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Sometimes I feel as if travelers aren’t sure how to achieve inner peace. I know, I know. Sounds insulting, but I promise my intent is good. I mean, let’s think about it for a second. Traveling is amazing; however it’s also rushed and stressful. As a traveler, you check items off an itinerary, navigate public transportation with signs written in unfamiliar languages, fight jetlag upon arrival to a strange city, and much more.
Although not as overwhelming as travel, we’re also incredibly busy in our private lives too and sometimes forget ourselves in the hustle and bustle of our careers, families, and everything else.
All in all, I think that to find peace with yourself takes a special concentrated effort to do so.
“Say what?!” you might be thinking at this moment. “No way, Rachel, I’m plenty peaceful and content. Don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Bear with me.
Make It a Personal Goal to Find Peace with Yourself
Think about your own priority list. Who is on it? In other words, who is important to you? Parents? Romantic partner? Friends? Co-workers? Boss?
Sometimes our priority lists get too out of control.
It’s great to care for other people, but where do you fall on your own list of priorities? Are you falling lower than the mail carrier? Lower than that co-worker you sometimes talk to next to the water cooler? Yeah, no. Time to change things around, so you’re near the top where you deserve to be. The waters are even muddier during difficult times in life – which makes it even more important to put yourself first.
“Fine, fine, fine. So tell me now how to find inner peace and happiness?”
When you find peace with yourself, you’re accomplishing one of the top aspects of self-love. Mental peace lowers stress and boosts self-esteem. It takes some tricks and practice. I know I still fall behind. But patience always pays off.
So it’s time to change your life for the better. I’ve thought long and hard about my own mental habits (which I’m working on) and wrote a few realistic steps for how to achieve inner peace. I hope you enjoy them. Even better if you try to implement these suggestions into your daily life.
Good luck with your journey!
1. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
One of the best methods for how to find inner peace with yourself is to avoid comparison at all costs.
I am serious. Pitting yourself against that newly engaged friend with the huge rock or that pal who got a promotion and a new Porsche is a recipe for stomach aches, rage, and binge eating. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
The famous quote, “comparison is the theft of joy,” is virally shared for a good reason. We’re all guilty of this bad habit especially thanks to the ubiquitous nature of social media. It’s not productive. It’s hurtful. By continually pitting yourself against other people, you’re destroying your mental health and happiness. The only person you should compare yourself to is the person you were a year ago.
2. Spend Quality Time in Nature
I rave a lot about nature’s healing powers on this blog. After all, who can say “no” to a brilliant Mount Rainier trip and a soothing walk in Central Park? Nature is helpful for finding peace within yourself. Who doesn’t like to nap on a white sandy beach complete with a cool breeze and waves splashing?
Make an effort to follow the Romantic poets’ examples and return to nature. Doesn’t matter if you live in the city or country either. Get outside.
Take a walk or drive to the nearest park. Stroll on the trails. Breathe in fresh air. You’ll feel a million times better.
3. Say “No” When Learning How to Achieve Inner Peace
Honestly, saying “no” is one of the hardest things for me to do. As a teacher, I want to help everyone and end up saying “yes” to all sorts of events and tasks that I’m not interested in. It’s okay to tell people “no.”
Let’s say your friend is having a baby shower on the same day your favorite band comes to town. You want to invest your time, energy, and money into seeing this band that you’ve absolutely adored for years. What do you do? Simply RVSP “no” to the shower in advance and go to the concert. As long as you notify the person and don’t leave him/her unfairly hanging, the world won’t end and neither will your friendship implode into a million pieces. You’re allowed to put yourself first – which means spend your time and money on you without feeling guilty or obligated about it.
Saying “no” isn’t rude. It’s establishing boundaries.
4. Set Aside 10 Minutes of “Quiet” Time Every Day
I don’t care if you’re single or married. Childless or a parent. A social butterfly or an introvert. You need to have a few minutes a day carved out for only you and you alone. Like saying “no,” your family or career won’t explode in the span of twenty minutes, I promise.
Put on the Calm App or relaxing music on Spotify, closes your eyes, focus your breathing, and relax. Think about your goals and wishes. Imagine yourself achieving everything you’ve ever set out to do. This is your time.
Furthermore, actively make your living space a place to find peace within yourself. Keep clutter to a minimum (I have to do this…) and turn off your phone or at least put it out of reach. No scrolling on facebook allowed.
5. Read Your Favorite Books or Self-Improvement Books
Reading relaxes me. I don’t consider an entire day spent inside my apartment reading a good book “wasted time,” and neither should you. So grab a book on a topic that interests you and dig in! Don’t worry about studying high literature either. Want to snuggle up with Harry Potter even though you’ve read the books fifteen million times? Then go for it and don’t feel the slightest bit guilty!
Perhaps you want to read more about discovering inner peace or at least being a stronger person. Some of my favorite “self-help” books about peace of mind include the following titles:
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do
Amy Morin is a psychotherapist whose TED talk “The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong” was viewed by over 8 million people. Her book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do talk about “good” habits we should practice on a regular basis to improve our mental strength.
The Power of Positive Thinking
We all want to think more positively. But how do we do that? Read The Power of Positive Thinking to teach you to reprogram your thought patterns and enjoy a much easier life. This international bestseller has sold well over 5 million copies since its publication. So it’s obviously worth picking up!
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Haha, sorry if the vulgar title puts you off, but Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck has several great suggestions for finding peace with yourself. It’s even better on audiobook. We only have so much energy and by caring about everyone and everything, we make ourselves miserable. This book will have you thinking about the things that truly matter. And no, the jerk who tried to shortchange you at the gas station isn’t one of them.
6. Go Traveling Alone to New Places
Duh! You don’t think I’d write an entire list without mentioning travel, do you? Of course not!
I think solo travel is a great way to find peace with yourself. By traveling alone, you’re demonstrating just how capable you are when it comes to facing challenges and learning new things.
Besides you will see sights and attractions of your choosing, meaning you can explore one art museum all day if that’s what you desire. Traveling alone also increases confidence a million times. You’re brave enough to see the world without someone else holding your hand. Bravo!
7. Focus on the Present Moment – Not the Past or Future
All we have is the present. In many ways, dwelling on the past and worrying about the future drain your positive energy.
Try not to blame yourself for your past decisions. You did your best with the knowledge you had at that moment. Instead try to learn from the past instead and apply those positive lessons into your daily life. On a similar note, don’t worry so much about the future. We always envision the “worst case” scenarios in our heads, and they never come true. For example, I worry about performing well at work especially during scheduled observations, and my scores have never been awful. If anything, I get glowing compliments sometimes better than expected! So all that time worrying for nothing.
So embrace the present moment. Give it a big fat hug.
8. Eat Healthy Foods and Exercise Regularly
Okay, don’t get me wrong. I adore chocolate, pizza, pasta, and cakes. My favorite foods are high in both sugar and fat. However, eating those foods for every meal has negative health consequences. Instead of going for blueberry cheesecake, actively choose vitamin rich fruits and vegetables when you feel hungry. Also drink plenty of water throughout the day. Our body craves water. It makes our skin glow and our minds strong.
Furthermore, exercising at least three times a week will boost your energy levels and increase your personal happiness. Find an activity that excites you. And do whatever it takes not to skip workouts. Keep a list of why exercise is super important and look at it whenever you’re tempted to hang out with Netflix rather than go to the gym.
9. Don’t “Talk Down” to Yourself
Isn’t it crazy how we belittle our appearance, abilities, and achievements? “You look so fat,” “why am I so stupid,” “you can’t do anything right,” the list goes on for too damn long. On a regular basis, our negative thought patterns shred our self-confidence to tiny little pieces. We’re mean to ourselves.
My honest advice to combat “talking down” is to practice mindfulness, which prevents bad thoughts from consuming your brain altogether. How do you do this? Every time one pops up, immediately pause and tell yourself “no, I’m moving on” or “no, I’m better than that” or even just “stop.”
Additionally, think about your close family and friends. Would you ever demean them using the same words to tear down yourself? Nah, I didn’t think so.
Be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself as though you are your own best friend. Your mood and self-esteem will sky rocket with these good mental habits.
10. Let Go of All the Things You Can’t Control
Argh, this final step is a challenge for me! It’s one of the reasons I have turbulence anxiety whenever I fly to new and exciting destinations. I want a smooth flight; however this situation isn’t in my control. I don’t have the magical ability to control wind patterns.
Fretting about the things you can’t control is not only a waste of time, but it’s dangerous if your happiness depends on people and events outside your sphere of influence.
For example, let’s say you want revenge on an ex-friend (or ex-girlfriend or boyfriend) and decide to earn more money than that person. Let’s say you do get that coveted promotion and earn tons of “gorgeous green paper” (aka US dollars for all my non-American readers).
However, the object of your animosity doesn’t react or doesn’t care. See the problem? When you rely on other people’s reactions to achieve happiness, you’ll never ever ever feel happy, cause their responses are not under your control.
It’s stressful and impossible to control each and every event in your life. So let. it. all. go. You’ll find peace with yourself faster.
What do you think are the best ways to find peace with yourself? Share all your positive thoughts in the comments section. Remember that you are awesome. Negative thought patterns have no place in your amazing life.