The biggest secret of how to realize inner peace can be summed up in one word:
First and foremost, acceptance of yourself. But also acceptance of things which you cannot change. As well as accepting that there are certain things you can change. And the fact that it’s down to you to do so.
Your own journey to acceptance and inner peace will be unique to you. To some people, it comes as naturally as breathing. To the rest of us, it’s a challenge – or even a constant struggle.
Here you’ll find a few simple steps which can guide you in how to realize peace of mind:
1 – Inventory your character
Realizing inner peace might be a journey. But it’s one that has to start somewhere.
- Write down all the aspects of your character you can think of, good and bad. It’s best to be as honest as you can be here. You can include regular actions or habits which you have too. Those which you’re pleased you have. Others that you’re not pleased you do.
- Divide that list into two columns.
- In the first, identify those aspects which you think need work on (not going to the gym enough or that you are often too shy in social situations, for example).
- In the opposite half, make a list of those things which you are content with about yourself (that you’re happy with the way you look or that you often support your friends and family, for instance).
- Consider what actions you can take to change those habits you don’t like. Consider those perceived “negative” personality characteristics from a new angle. If you can’t change that characteristic via right thought and right action, is there any way it could actually be of benefit to you?
2 – Make a list of everything you are lucky to have
Your family. Your friends. The fact that you have somewhere to live and enough to eat. Even this relatively short list includes some things which some people in the world have to fight for every day, or die because they don’t get it.
You might have serious problems in your life. But keep on adding things to the list of things you have to be thankful for. Take a look at it whenever you need a pick-me-up.
3 – Focus on the now – practice mindfulness
Trying to compare what’s happening right now with the high points of the past or the low points which might come in some apocalyptically-imagined future will rarely lead to anything other than unhappiness.
Be mindful of the now. Mindfulness is a relatively simple practice (in theory). You can start off by:
- Looking around you to identify things that you’re happy with. Are you at home? Is it nice and warm? Is it a sunny day outside? How does that make you feel?
- Identifying an object close to you. Consider the object wholly. What does it look like? What shape is it? What color? Touch it. Is it smooth or soft? Warm or cold? Did you realize that about it before you touched it? Try some other items.
- You can do the same thing with food. Examine and think about each bite carefully. You have a whole new sense – taste – to experience these objects through.
4 – Try to accept the things you cannot change
Are you constantly worried about a certain situation you find yourself in? Do you worry about a certain romantic relationship you’re involved in? About how well you get on with your colleagues at work? Do you get stressed when driving? Or when shopping?
Sit and think about that situation. Is there anything you can do to change it for the better or to control it?
Recognize the fact that if you have no option, it’s not your fault. If there’s nothing you can do, there’s nothing you can do. The only thing you can do is accept this. As we already know, acceptance is perhaps the greatest challenge to maintaining peace within yourself.
If there is something you can do, well…
5 – Take action
Once you’ve inventoried your character, accepted those things you can’t change and identified those things you want to, it’s time to act. This can involve:
- Monitoring your habits. Use a journal or other record to track the changes you’ve made or are making. Go over this record every so often. Feel the pride you deserve in your accomplishments.
- Trying out meditation or spiritual or martial arts. Inner peace meditation can come through seated meditation or the practice of techniques like yoga or Tai Chi.
- Going on a spiritual journey or venturing into nature (or both). Some people prefer to travel to give themselves a physical break from certain day-to-day habits or regular situations they find themselves in. This can include time spent everywhere from mountain-top monasteries in Greece to ayahuasca retreats in Brazil to their closest National Park to trekking in the Australian outback. Whatever works for you is great.
6 – Realize that you are on a path
The question of how to discover peace within yourself is not one with a single answer for everyone. It’s also not a switch which you can flick to turn on your inner strength. It’s a path. One which you might have to walk, diligently, for the rest of your life.
But deciding to start your own journey has a strength all of its own. When will you take the first step on yours?