In the busy whirlwind of life, calmness might seem like a friend you rarely have the chance to catch up with.
Peace of mind, also described as inner calm, refers to an internal state of tranquility. When you have peace of mind, 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 of mind when 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. Plus, 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. Try these tips anytime, anywhere, to get started.
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.
It’s entirely natural to worry about a parent’s illness, or feel dismayed and angry by your recent job loss. But 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.
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.
Nursing feelings of anger, disappointment, or resentment takes up plenty of emotional energy and can contribute to physical and mental health symptoms, including:
- poor heart health
- sleep problems
- stomach distress
Forgiveness doesn’t just benefit the person you forgive. It could do even more for you, in the end.
In fact, according to
Of course, 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. Going over and over past mistakes won’t erase what happened, but it can leave you mired in self-blame and regret.
You’re on the path to self-forgiveness if you’ve already:
- made an effort to amend the wrong
- committed to changing your behavior
Your next steps toward a more peaceful mind involve offering yourself compassion and letting go of guilt and shame.
A therapist can help, but you can also get started here.
Acceptance proving more difficult than you imagined? Sometimes a guiding tool can make it easier to let go of distressing thoughts.
Why not give meditation a try? Some of the many potential benefits of this ancient Hindu practice include increased self-awareness, reduced stress, and positive brain changes.
Mindfulness makes up an important part of Buddhist meditation. Buddhism itself holds inner peace as an essential aspect of well-being.
If you’re familiar with the concept of nirvana, you might know it’s often used casually to describe a state of euphoria or bliss. In Buddhism, though, this ultimate goal does reflect a type of inner calm — the peace that arises in the absence of suffering and desire.
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 inner peace.
New to meditation?
While too much time alone can lead to loneliness, spending just the right amount of time on your own could
Setting aside space for solitude can promote some people’s deeper sense of contentment over time.
Maybe an English teacher assigned daily journal entries. You completed the exercise grudgingly at first, but with more enthusiasm and commitment once you realized putting your feelings on paper did, in fact, provide you with a different perspective.
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.
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 calm.
Spending time in nature can help you get peace of mind by:
- soothing worry, anger, or fear
- easing stress and promoting relaxation
- lower your risk for depression and other mental health conditions
- enhancing feelings of kindness and social connection
- improving concentration and focus
A few ideas to try:
- Visit a neighborhood park.
- Explore a national forest.
- Challenge yourself with a hike across rugged terrain (safely, of course!)
- Relax at a nearby beach or lake shore.
- Get your hands dirty with a little gardening.
Tip: No matter what you choose to do, consider leaving 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.
Inner tranquility can help you weather the changing seas of life with more resilience and emotional fortitude.
While greater peace of mind is possible for anyone, it may not happen overnight. Offering yourself kindness and compassion along the way — while remembering that patience also plays an important part — can make all the difference.