7 Easy Tactics to Cultivate Your Peace of Mind
Peace of mind. It’s an elusive state.
And the more you try to get it, the more it seems just out of reach.
How often do you try to force yourself into a peaceful state?
It doesn’t work, does it?
I have anxiety, and my natural tendency is to force myself to feel better about something, right now!
I worry about the feeling I currently have, and my brain frantically searches for answers to get me out of my misery.
That would be cool if it worked. But it doesn’t. At least, not for me.
Instead, I’ve found that cultivating peace of mind requires a completely different approach. A simpler approach.
Are you ready to learn it?
Are you ready to pick up super simple strategies to cultivate your own blissful mental state?
Let’s dive in.
Not everyone is sold on meditation. They think that it sounds goofy — that there is no way it could work.
I was in this camp years ago.
Until I made a serious effort to try it over a period of several weeks.
Nothing is going to magically change your life the first time you use it. The same logic can be applied to meditation.
Here’s what you should do.
Download an app that can guide you. There are plenty available. Follow the prompts they give you — and just try it.
If you don’t want to do that, try this.
Close your eyes. Take deep breaths.
Breathe in for five seconds and out for five seconds. That’s all you need to do.
Ok, ok. It’s not official, super-duper meditation as prescribed by monks and your doctor, but it’s a start.
Simply slowing yourself down — mindfully inhaling and exhaling — changes your physiological state, which changes your psychological state.
Peace of mind.
Go For a Walk
Here’s something that works really well for me.
Once my brain starts to amp up and I can feel my mind spinning, I know I need to stop whatever I’m doing and go for a walk.
If I continue to sit — I’m usually seated, grinding away at something that is just not working out no matter what I try — I know my thought patterns will etch deeper into their anxious grooves.
This won’t work. But walking will.
Walking breaks up your thoughts. It gets your body moving. It connects the left and right hemispheres of your brain so that you can become more creative. And more relaxed and peaceful.
It doesn’t matter where you walk, or for how long, or how quickly or slowly you meander about.
All that matters is that you do it.
Like meditation, you want to move away from what you were doing when you were in an agitated mental state.
You’ll never find the peace of mind you’re looking for if you keep doing what you’ve always done.
Write Down What’s Preventing Peace of Mind
I love to write.
It’s how I process my emotions. It’s how I make sense of the world.
Not everyone feels the same way, but I’ve had all kinds of people try this — and it works.
Get your thought daggers down on paper. Don’t let them stab your brain. Let them stab your paper, or computer screen, or whatever medium you prefer to expel your thought garbage.
Writing down what ails you is a great way to look at it with a fresh perspective.
When you’re all worked up and in the midst of a weighty thought whirlwind, it’s extremely difficult — if not impossible — to get the space you need to make sense of how you’re feeling.
So write it down. Create the space. See the words appear in front of you. Don’t judge what you’re writing; just let it out.
What you’ll realize is that the fears fomenting in your mind aren’t actually all that bad.
What you’ll see is that you likely already have the tools you need to deal with them.
This writing spree can easily turn into a planning session, with the words you get on the page orchestrating themselves into a methodical process for getting you out of the situation you’re in.
But we’ll talk more about that in tactic seven.
For now, let’s move on to tactic four.
Talk to Someone You Can Trust
Another way to get some space from your thoughts and cultivate peace of mind is to talk to someone about what you’re feeling.
First, a caveat.
Don’t talk to someone who is likely to judge you. Don’t talk to someone you don’t like.
That should go without saying. When you’re in a vulnerable position, you don’t want someone completely pooh-poohing whatever it is you’re saying.
Instead, you want someone you can trust.
This doesn’t mean that the person you choose has to agree with everything that you say — just that it’s someone you know truly cares about you.
Also, choose a safe place, a neutral place.
No need to go to a place laden with tough emotions when you’re trying to process tough emotions.
And just let it out. Share what you’re feeling. Ask for feedback.
The act of openly sharing what’s bothering you is the first step to letting go of what’s on your mind.
Everyone needs an escape valve.
And this isn’t even necessarily about getting the right advice in return.
What’s so key about speaking (and writing) about what you’re feeling deep inside is that you know you can express it.
You know you can get it out of you. That way, difficult thoughts don’t stay inside of you and infest your mental state in perpetuity.
Do Something Ridiculous
This is another tactic that I thought was too silly to try.
But then I tried it. And it worked.
What I mean by “do something ridiculous” is do something you wouldn’t normally do.
It’s fine if you do this in the privacy of your own home. In fact, I recommend it.
Next time you feel the weight of the world upon you, I want you to try something.
Just do a goofy dance.
Wag your arms.
Flap your elbows.
I know, it’s so dumb. But it’s really hard to stay focused on negative thoughts when you’re doing something completely ridiculous.
Then, try this instead.
Stroll over to a mirror. A bathroom mirror is just as good as a bedroom one. It just has to reflect stuff back on you. That’s what mirrors do.
Then, when you’re securely fastened in front of a mirror, start making goofy faces. Then, escalate it. Talk to yourself in baby talk. “Cutesie Boopsie” is a phrase that comes to mind.
Try it out. Let me know how it goes.
Read Something That Will Inspire You
Cultivating peace of mind doesn’t mean that you always have to put your thoughts out into the world. Sometimes it helps to ingest positive thoughts.
Simply put, read something that inspires you.
It could be a book of quotes or poems. It could be your favorite religious text. It just has to be uplifting.
There is so much that has been written that can speak to you, whatever mental state you happen to be in.
The best kind of material to inspire you is timeless, meaning it contains wordly wisdom that has been passed down and refined over time.
Read that stuff.
Let the words soak in.
Close your eyes and contemplate what you just read.
The key is to do this with intention. Don’t fly through pages and expect the words to soak into your brain.
This is a reflective process that should take some time.
But the more you read, the more you will discover what kinds of words most inspire you.
I suggest setting aside a pile of books you can turn to when you need to find some peace of mind.
Take Five Minutes to Create a Peace of Mind Plan
Tactic seven is something I alluded to a few tactics prior.
If you take the time to write down what you’re feeling, you may find that doing that is not enough.
Luckily, doing a braindump on the written page or computer screen can provide other benefits.
What I’ve learned, through much trial and error, is that I especially become anxious when I don’t feel prepared to do what I need to do next.
Almost always, a simple five-minute plan will solve that.
This is what I’ll do.
I’ll write down what I need to do.
Then, I’ll break down the task into smaller components.
I’ll put them in order if I need to.
Then, I might make some lists.
I’ll list the resources I need to complete the task.
I’ll write out how much time I expect I’ll need to accomplish it.
I may even schedule subtasks into my calendar so that I know, for certain, that I have the time I need to get it all done.
This simple plan soothes my brain in a way that being a worrywart never will.
If you try even one of these tactics, you will have done something different than you’re used to.
You will have intentionally pursued a different approach than whatever it was you were doing before.
Peace of mind doesn’t have to be elusive.
And the strategies to attain it need not be overly complex.
Try out these simple tactics in various settings.
Over time, you’ll figure out what works best for you.
Peace of mind is out there.
It’s waiting for you.