to enjoy serenity.
Many people think that it is impossible to achieve that state of inner peace. They claim that everyday life is so uncertain and sometimes so capricious that it is not possible to find serenity because problems are always around the corner. True, there is no denying that life includes a huge dose of uncertainty. The key is the locus of control.
When we have an external locus of control and every situation has the power to negatively affect us and make us lose our temper, it is impossible to find inner peace. People with an external locus of control are like leaves moved by the wind that will not find peace even in the best moments, because they will think about all the misfortunes that may arise on the horizon.
But this does not mean that it is impossible to achieve inner peace. When we have an internal locus of control, we can decide which battles are worth fighting. If instead of reacting, we take control and decide with what attitude to face problems by taking the reins of our life in hand, we can aspire to develop lasting inner peace.
Therefore, inner peace is not something that is found by chance, it is a personal decision, a choice, it is something that is consciously built by putting into practice behaviors and thoughts that make us calm.
A monk seeking inner peace and enlightenment retired to a small, deserted and remote island. He promised never to get angry again, not to be sad or elated, but to just be at peace with himself.
He also promised himself never to leave that island and to settle for his company. He chose a seat, sat down near a tree, stopped and began to meditate. After many years of meditation and silence, he thought he had achieved enlightenment. He felt calm, revitalized and fresh, in complete harmony with the island and with himself.
He was so happy that he decided to send a letter to his former teacher, thanking him for his teachings and telling him that he had achieved enlightenment, that nothing in the world worried him and that he would never leave that peaceful island again.
The monk received an answer. He opened the letter with enthusiasm and, to his surprise, read only a series of insults against his person. The monk was so angry that he decided to leave the island to ask the old master for an explanation.
When they met she asked him what those insults meant. The master smiled and said:
“You said you had attained enlightenment, that nothing in the world troubled you and that you would never leave the island. If a few words are enough to make you angry and forget everything you said, are you really sure that you are at peace with yourself?
This Buddhist tale, in tune with Virginia Woolf's words: "You cannot find peace by avoiding life", offers us a great lesson: inner peace is something we find in ourselves. The peace that is obtained by eluding reality and problems is an artificial peace that will end as soon as adversity knocks on our door, as happened to the monk.
This means that inner peace is not built only when we are calm and peaceful, but also in the midst of the storm. Inner peace is tempered in adversity.
- Take some time to introspect
Spend fewer hours reading newspapers and listening to news and more time digging into yourself. When you allow your mind to absorb the negativity conveyed by most of the media, it will be very difficult for you to get rid of it. This is not about creating an artificial bubble of happiness around you, but it is recommended that you develop less toxic mental habits and make sure you spend time alone with yourself. You don't have to constantly think about problems, but make peace with yourself. Inner peace comes from feeling comfortable with decisions, thoughts and emotions, and for this it is necessary to constantly renew the image you have of yourself.
- Accept "negative" thoughts and emotions
Finding inner peace means, first of all, balance. Therefore, it is not possible to find serenity if you continue to fight “negative” thoughts and emotions or if you try to hide them in the recesses of your mind. To achieve inner peace it is necessary to practice radical acceptance, you have to accept these thoughts and emotions. In fact, when you learn to live them, they will lose their power over you. Remember that "negative" thoughts and emotions do not hurt you, what harms you and takes away your peace is clinging to them.
- Avoid destructive criticism
We all have a tendency to compare, draw conclusions and then criticize. But negative criticism is the worst enemy of inner peace. Criticism not only harms the person being criticized but also the one making the value judgment. It is usually an expression of mental rigidity and rejection of reality. The problem is that negative criticism will plunge you into a permanent state of dissatisfaction that will take you away from the serenity you intend to achieve. This doesn't mean that you have to accept everything, but you have to learn to differentiate between constructive criticism behind positive change and destructive criticism whose consequences are always negative. It is about learning not to judge and being more tolerant and flexible.
- Simplify your life
Sometimes you wish the day had more than 24 hours? You can't extend it, but you can simplify your life so that you can take advantage of every minute. Every now and then, it is convenient for you to stop and wonder if you are doing what you really like or if you are wasting time unnecessarily. Think about how to simplify your life so that you can spend more time on the things that really matter to you and give you happiness and satisfaction. Remember that being mature does not mean adding more and more, but eliminating and needing less and less to be happy.
- Practice gratitude
Don't let a single day go by without feeling grateful for something. There is always something to be grateful for, you just have to learn to appreciate the things we take for granted, like living or having the people who love us and we love next to you. When we begin to feel grateful for what we have, instead of complaining about what we don't have, we rediscover a new inner balance. Gratitude is one of the keys that opens the doors to serenity and happiness.
- Giving without expecting to receive in return
Many people expect to receive something in return, they turn interpersonal relationships into business relationships. When they don't get their reward, they get angry. So, if you want to achieve inner peace, you need to get rid of selfishness and rediscover the pleasure that the act of giving gives, simply to help or do a good deed. Giving must be rewarding enough in itself. Feel good about yourself for what you have done.
- Learn to be fully present
“If you are feeling depressed, you are living in the past, if you are feeling anxious, you are living in the future. If you feel at peace, you are living in the present ”, says a phrase about inner peace from Lao Tzu. Many times we live in anguish because we position ourselves between the disasters of the past and the worries of the future. Learning to be fully present in what Buddhists call "the eternal instant" will allow you to find peace in what you are doing, whatever it is. Speaking of which, you can practice some mindfulness exercises without even sitting down to meditate.
- Don't get attached, just let yourself go
Over the course of life we accumulate a lot of anger and resentment, feelings that end up hurting us and prevent us from achieving the inner peace that we so long for. Therefore, it is essential to learn to let go of the feelings and thoughts that hang on you and keep you tied to the past. It is equally essential to learn to practice detachment, even with the goals you have set for yourself. Life goes by, if you get attached you will be stuck fighting against the current, and this will exhaust you emotionally and physically. The visualization technique, “the leaves of the river”, will help you understand that everything changes.
- Calm your mind
Every day we face hundreds, thousands of stimuli. Our mind is in a state of constant overstimulation that prevents us from reaching serenity. Therefore, it is convenient to spend at least a few minutes a day practicing meditation or relaxation. Learn to clear your mind and free it from all daily worries. This relaxing music video will help you find inner peace even in the most complicated moments.