If you’ve been struggling with anxiety, stress, or depression then the phrase “peace of mind” might sound like something from a fairytale. But I can assure you that peace of mind really does exist. And not only that, it’s something that you can accomplish in your own life.
Some people mistakenly believe that peace of mind is something that you only experience when things in your life are trouble-free, but that’s not true. Peace of mind and focus go hand-in-hand. Therefore, when you learn how to stay focused and gain control of your thoughts, you are able to experience peace of mind. If you lack the ability to focus, it’s difficult to experience peace. The more you develop this habit, the easier it will be to live in a state of constant peace.
What is peace of mind?
If you look up the phrase “peace of mind” on the Merriam Webster website it defines it as, “a feeling of being safe or protected”. However, I believe that the British definition found on collinsdictionary.com is more accurate, “the absence of worry”. It’s achieving a calm state of mind regardless of your situation and circumstances.
The most important step to achieving peace is to acknowledge the fact that you have control over your mind, including your thoughts and how you respond to others. If you refuse to take responsibility for your reactions to others then you will never live in peace. However, when you accept that you are in control of how you respond to people and situations you can begin to make progress in this area instead of living controlled by things that are happening around you.
Here are 7 tips to help you stay focused in order to experience peace of mind.
- Learn to practice mindfulness meditation.
If you have been leery of trying meditation because you aren’t “spiritual” then you should know that scientific studies are being conducted that back the benefits of meditation. One such example is a 2018 study titled “Cognitive Aging and Long-Term Maintenance of Attentional Improvements Following Meditation Training” which states, “The present study is the first to offer evidence that intensive and continued meditation practice is associated with enduring improvements in sustained attention and response inhibition, with the potential to alter longitudinal trajectories of cognitive change across the lifespan.” That’s fancy wording for basically saying that the study was promising in showing that doing meditation helps to improve your brain’s ability to focus now and in the future.
While some people use meditation for spiritual purposes it doesn’t have to be used that way. The physical and emotional benefits are something that anyone can benefit from.
Mindfulness meditation teaches you how to be present in the moment. This allows you to push out the worrying and nagging thoughts that creep into your mind. It helps you take control of anxiety and stress. This allows you to experience peace even if things in life aren’t perfect. And the physical benefits are numerous.
- Limit your use of social media.
There are things that are good about social media, but there are also lots of studies that show the ways that it can be harmful to the mental health of its users. The use of social media tends to cause us to compare the good, the bad, and the ugly of our lives with the highlight reel that friends and family are sharing. The messy parts of your life are never going to compare with the highlights that other people are sharing. Therefore, if you are struggling with peace and constantly find yourself comparing yourself to others on social media it can be best to stay off the platforms.
Social media is also a distraction. It feeds our FOMO (fear of missing out) craving. With access to social media on our phones, it’s easy to be tempted into stopping what you are trying to work on or think about in order to “check” what’s going on with friends and family.
- Let go of the past.
Getting hung up on the things that have happened in the past make it difficult to stay focused on the present and the future. Focusing our attention on things that we cannot change makes it difficult to maintain peace of mind. If there is something from the past that you can correct, then do it. Otherwise, it’s time to forgive others, forgive yourself, and move on.
- Don’t be easily offended.
It is much easier to maintain peace of mind when you let things roll off your back. If you take offense at every little thing that other people do and say, you will remain in a constant state of frustration. Your thoughts will feel out of control and you will quickly lose your peace. However, if you focus on believing the best in others you are shifting your thoughts which will make finding peace much easier.
- Choose your battles carefully.
If you make it your personal mission to correct everyone who is doing something you don’t agree with you are going to live in a constant state of strife. And it will be near impossible to keep your mind focused on what you want to focus on. Just like parents are taught to choose their battles with their children, you want to do the same thing with the people and situations you face daily.
For example, you might not agree with a conversation that is happening between your coworker and your boss, but if you are not part of the conversation it’s best to stay out of it. If you choose to involve yourself you could be putting yourself in a position of choosing sides, putting your job at risk, and adding stress that you don’t want in your life.
- Make time to journal.
Journaling is a great way to release those thoughts that are bogging down your mind. You can write out your stresses and worries and then once they are out of your head, release them altogether. Some people like to rip up or burn the paper as a symbolic way of showing that they are letting go of those thoughts.
Journaling also helps you to process through situations and see things in a different light. Take the time to write about your day, learn from it, and move on from it.
- Incorporate times of silence and solitude into your schedule.
Constantly being in the hustle and bustle of life is a sure-fire way to lose peace of mind and focus. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid people at all costs, however, taking time to get away from everyone else and be in total silence can help you to reconnect with yourself. If you find that you have lost all peace, you might need to take a solitude retreat. You could get away for a weekend alone or simply an afternoon. Find a quiet place to retreat to. Allow yourself to think about the thoughts that have been rolling around in your head. Then, decide how to deal with those thoughts. Allow yourself to recharge during this time.
Sometimes it can be difficult to realize what we are thinking and how those thoughts are impacting us. If you are struggling to obtain peace of mind you could benefit from a conversation with a local therapist. They know the right questions to ask to help you get to the root of your struggle. Then, they can provide you with actionable steps to help you find and live in peace.
Zanesco, A.P., King, B.G., MacLean, K.A., et al. (2018, September). Cognitive Aging and Long-Term Maintenance of Attentional Improvements Following Meditation Training. Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, 2: 259. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s41465-018-0068-1