Inner peace can be cultivated, created with these 14 practices.
1. Mend what is left gaping and unaddressed with people.
Got loose ends? Unresolved conflict? Have you not spoken to a family member in years? Finishing unfinished business with people means taking full responsibility for your own piece and part of what happened without one iota of blame or excuse-making. Apologize sincerely, ask if there is anything they need from you to feel right and wish them well from the depths of your heart and soul.
2. Finish your unfinished business.
Whether this means finishing that project you started and walked away from or decidedly setting that project free, take an inventory of everything you have not finished and consciously decide to bring it to completion one way or another.
3. Clean out the clutter.
You will not even believe how much more peace you will have between your ears, in your heart-space and in your body when you consciously release all stuff you no longer need. Creating space in your physical surroundings allows you to breathe more deeply and easily. Every day clean out one drawer, one closet, one corner and stop bringing more stuff into your home.
4. Accept what is. Let go of the struggle.
Instead of resisting and arguing with what is happening, try letting go of the struggle. Strangely, the more you accept things as they are the more creative energy is freed up and space for inspired action. When you allow yourself to be hooked into the emotions of disgust and repulsion and hatred you are only tethering yourself to that heavy energy. Inspired action and creative solutions come more readily when you accept what is.
5. Stop reacting. Start responding with forethought.
Someone once said that the reason your behavior hasn’t changed is because you haven’t changed your behavior. Reacting is an automatic, emotion-driven action. Response is a communication or action that comes after consideration and contemplation. When you feel an inner reaction, stop yourself from allowing it to flow outwardly toward others and learn how to contain, contemplate and THEN respond from a place of clarity.
The single most powerful thing you can do to help yourself along the journey toward inner peace is to consciously breathe. Close your eyes and bring all attention to your breath. Wait. Keep breathing. Allow time and breath to work together to help soothe your limbic brain and let the dust settle internally.
7. Make integrity your bull’s eye target.
Ask yourself at every turn, “Is what I am about to say or do of integrity?” Integrity is about truth, it’s about kindness, it’s about lifting others up. It’s about being thorough.
8. Get to know your TRUE Self.
You see, you have many aspects of personality like all those outfits and shoes you have in your closet. Different aspects of personality may show up here and there but your TRUE Self is the unflappable you. The YOU that knows you are a part of a great Network of Life. The YOU that would naturally be kind and do the right thing without hesitation. This is who you really are. Get to know this True Self and spend time with him or her every day. (hint: this is what meditation will do for you if you practice often and regularly).
9. Kick the adrenaline habit.
This chemical produced in your body, there to help you in times of grave danger, is sadly an addictive chemical. Without realizing it, we all can become addicted. Running all over town, creating stress unconsciously. Slogging coffee to keep ourselves going. It’s all getting in the way of feeling at peace within. Slow down. Learn to say no to more. Take up meditation, gentle yoga, mindful breathing. Stop and smell the roses.
10. Surround yourself with peaceful people.
While we can’t always pick our family members or our co-workers, we CAN consciously choose to spend more time with people who are choosing to experience inner peace. Go where the peace loving people are! Go to a meditation gathering, a gentle yoga class, a pottery studio, join a meet-up oriented toward inner peace. Attend a silent retreat. Make new friends who also want a more peaceful life.
11. Pay very close attention.
The practice of mindfulness according to Jon Kabbat-Zinn, PhD is “… paying attention… on purpose… without judgment… as if your life depended upon it… because it does.” This is something you can practice anywhere, anytime. In fact it’s a good idea to bring it into every aspect of your daily life. The more closely you pay attention without judgment, the more peaceful you will fee with what is happening around you no matter how chaotic.
12. Choose peace over people-pleasing.
When we are plagued by a drive to make others happy, we often are sacrificing the very thing we need to be at peace. While inner peace comes from being able to pay attention, be in integrity in our dealings with others, we are not responsible for the happiness or peace of others. Interestingly, by doing what we need to do four ourselves in cultivating inner peace, by living from a place of peace, it will affect others in very positive ways without effort in doing so.
13. Take a lesson from Nature.
All you ever needed to learn about being at peace can be seen in Nature. Seasons come and go. There is birth, there is life, there is death. The sun shines, the rain falls, the winds blow. Forests burn down and new growth emerges. A pebble thrown into a pond will cause a ripple that grows wider and wider eventually to settle again into stillness on the surface. Animals take shelter during a storm and wait patiently for the storm to pass.
14. Release expectations.
When we have expectations of others or events we set ourselves up for frequent disappointment. When we grow attached to a desired income, we create difficulty for ourselves. To create inner peace, try allowing yourself the human tendency to have desire and hope for something to happen the way you hope and wish it will but then. . . let go. Release it and be willing to accept whatever the outcome may be.