More than half of all working adults are concerned about the amount of stress in their lives, according to the American Psychological Association. The consequences of that stress include anxiety, hypertension, obesity and depression. But how can we minimize stress and find inner peace in the modern, hectic world that we live in? The answer is to commit to regular practices which focus on the present moment so that you can enjoy the journey which is life. Here are ten practices to find more inner peace in your life.
1. Start a Daily Meditation Practice
One of the best ways to gain balance in your life and inner peace is to start a daily meditation practice. Meditation only needs to be practiced at 10 to 15 minutes a day provided that you are consistent. In fact it is far better to meditate for a short period each day it is others to meditate for a longer period sporadically. Start with five minutes and extend your meditative practice each day until you are meditating for at least fifteen minutes each day
2. Eliminate Multi-Tasking From Your Vocabulary
Studies show that only 2% of people are able to multi-task effectively. For the remaining 98% of people, multitasking will do more harm than good. Studies also show that trying to focus on more than one task at a time causes a 40% drop in productivity. If you want to be productive and happy then you need to focus on one task at a time. Focusing on a single task until it is complete allows you to work faster and without the feeling of being constantly distracted.
3. Be Fully Present in Everything You Do
The majority of people are rarely fully present in the current moment. Their minds are usually regretful for things that have happened in the past or worried about things that may happen in the future. The fact is that the vast majority of things that we worry about never actually occur. Incidents which occurred in the past cannot be changed. It is only in the present moment that we are able to influence our destiny. By being fully present in the moment you are able to give your entire focus to each task. This will allow you to complete the tasks more efficiently, produce a better result, and actually get more pleasure out of what you are doing.
4. Count Your Blessings, Start a Gratitude Journal
One of the reasons why we lack inner peace is because we don’t count our blessings. Things that we can be grateful for such as our friends and family, good health, or even the roof over our head, go unnoticed. Instead, many people focus on the negative elements of our life. There is actually a very good reason for this. In the distant past it was necessary for humans to pay more attention to potential dangers than benefits. If you weren’t paying close attention to these dangers, such as a rogue lion about to eat you, then the results could be fatal. But in modern life most of the dangers our mind conceives are imaginary. By starting a gratitude diary you can refocus your mind on those things which are positive in your life. A gratitude journal is simply a notebook where you record, on a daily basis, things that you can be grateful for. It is usually best to write down at least 5 to 10 things each day that you are thankful about. This is a good exercise to perform each evening just before you go to sleep as this can greatly enhance your inner peace.
5. Stop Living in Your Head
As noted above, most of the negative things that we worry about are simply occurring in our head. In modern life there are actually very few real dangers that we need to be cognizant of. Even if things do not go according to plan, we can usually correct them over time. For example, even if you miss out on landing that job that you have been dreaming about, there will certainly be other opportunities to find gainful employment. In order to overcome this problem of living in your head you need to make a practice of observing when negative thoughts appear. Recognize them for what they are and then understand that they are not as powerful as they seem.
6. Let go of the past
We cannot control the things that have happened to us. Many people spend their entire lives living in the past. Many of us carry trauma from our childhood or feel that people have done us poorly in the past. You can make a conscious decision whether you are going to allow the negative things that have occurred to ruin your future. When you carry these negative events with you, you give them power. Letting these events go will allow you to move forward and anticipate a positive future. This may involve forgiving people, or yourself, for what they have done to you.
7. Trust God for Your Future
None of us know what the future holds for us. But by trusting in God and his plan for us we can take comfort. Only God knows our future. As humans we can never really have this knowledge. Remember that God loves you. You can trust in his promises to be with you and guide you through the difficult times.
8. Accept What Is In Your Life
You need to accept your life for what it is right now. If you cannot accept your life right now, there is very little chance that you will ever be truly happy. This is because changes in your exterior circumstances are far less important than what is going on in your mind. By making daily practices, such as having a gratitude diary and being thankful for what we already have, you can gain inner peace right now. Understand that it is your decision whether or not you will choose to be happy regardless of what is going on in your life. It’s mostly a matter of perspective. Accepting what is at this moment doesn’t mean that you should not attempt to change your circumstances; however, giving yourself time to meditate and seek God on a particular issue will ensure that you will make the best decision in the long run. Therefore, gracefully accept what is as you move patiently towards the change you want. Remember, “All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his good purpose.”
9. Stop Judging Every Situation
Finding inner peace often requires that we step back from viewing our life as a set of separate events and look at the larger picture. We should always keep in mind that any event, positive or negative, “that this too shall pass”. We need to keep in mind that all events in our life our temporary. If you are experiencing challenging or difficult times trust that God will carry you through. How many times have you said, “That was the best thing that could have happened to me?’ but at the moment you were going through it, it was anything but a blessing. Many events are blessings in disguise; therefore, it’s best to let go of judgment and trust that God is leading our path in the right direction.
10. Schedule Your Calendar With Fun Events
Lastly remember that life is to be enjoyed. Most of us neglect to have an active plan to make our lives more fun and enjoyable. We should actually schedule in fun activities. Failing to schedule time for fun, both by ourselves and with our friends and family, means that the day to day routine takes over. Don’t hope for more fun in your life – plan for it!
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