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Do you want to know how to find peace of mind and happiness? Is it difficult to gain inner peace?
Life is full of ups and downs, and they impact your state of mind. Stressors can make it challenging to find inner peace, but there are many ways to achieve physical and spiritual calm.
Learn how to find peace of mind and happiness with the six methods below.
1. Practice Meditation
In 10% Happier, former ABC News anchor Dan Harris discovered that the antidote to stress and unhappiness is meditation, which focuses on the present.
Harris briefly mentions some of the scientific research and long-term benefits of meditation, such as the increased ability to focus, reduced risk of heart disease, and improved aging. He also notes that the benefits of meditation are becoming more widely accepted, as evidenced by the fact that it’s been embraced by corporations and the military.
However, his main goal is to show how meditation can help you find peace of mind and happiness, particularly if you’re skeptical about meditation or self-help. To Harris, the most valuable lessons from meditation are learning how to respond instead of reacting and how to worry productively.
How to Respond, Not React
One of the biggest improvements Harris notices after meditating is his ability to respond—instead of reacting—to situations. He contends that our default mode is to go through life on autopilot, letting our emotions and ego dictate our actions, which leads us to react to situations impulsively and make rash decisions. Meditation disrupts this cycle.
Harris presents a principle of Buddhist teaching that says we have one of three reactions to a situation:
- We like it. Think about meeting your friend’s new puppy.
- We don’t like it. Think about the traffic on your way home from work.
- We ignore it. Think about walking down a busy street and passing dozens of people.
Harris asserts that meditation offers another option: to notice without judgment. Meditation allows us to identify our emotions without attaching to them. Then we can decide how we want to respond. Harris argues that this doesn’t mean you won’t feel anger, sadness, or frustration, but that you’ll begin to stop acting on those emotions.
For example, imagine that after a stressful day at work, someone cuts you off in traffic on your way home. Instead of reacting (getting angry, yelling, and honking), you could identify that you feel stressed and irritated and continue without acting out of anger.
Harris provides evidence of the change in his behavior. After practicing meditation, Harris’s reputation in the newsroom changed. Rather than yelling at a producer or slamming his script down, Harris approached tense situations more mindfully. Eventually, he gained a reputation from his coworkers for being a laid-back, enjoyable, and easy person to work with.
How to Worry Productively
Worrying can cause stress and anxiety, but there’s a way to worry without it hindering your peace of mind. Harris says he learned that the intense worrying he used to engage in, particularly about how well he was doing in his career, is a recognized form of worry that Buddhists call “prapañca” or “monkey mind.” Harris defines prapañca as our tendency to worry excessively when our negative thoughts multiply uncontrollably.
Because meditation allowed him to identify when his thoughts were running out of control, Harris was able to consciously notice how much he worried. He explains that he began to approach his worrying habit (or prapañca) differently. He realized that worry is natural, and it can help you prepare both mentally and physically for situations.
According to Harris, you shouldn’t ignore your worry, as your concern about a situation may be warranted and worrying may alert you to something you need to address. However, after a certain point, worrying is no longer helpful to you. If you’re running through the same mental scenario over and over again but are no longer using that worry to prepare yourself for something, you’re wasting mental energy and indulging your ego by obsessing about future possibilities. Whenever you notice yourself falling down a rabbit hole of worry, Harris recommends asking yourself, “Is this helpful?” If it’s not, let it go.
How to Practice Meditation Effectively
It is tradition to begin meditation with a few recitations. They have a practical purpose for psychological cleansing and aren’t meant to be dogmatic rituals.
Try these rituals out from Mindfulness In Plain English. If they don’t work for you, then discard them.
“I am about to tread the very same path that has been walked by the Buddha and by his great and holy disciples. An indolent person cannot follow that path. May my energy prevail. May I succeed?”
This recitation is used to overcome hesitation when facing the large task ahead of you. Your mind is a jumble, and overcoming that looks like climbing a massive wall. Knowing that others have struggled with the same issues and succeeded should imbue you with confidence.
This wishes loving kindness on others.
“May _______ be well, happy and peaceful. May no harm come to _____. May they always meet with spiritual success. May they also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures in life. May they always rise above them with morality, integrity, forgiveness, compassion, mindfulness, and wisdom.”
Repeat this recitation multiple times, replacing the blanks with these in order: I | my parents | my teachers | my relatives | my friends | all indifferent persons | all unfriendly persons | all living beings.
2. Practice Gratitude
According to You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, gratitude is an effective way to find peace of mind and happiness. Gratitude is a state of being—having an awareness of and appreciation for the many miracles in your life. Think about how it feels when you thank someone for doing something incredible for you. You feel great, having received whatever it was and sending out thanks; they feel great for being appreciated, then you feel great again—it’s an endless circle of good feelings.
Because being in a state of gratitude creates such good feelings, it puts you at a high frequency, connecting you to Source Energy, which puts you in a powerful position to manifest more good things and experiences.
The more you can stay in a state of gratitude, the stronger your connection to Source Energy, and the more effortlessly you’ll be able to manifest something you can’t see into your reality.
When you are not in a state of gratitude, you cut yourself off from the potential flow of good things into your life. When you’re disappointed, angry, guilty, or oblivious instead of grateful, you’re at a lower frequency, less connected to Source Energy, and in a less powerful state to manifest good things into your life.
Gratitude and Power
Wallace Wattles perfectly expresses the power of gratitude in The Science of Getting Rich: “You cannot exercise much power without gratitude; for it is gratitude that keeps you connected with Power.” In other words, you are practically powerless without gratitude.
When you send grateful energy out, you receive it back, bringing you closer to Source Energy, raising your frequency higher and higher until you realize you are the same as Source energy, and you manifested your reality yourself.
Gratitude connects you to the truth: you are the power. Being grateful to Source Energy is being grateful to yourself, hence the “love yourself” element of each section of this book.
Gratitude and Faith
Gratitude strengthens faith. Faith is believing in what you can’t yet see. Faith is what allows you to leave your comfort zone and change your present reality. Faith destroys fear and allows you to take risks. A consistent state of gratitude makes it easier to believe that more good things are out there for you—you’ve received good things before, so it’s easier to believe more is coming.
Having faith means being grateful for what you don’t have yet. When you have unwavering faith and unwavering gratitude, your ability to manifest magnifies. When you’re grateful for that which you haven’t yet received, you’re telling the Universe you know it already exists, putting you at the right frequency to receive it.
Tips on Practicing Gratitude
Find the good in any situation. Be grateful, look for the good, and learn. No matter what is going on, say, “This is good because . . .” Look for ways to be grateful for all you’ve manifested—even the bad stuff. For example, if you have a flat tire you can be grateful for being able to show your kids how to deal with an unexpected situation, plus spending extra time with them. Doing this is important because focusing on the negative things in your life lowers your frequency and keeps you in a state of resentment and pain, possibly attracting more negativity to you. Focusing on the positive aspects raises your frequency, and allows you to grow because you see the lesson in the experience.
Write thank you notes. Mentally or physically, think about your day and note 10 things you are thankful for. Stopping and noticing throughout the day all the things you can be thankful for raises your frequency.
Love yourself. Be grateful for all you are and will be.
3. Regularly Relax in Nature
Everything must submit to nature—but as a rational being, you can choose to do so voluntarily. True freedom is the ability to do only what the world wants and to accept whatever it gives you. That frees you from selfish desires and anxieties.
Live naturally, as if you were alone in the wilderness. Follow nature and remember that the whole world is your home. To do this, forget about the past, leave the future up to nature, and do your work in the present.
Nature provides for you and takes away from you. Simple logic tells you that you should submit to this fact humbly and happily— resisting nature is futile. For example, don’t expect figs in the middle of winter, or children in your old age, because nature hasn’t decreed those things.
Call it nature or call it fate, whatever happens to you has been waiting to happen since time began. Be excited to help nature create what’s yet to come. All you need is what nature chooses to give you, at the time when nature chooses to give it.
Spending regular time in nature is another way to temporarily let go and find peace of mind, writes Sharma. You gain perspective, become less stressed, and access creativity that might otherwise be locked away. One way to take advantage of nature is to help it grow. Sharma proposes that you plant a tree to become more mindful of the passage of time. The changing leaves will keep you connected to the cycles of nature and ground you in the present.
4. Reject Anger and Blame
The book Meditations claims another important facet of finding peace is rejecting anger. Anger is never helpful. Imagine that someone asked how to spell your name. Would you respond by getting riled up and shouting the letters at him? That wouldn’t help him to understand what you said and would likely provoke anger in return. Instead, you’d do the rational thing: Simply tell him how your name is spelled.
Any task can be broken down into steps, just like a name can be broken down into letters. Therefore, you can approach every situation methodically and patiently, without anger.
When dealing with animals, objects, and situations, be patient and straightforward; anger won’t help you to handle any of them. Remember that you’re a rational being, and those things are not.
Getting angry at another person’s misbehavior is equally pointless. If someone misbehaves, it’s because he’s mistaken about what’s best. It then becomes your job to show him how and why he’s wrong if you can—simply losing your temper won’t solve anything.
If you do ever get angry, it’s because you’ve forgotten two key points:
- Nature ordains everything that happens.
- You aren’t responsible for what others do.
Blame is just as useless as anger and will also disturb your peace. Simply put, there’s nobody to blame for anything—the gods are infallible, and human wrongs are due to accident or ignorance.
When faced with someone else’s mistake, remember that you’ve also made mistakes. Furthermore, you’ve probably avoided similar mistakes to those the other person has made for bad reasons—such as fear of what others would think—rather than because your reason led you away from those mistakes. In other words, you have the potential to make the same mistakes as the people you’re upset with.
For example, sometimes you get hurt while sparring. You don’t get angry about that, blame your partner, or suddenly consider your partner a violent and untrustworthy person. You’re simply more cautious when sparring with that person in the future. Bring that same mindset to other areas of your life: Forgive mistakes and just be more cautious after one happens.
Also, just like you can forgive mistakes, you can meet any bad behavior with compassion. All you have to do is remember a time when you behaved that way yourself. What compelled you to act in such a way?
Now, realize that this other person is also under some kind of compulsion. If possible, remove that compulsion and thereby fix the behavior. If that’s not possible, simply accept the behavior for what it is.
5. Build Strong Interpersonal Relationships
In The Art of Happiness, the Dalai Lama believes that all humans are dependent on others for their well-being and happiness. To prove this, he points out that others provide the material goods and services we rely on for survival. Many people built your home, made the food you eat, and contributed to your education. By staying connected to people and building strong bonds with them, you’ll be able to achieve peace of mind and happiness.
Form Many Intimate Relationships
Since other humans are integral to your happiness, it’s essential to form strong connections with them. The type of connection you forge matters: According to the Dalai Lama, you should establish intimacy between yourself and many different people. Humans have defined intimacy differently across cultures and time, and there’s no overarching definition. Howard C. Cutler and the Dalai Lama propose that an intimate relationship is one in which you’re open with the other person and experience a connection.
6. Accept Suffering and Let Go of Guilt
A critical step in finding peace of mind and happiness is to accept suffering. Suffering typically has a negative connotation to it, but according to Howard C. Cutler and Dalai Lama in The Art of Happiness, acceptance of suffering means you’re facing your fears. By accepting suffering—rather than trying to avoid it—you’ll embrace situations that you might find difficult or uncomfortable. Acceptance doesn’t mean you have to like the situation you’ve been dealt, but it means you’ll be able to let go of your fears much more easily.
You can also accept suffering by refusing to indulge in guilt, insist Cutler and the Dalai Lama. Guilt is a form of suffering-denial: You refuse to accept that you, and all humans, make mistakes that cause suffering. Therefore, when you make a mistake that causes suffering, you feel it’s unacceptable and punish yourself by feeling guilty. Instead of stoking unconstructive feelings of guilt, approach mistakes as learning experiences, writes Cutler.
Let’s say you accidentally address a new acquaintance by the wrong name, which causes them to suffer. You spend the rest of the day beating yourself up over having used the wrong name, rather than accepting that accidental suffering is unavoidable—even when you create it—resolving to remember their name next time, and moving on to find peace of mind.
Peace of mind and happiness are two of the most desirable things in life, and you can attain them through these methods. Once you get to the root of your stress, you can create a healthy, happy lifestyle that you won’t want to change.
Do you have other ways to find peace of mind and happiness? If so, leave your suggestions in the comments below!
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