Summer is approaching. In certain geographical parts, the weather will become more stable and some folks may or may not be complaining (again) about how hot it is or that it’s not hot enough...Antarctica, anybody?
It can get piping hot or frigidly cold where we live in upstate New York. The weather can literally go from a summer-like day to a snowstorm the next depending on where we are in the spring or winter season. I am hardly surprised to hear folks who are born and raised in my city complain about hot or cold weather as if they don’t know what to expect every year or that it was coming (Lol). I was already thinking weeks ago about the AC (air conditioner) being ramped up because I know what the weather typically has in store for us during our Rochester summers. It can get very hot.
Summer is the time when planned vacations, weddings, Fourth of July fireworks, and other endeavors come to fruition. It’s the time for outdoor festivals and festivities. It seems like more people get out and are more social during the summer.
Regardless of the season and wherever one may live, everyone has physiological survival needs such as food, water, shelter, sleep, and oxygen. It’s not difficult to know that oxygen reigns supreme because mankind needs air to breathe and stay alive.
If you know about the rule of “three”, we can go as long as about three minutes without oxygen, three days without water, and three weeks without food. These statistics don’t apply to people who can physiologically defy norms. Those are the folks who are in the Guinness Book of World Records (Lol).
Is Mental Peace Required?
But, what about our ability to have mental peace as something that we need to survive? While peace may not be considered an immediate need for survival, it’s been said that you can’t put a price on peace. It’s debateably worth more than anything that money can buy.
Just about everyone has had moments or times in their lives where it seemed like sh* t just kept hitting the fan and it seemed like there was no end in sight for relief in mentally chaotic situations. I am referring to times when it seemed like someone’s world was turning upside down, inside out, and all about - when it seemed like someone couldn’t take any more bad news or bad days. I am referring to times where someone was not able to think clearly, their mind was filled despair, they were restless, experiencing loss of sleep or oversleeping, and a mentally destructive war and hurricane was going on in their world.
On the outside, one’s life can be a colossal mess. The bills can be piling up, one’s health can be suffering, one’s job can be stressing them out, one’s personal relationships can be strained, and one can simply not be happy. At any given moment, it may seem like one is going to lose it. And, just when one thinks that things couldn’t get any worse, they do.
Then, there are other scenarios where one can get a raise, lose the 20 pounds that one had worked so hard to lose, one’s social and personal lives can be great and one has just booked that two week vacation to Fregate Island, Seychelles, yet still they do not experience mental peace. There is a myriad of reasons why someone can lack peace. It could be that someone is experiencing fear and anxiety that things are going so well that something bad is bound to happen or that one has not learned to become accustomed to things going well or living a life with peace.
What Is Peace?
Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines peace as a state of tranquility or quiet: such as (a): freedom from civil disturbance (b): a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom.
In this article, I am referring to that tranquil state of mind that one feels whether they are faced with conflict, drama, or stress or not. I am referring to the ability to maintain one’s mental composure while “walking through the fire” and coming out on the other side scathed or unscathed, yet still being able to arrive and exist in a peaceful state of mind as a choice. Many people may have been in the spirals and cold-hearted grip of back-to-back stress and overwhelmed to the point where it felt like one could not take anymore and it seemed that peace just evaded them.
“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be” – Wayne Dyer
I absolutely love this! I love this because it is an astounding quote and perspective on striving for and obtaining peace. Re-training one’s mind takes practice and willingness to develop positive habits. Developing good habits or breaking bad habits can take time. Social psychology research suggests that it can take 67 days to form a habit. Some folks say that it takes 21 days to break a habit, but I lean toward 67 days. It seems more reasonable to me.
Before re-training one’s mind, it can be easy to become “mentally-addicted” or “obsessed” with a “shoulda…coulda… woulda” thought process regarding how we think and feel things should have started, ended, or be, that it becomes difficult or impossible to accept things for how they actually started, ended, or are and create some peace regarding the outcome. Holding on to our false ideals and being unwilling to see things for how they really are can cause us to threaten our own peace. Some things just are and will be and other things we can work on regarding ourselves to make things better.
Types of Peace
Experiencing peace may not be a constant for some people. They may experience episodic or cyclical peace. People may go from experiencing peace during certain times of the day depending on the mind set they have, the people they’re around, or the environment they’re in to feeling like they’re going to lose it. Then, they can experience a return of peace.
On the other hand, some people are used to and have learned to become accustomed to functioning in chaos. They may be labeled dysfunctional. However, it doesn’t necessarily make someone dysfunctional if they learned to function in chaos. Emergency room trauma doctors are a great example of people who are familiar with functioning in what can be chaotic situations. It takes for them to remain calm, among many other skills to do their job, but are they totally at peace with tragic situations when they couldn’t save a life? Well, that it is only a question they can answer.
There is inner peace and external or outer peace. You can have inner peace without outer peace and experience an environment of outer peace without inner peace. Whether one loves nature and the sound of rushing waters, chirping birds, and the feel of a gentle breeze against one’s face on a warm and sunny day or gain peace from love and the crisp and cold winter air, it is up to an individual to define what internal and/or external factors brings them peace.
Someone can reap the benefits of operating in an optimal peace zone when they are able to experience peace for prolonged periods of time. It’s like experiencing mental soul food for one’s spirit. It can give one’s mind, body, and spirit a chance to re-focus, stay focused, re-energize, and become revitalize.
Ways to Obtain Peace
There are a plethora of ways to create peaceful environments and obtain an internal and external peace of mind. Peace starts before you enter a room of solace or take comfort in a peaceful environment. It starts with ensuring that your body, mind, and spirit are healthy.
Some things that bring people inner and outer peace are nature, good financial standing, health, love, being happy. Getting peace is one thing and finding peace during chaos is another. There are various ways to achieve peace. You can create an environment of inner and outer peace if you:
· Use foam ear plugs to reduce external noise in noisy environments.
· Play calm music in your car, on the bus, or on your (lunch) break with headphones at work. Some people like classical music or music with the sound of wind and rushing waves.
· Do deep breathing.
· Try aromatherapy essential oils like lavender, rose, or Neroli.
· Take a long bath with Epsom salt, candlelight, and soft music.
· Try Yoga or meditation.
· Get a professional full body massage and/or foot rub.
· Use a sleep mask during the day for naps.
· Go for a walk or drive (on your lunch break or at the park).
· Go on a peace retreat.
· Spend time alone at home or away or with others who bring you peace.
· Organize and unclutter your house, apartment, work space, closet, car, etc. Things may seem mentally clearer when you unclutter and you may be able to think better.
· Turn off your cell phone, TV, radio, etc.
· Make time for “Me” time.
· Face difficult tasks head on and do them first while and when you have a full tank of mental, physical, and spiritual energy (if you are spiritual) and/or pray for peace.
· Work on caring less about what certain folks think about you.
· Prioritize daily tasks. Make a To-Do list.
· Monitor your cell phone and social media usage. Let’s face it. Many folks allow posted drama on social media to threaten their peace.
· Learn to keep harmony between saying “Yes” or “No” to the request of others so that your peace is not compromised.
· Learn to manage and be in control of your emotions. Keep in mind that there are some people who will try to test you and bring you out of your peaceful state just to see if they can.
· Never underestimate doing some quick things like closing one’s eyes, taking some deep breaths, visualizing a peaceful scene or memory, or looking at nature or out of a window.
· Remove or reduce contact with anything and everyone who robs you of your peace or manage them from a safe distance as best you can. Sometimes, one is faced with dealing with toxic personal or workplace environments. Look for a new place of employment, position, or line of work.
Keep things mentally in perspective. If you think the worse before you have proof, then re-train your mind to focus on solutions and peace if problems arise. Don’t constantly stress over situations beyond your control. Things or something in your life may have happened and you may still be in a place where you are not yet at peace with what and/or how things happened. Allow yourself time to arrive at acceptance and letting go. If you find that you are unable to reach that point, consider reaching out to a professional, therapist, church, support group, or whatever positive alternative(s) you feel may help you deal with the situation(s).
No one is perfect and one may have their moments but find harmony and balance with allowing oneself resting and reflection time vs. self-defeating and stressing time. Look at positive alternatives or the bright side of a situation. Since my mother passed away, I smile as I picture my mother dancing when I was younger when a song comes on the radio that she used to dance to. And, I just may go to pieces if another song comes on that reminds me of her and makes me wish my mother could have lived longer. Nevertheless, I am at peace knowing that I was able to be by her side and spend the last weeks, days, and minutes with my mom before she took her last breath and left her physical body.
Get peace by knowing that you will not idly sit by and allow circumstances to handle you and that you will handle your business despite stress, etc. Consider getting therapy to develop strategic coping skills, couples, or family therapy or devising an Exit plan to leave a situation altogether if your health, safety, sanity, and peace are at risk. Don’t put undue pressure on yourself. Do what you can do and remember that you can do more, later.
Remember the Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference – Reinhold Niebuhr
This article includes some ideas for you to achieve peace, but you may discover other or better ways to achieve peace. The bottom line is that no matter how many stressors or tragic circumstances come your way, you still have a choice to deal with them, decide how you’re going to deal with them, take things day-by-day, chisel away at dealing with stress and chaos, and arriving at peace. Even if chaos has gone bonkers, you can make the choice to operate with peace so that you are able to manage the chaos and function in a healthy state of mind. At any given moment, you can choose to turn on your peace switch.
Sometimes, you may not know exactly where things are going, but you intuitively know and feel that you are headed in the right direction when even throughout a fast-paced and chaotic day at work or in life, you can still find your inner and outer peace and calm to get through any storm.
There are some people who can remain calm and at peace under pressure regardless of the situation and still perform and behave, optimally. The sky could start to fall, and they would calmly, coolly, and collectively put a smile on their face, look at their wrist watch, and peacefully figure out how much time they have left. These types of people who are the epitome of peace, are admirable, and very necessary in the world that we live in especially when chaos goes bonkers.
1) What specifically brings you inner peace and why?
2) What external physical conditions are necessary to bring you outer peace and why?
3) What brings you inner and outer peace for prolonged periods of time?
4) What or who robs you of your peace and how?
5) If you had 24 hours with no interruptions or responsibilities from the time you woke up until the time you went to sleep, specifically how would you create, experience, and enjoy inner and outer peace?
If Question #5 seems nearly impossible to achieve by getting 24 hours of uninterrupted time to experience peace, write down everything you would do on paper and work on breaking it down in increments. Can you get an hour of uninterrupted time? 30 minutes? Then, go for it! Well-wishes to you for as much love, peace, and happiness as you can stand in life!