Life is busy and at times it can feel overwhelming and exhausting.
Relaxation and a slower paced life can feel impossible or like a dream that will never be achieved. But – there are things that you can do to restore your inner peace and to find more balance in what can be a chaotic world.
This past week has been a blessing and quite honestly, it has reminded me of how important it is to slow down and breathe. I have spent the past several days up north on Leech Lake and for the first time in weeks I have felt relaxed and at peace. What a gift.
In truth, I quieted my mind enough to gain clarity and remember what truly matters in my life. In the end, it is the simple things that matter the most.
Obviously, life is not always simple and one cannot always escape to the lake or go on vacation to reduce stress or slow things down. It can be difficult to take a break or simply get away from the chaos life can bring.
However, there are things that you can start doing if you want to restore your inner peace.
- Clear the clutter and clear your mind. Cluttered spaces whether at your desk, in your home or in your car can lead to stress. I have learned that just 15 minutes spent on small tasks to reduce clutter makes a big difference in my day. Make your bed every day, do the dishes, hang up your clothes and put your keys in the same spot when you get home. These are just a few examples but I can promise you they will help to clear the clutter from your mind. An organized and uncluttered space helps to bring clarity and creates space to concentrate and relax.
- Set boundaries. We live in a world that is constantly moving. Calendars are often full and we start each week with too much on our plate. If you are like me – I have a hard time saying no and often find myself over scheduled. It is important to learn to say no and to prioritize more. If you feel burnt out and like you are spread too thin – it is time to set boundaries. There are only so many hours in each day. Make sure you are allowing time for you and those things that really matter. Cut out the things that are a waste of your time.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Life happens and yes there will be things that happen in life that we don’t like or cause stress. However, it is important to recognize that so much of what happens in life is not worth hanging on to. Making mountains out of mole hills can lead to unnecessary stress. It is important to let things roll off your back to reduce stress and restore peace.
- Surround yourself with positivity. Human beings have 70,000 or more thoughts a day and sadly, a majority of those thoughts are negative. Negativity can disrupt our lives and can make it difficult to find inner peace. Be aware of your thoughts and make an effort to shift your thinking. Surround yourself with things you love and positive people. The more positive in your world the more peaceful you will feel.
- Create time to do something relaxing every day. If you are feeling overwhelmed it is critical that you carve out time to relax. For me it is writing, enjoying a glass of wine, sitting by the lake or going to a movie. Find those things that you love and that allow you to escape even if it is just for a few minutes. Read a book, go for a walk or take a yoga class. Sit by the fire and enjoy a glass of wine, meditate, paint or watch a really good show. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it brings you peace.
- Forgive. Nothing disrupts inner peace more than an inability to forgive and let go. It doesn’t matter if it is forgiving others or forgiving ourselves. An inability to forgive will keep you stuck in a place you no longer want to be. Forgiveness brings freedom and without it people often drown in negativity. Toxic emotions including anger, bitterness, blame, guilt, regret, sadness and depression will take control. Nothing is worth sacrificing your happiness and a peaceful heart. Accept the past but don’t let it define you. Face it, forgive it and let go of it. Your heart will thank you for it.
- Don’t forget about the simple things in life. People often focus on the big events in life and then feel a sense of let down or even deflated when those events are done. While big things are exciting and something to look forward to they are not the things that create the fabric of everyday life. There are amazing things in and around us every day. Slow down, breathe and look. The things I enjoyed the most this week were the simple things. I loved the fresh air and sound of the water. The gentle breeze blowing through the trees and the echo of the wind chimes brought peace. Watching the sunset and sipping a glass of wine while watching the hummingbirds was amazing. The simple things in life are often the most rewarding if we slow down enough to notice.
- Get rid of the bad habits and create new ones. Habits are tough to break but bad habits can create a lot of stress and chip away at living a peaceful life. Be aware of those habits that cause stress and find the courage to make changes if needed. Change is hard and changing a habit can be difficult but it is possible with persistence and commitment. If you want something bad enough you can do it. Start small and be realistic. Changing a habit can be as simple as leaving 10 minutes early or always hanging your keys in the same spot.
- Put your phone down. We live in a world where it is impossible to disconnect. People are constantly distracted and it is difficult to shut down and completely relax. Part of the problem is the access to phones, internet and social media. While all of these things are amazing tools and can help to connect all of us to the world and what is going on – they can also create huge distractions. I struggle with this one and look at my phone far too much. Learn to put your phone down or away for blocks of time and you will be amazed at the extra time you suddenly have.
- Practice gratitude every day. It is easy to focus on all that we do not have verses everything we do. The result? Distraction, focusing on the wrong things, stress and difficulty in accepting what is. Life can be tough but even when things are hard there is always something to be grateful for. Look around and you will find things to be thankful for every single day. Shift your focus on those things and you will be amazed at much happier you will feel.
- Tomorrow is a new day. You might have a bad day once in a while and that is okay. What is most important is what you choose to do when you have a bad day. Maintaining a positive attitude is key to maintaining inner peace. Remember – you cannot change what happened yesterday or today. If you have a bad day or things don’t go as planned, accept it, let it go and know that tomorrow is a brand new day with new opportunities. One day at a time is a best practice and in reality, it is sometimes one minute at a time.
- Love ALL of who you are. It is difficult to be at peace and to find joy in your life when you do not love who you are. Learn to love yourself and inner peace will follow.
It is not easy but taking the step to make a few small changes can make a big difference in how you feel.
You deserve to live life with a peaceful heart and it is easier to find than you think. Look within – it starts with you.
With Love and Peace-