Written by Susie Elelman.
Webster’s dictionary defines inner peace as;
- inner – situated inside or further in; internal
- peace – mental or emotional calm, freedom from disturbance; tranquillity
I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t want to achieve inner peace but it sometimes feels impossible to attain when life’s everyday stresses start negatively impacting on our peace of mind.
Inner peace can mean different things to different people and can be achieved in many different ways.
The best definition I’ve heard for inner peace or peace of mind is; it’s a deliberate state of psychological or spiritual calm despite the potential presence of stressors.
Tenzin Gyatso, the current and 14th Dalai Lama, gives an even bigger global picture of why we must gain inner peace and not just for ourselves;
The question of real, lasting world peace concerns human beings, so basic human feelings are also at its roots. Through inner peace, genuine world peace can be achieved. In this the importance of individual responsibility is quite clear; an atmosphere of peace must first be created within ourselves, then gradually expanded to include our families, our communities, and ultimately the whole planet. – Dalai Lama
I learned a little about the spiritual side of India during my amazing trip there recently. In India, inner peace is considered a state of consciousness or enlightenment that can be cultivated in many ways including meditation, prayer and yoga.
Many spiritual practices refer to achieving inner peace as an experience of knowing oneself.
If inner peace is a deliberate state of mind then we all need to take that closer look at ourselves and see how we can open ourselves up and give inner peace a home.
Of course this sort of self-awareness and enlightenment is not going to happen overnight so we need to look at it as a work in progress.
The opposite of inner peace would have to be stress.
We know how bad we feel when we are stressed and anxious and we’re constantly learning more and more about all the negative impacts stress puts on so many aspects of our health and well-being.
If you scramble about in search of inner peace,
you will lose your inner peace – Lao Tzu Chinese Philosopher
Inner peace will start filling our hearts and minds when we get a handle on the things that are making us stressed and develop ways to manage them.
If you’re currently experiencing a lot of stress in your life then I think you’d benefit greatly from reading through all the great Stress Relief articles and advice that have been in previous AMC newsletters.
Here are the links for your convenience;
Susie’s Simple Steps to Inner Peace
Life is change,
Growth is Optional,
Choose Wisely! – Anon
The most important step to inner peace is to be open and prepared to change your way of thinking, along with your bad habits and your old ways.
Where there’s no change, there’s no improvement.
It’s often easier to change ourselves superficially; how we look, what we wear, what we do and how we socialise, than it is to change our inner self beliefs.
Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past and is therefore the means for correcting our misperceptions.
– American psychologist Gerald Jampolsky
- Build up your self-confidence
One of the things that can often stop us from pursuing our dreams and gaining inner peace is our fear of failure and the lack of self-confidence needed to overcome that fear.
Working on our self-esteem and self-worth will allow us to gain control over our fears. These fears may not vanish but at least we’ll know how to manage them.
Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
– E.E. Cummings
Do you believe in yourself?
Do you think you’re worthy of respect from others?
If you answered no to either or both of those questions then it’s time to take some concrete actions to improve your self-image without relying on anyone else.
That might mean you’ll need to increase your skill sets and your competency levels to help increase your self-confidence.
Knowledge is no heavy load to carry – Anon
- Eliminate Negative Thoughts
Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.
– Rema Chodron US Tibetan Buddhist
As well as blocking out the negativity from others we need to become aware of our own self-talk; be conscious of the thoughts we’re having and the things we say about ourself to ourself and stop putting ourselves down.
It’s vital to have positive thoughts but it’s equally important to firstly recognise and then stop the negative self-talk and what’s been under-pinning it.
It’s important that we analyse why we’re having such negative thoughts so we can get to the root problem, otherwise, all this destructive self-talk will invariably become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If there are negative aspects you recognise about yourself, then instead of putting yourself down, think of the positive actions you could take to improve them, which in turn will make you feel better about yourself.
Know yourself and you will win all battles. – Sun Tzu
- Take Pride in How You Look
We may not like it but first impressions do count. Taking pride in our grooming and how we dress can not only leave a lasting positive impression on those we come in contact with but it can give us a confidence boost as well.
That doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money trying to achieve it.
Wearing something that suits you, that you feel good in, that’s smart and clean and presentable, sends out a positive image to everyone you meet and can be a great mood booster to you.
I believe in the old adage, ‘If you look good you feel good, and if you feel good you look good’.
- Be Kind and Generous to Others
There’s always someone we know who is far worse off than we are and their daily battles and struggles certainly put our lives into perspective and in my case, makes me appreciate what I have.
Being kind to others and showing generosity with our time and what we can offer, without necessarily spending any money, has an enormous impact on the beneficiaries and at the same time give us a purpose, makes us feel needed and is a tremendous way to improve our own self-worth.
It’s empowering when other people think you’re a good person because then you start to feel good about yourself and before long you’ll think you’re a good person too. Helping others does wonders for your self-esteem as well as theirs.
- Be Grateful
It’s easy to lose sight of what we have in life and what others have given us and not be grateful.
I was blown away by the hundreds of millions of people in India who live in abject poverty yet they still have such a positive outlook on life.
They are grateful for what they have and show an overall acceptance of their lot in life. They seem to make the best of what they have and don’t dwell on what they don’t have.
India is an ancient country steeped in spiritual heritage. I found everyone I encountered to be friendly and caring and helpful and very passive in nature.
Their faith is unwavering; some say to their detriment, others say it’s what gives them the tolerance and patience to be so accepting of what life deals them.
It is neither wealth nor splendour;
but tranquillity and occupation which give you happiness.
– Thomas Jefferson
- Stop Procrastinating
Procrastination is the thief of time – Charles Dickens
Make a commitment to do something you’ve been putting off doing for a while that needs to be done that’s been hanging over your head.
Whatever the reason you’ve been putting it off and relegating it to the bottom of your to-do list, it’s time to start putting some positive actions into place to finally make it happen.
By doing it and getting it out of the way, you’ll be rewarded with a great sense of achievement along with peace of mind from knowing it’s completed.
- Set small goals
Nothing can bring you peace but yourself
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sometimes we try and do too much all at once and it becomes overwhelming and we find ourselves discouraged and end up giving up altogether.
By setting smaller goals that we know we can achieve and then achieving them, makes us feel good about ourselves.
The more goals we achieve, the better we’ll get, and the better we’ll feel and before we know it our goals will keep getting bigger and better as will our achievements and our self-confidence.
Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably. – Walt Disney
- Change small habits first.
We first make our habits, and then our habits make us – John Dryden
It’s a good idea to start changing your small habits first, ones you know can be easily achieved and then commit yourself to doing it for a month and see how you go. It might be to get up a little earlier and go for a walk or to increase the amount of water you’re drinking each day or to be in more regular contact with your family and friends.
The benefits of each small habit you change will accumulate and give you an even bigger sense of triumph and these tiny changes can have a chain reaction and inspire you to tackle the bigger habits that need to be broken.
Don’t listen to the naysayers; you can become someone worthy of respect and achieve just about anything you set your mind to do. The only investment needed is your time and your mind and the reward is a life filled with inner peace, serenity, blissful happiness and contentment.
But remember it’s a work in progress and will take some time to achieve so be sure you enjoy the ride!
Eternal inner peace has to be cultivated daily
– Delphine-Gay de Giardin 19th Century French Author
If all else fails…SMILE! Cheers susie
Susie Elelman AM
Author, TV & Radio Broadcaster