Bills to pay, cranky kids who are intent on trashing your house, grumpy husband, burnt dinner, slow internet, cat yark on the living room carpet…
Have you ever had “one of those days”? Of course you have–we ALL have. Heck, maybe you’re having one today (hang in there sister, tomorrow’s coming!)
What do you do when everyone and everything is getting on your last nerve and you feel like you’re about to lose your sh!t over something that probably wouldn’t even phase you on a normal day? Well, you could lock yourself in the bathroom with a bottle of wine, a trashy romance novel and some chocolate (which actually sounds pretty awesome except that locking yourself in the bathroom just means that the kids and cat have free reign to continue wreaking havoc on your house, leaving you an even bigger mess to deal with later) or, you can try one of these 33 suggestions for finding peace of mind. In fact, it might be a good idea to print this list (by clicking here) and stick it on your fridge so that it is handy whenever you have an “in case of emergency” sanity testing situation to deal with. And…if you happen to do a few of these suggestions, while drinking wine straight from the bottle, no one here is going to judge you, I promise.
33 Fab-YOU-lous Ways to Find Peace of Mind (Right Freakin’ Now!)
1.) Acknowledge your blessings. Write down and spend a few minutes thinking about the top five blessings in your life. Chances are, your teenage sons who just (without asking) devoured the entire casserole that you had planned to take to your company’s potluck dinner, are on your list. Yes–they might make you crazy 95% of the time, but imagine how empty your life would feel without them. By taking just a few minutes to get centered and focused upon the things that really matter, you can shift your perspective and bring peace into an otherwise chaotic situation.
2.) Breathe. When things are particularly stressful, it is amazing how bad we become at something that is otherwise automatic. Instead of our normal breaths, we either hold our breath or we take rapid, shallow breaths–both of which deprive our brains of valuable oxygen at a time when we need it most. When you are feeling especially stressed out, try breathing in for four counts, holding your breath for four counts and then exhaling for four counts and repeating. This will force you to slow down and take larger, more productive breaths. Another breathing technique that can be particularly beneficial during meditation can be found here. By regulating our breathing, we allow more energizing oxygen into our system which can help to alleviate stress and usher in peace.
3.) Brush your dog or pet your kitty. Okay–if stepping in cat yark is what has you feeling frazzled at the moment, you might want to try another suggestion on this list until you’ve settled down and no longer want to throttle Mr. Whiskers. Otherwise, connecting with a beloved animal friend can do wonders for our emotional well being. Pets can soothe frazzled nerves (don’t believe me? Just try snuggling with a sleepy, purry kitten) while also lowering our blood pressure. Pets also teach us about unconditional love (because seriously…who other than your pup, Oliver, is ever so happy to see you that they literally pee the floor with excitement?) Pets are a wonderful way to lift a foul mood and a bring a healthy dose of peace and contentment into any situation.
4.) Take a deep breath and count backwards from 10 (or 600,000 depending upon how irritated you are.) Sometimes we just need to step away from a situation and take a few minutes to gather ourselves. When I do this exercise, I don’t just count backward from 10; I also imagine a pretend echo after each number. I don’t know why I do that but there is something about the echo that seems to calm me even more than just simply counting. Sometimes the best way to bring about peace is to just stop what you’re doing and take a few moments to simmer down.
5.) Feel the beat. When things are making you nuts, take your right hand and place it over your heart. Feel that beat? That means that you are alive and if you are alive, it means that you have a purpose and reason for living. Sometimes all we need in order to experience a little peace is to reconnect with our heart and revel in the pure delight of being alive.
6.) Drink up. Okay, sorry–we’re not talking about booze here. If we are truly looking to add peace into our life, we need to make sure that we are adequately hydrated with pure, refreshing water. When our body lacks hydration, it causes our system to be stressed. Fortunately this is an easy one to remedy–just drink more water. You can boost the peace inducing benefits of water by adding some cucumber slices, lemon and mint leaves. In fact, it’s amazing how infusing your water can add benefits for a whole variety of issues. If you’d like some suggestions on how to jazz up your water and enjoy the associated health benefits, click here.
7.) Get grounded. Sometimes when I feel like I am flying off the handle in a million different directions, it is helpful for me to run through a simple grounding exercise that a good friend (who also happens to be one of the most peaceful people I know) taught me. She instructed me to ground myself by imagining that I had roots extending down from the bottom of my feet running into the center of the earth and then to lift my arms, imagining that I had branches that reached into the sky. She explained that this exercise is powerful because it increases our feelings of connectedness to the earth and universe, therefore bringing with it a feeling of peace.
8.) Use white noise to drown out the crazy. Kids bickering, dog barking, phone ringing…sometimes it’s enough to drive a person crazy. All we want is some peace and quiet but the quiet part of that equation seems impossible to find which in turn makes the peace part impossible to obtain. When this happens, try replacing the annoying buzz of chaos with the calming sounds of white noise. I have an app on my iPhone called Relax Melodies for just this purpose. I am able to pop in my Yurbuds ear buds and relax to the soothing sounds of raindrops, beach waves or a fan whirring (you can choose which sound you want to listen to.) This app also comes in incredibly handy when sharing a bed with a hubby who snores like a chainsaw.
9.) Spend time with a toddler. Nothing makes me forget the stress of my day faster than spending time with someone under the age of four. I mean, little ones are just so darn funny and cuddly and busy and wide-eyed that I can’t help but get caught up in their world of wonder. I love the way little ones are able to spend time playing and exploring without worrying about what little Bobby in the blue romper thinks about them or stressing out over the fact that they have a load of poo in their pants. I’m not suggesting that we run around with poo in our pants, but I am suggesting that we could take a hint and add some peace into our lives by adding some play into our lives. If this feels like too much of a stretch for you, click here for some quick & easy ways to incorporate more play into your routine.
10.) Write the crazy away. I have always been told that I have a gift for communication and I am so thankful for that. Still, there are plenty of times when life robs me of my peace and the ability to aptly articulate my feelings. When this happens to me, there is nothing more cathartic than grabbing a pen and a journal and letting it all spill out of me onto a blank page. This journaling practice helped me to get through a difficult divorce without killing anyone and it is a technique that I still use whenever I begin to feel overwhelmed. There is just something that my soul finds soothing about putting a pen to paper (no typing on a keyboard for me when it comes to this kind of therapeutic writing) and letting my spirit bleed onto the blank page. For an example of how writing can be used to restore peace, check out my friend Daniela’s beautiful blog series titled “Letters to my Mother” where she uses the tool of writing to help her process her grief over her mom’s death.
11.) Understand that “no” is a complete sentence. Often, when I find myself overwhelmed and in desperate need of some peace, it is because I have allowed myself to become pulled in too many different directions by too many different things that really aren’t all that important to me but are things that I feel like I have to do because I don’t want to let people down. That right there is a recipe for emotional disaster. In order to preserve our sanity, and invite peace into our lives, we absolutely must get comfortable with saying no to things that don’t matter to us. I read a quote once (though I can’t remember who said it) that said “if it’s not a HELL YEAH, it’s a no” I LOVE that. In order to regain some semblance of peace in your life, start saying no to anything that doesn’t light your spirit up. You don’t need to make excuses or justify your decision. No is a complete sentence and it is enough.
12.) Give toxins the brush off. If you’ve read our post on the Ayurvedic practice of dry brushing, you know that it is a great way to rid your body of toxins. If you haven’t read that post, you can check it out here. The health benefits of dry brushing are reason enough to start doing it but there is another payoff as well…it feels awesome. When things are getting nuts and you need a little bit of peace, give your skin a good brush and follow it up with a warm, soothing shower. You’ll feel restored and more peaceful almost instantly.
13.) Massage your scalp. While we are on the subject of things that feel good, let’s add massage into the mix. Sure, a ninety minute, full body, Swedish massage can do wonders for our levels of peace and serenity but who actually has time for that? Instead, when you’re in the heat of the moment and need something to peace you out quickly, try a twenty second scalp massage. It activates nerve endings in your head and feels so nice.
14.) Offer a sincere apology. We all know that there is value in offering forgiveness, but what about those times when we are the one who need to be forgiven? Knowing that I have wronged someone (whether intentionally or unintentionally) will mess with my peace of mind more than almost anything. When this happens, I’ve found that the only real way to find peace in the situation is to offer a sincere and meaningful apology. Yes–sometimes this sucks because let’s face it, who likes to admit that they’re wrong (not me, that’s for sure!) but still, peace comes when wrongs are atoned for. It is important to point out however; that not all apologies will be accepted. That’s okay. The important part is that you made the effort to say you’re sorry. How the offended party responds to that is out of your control. You can simply find peace in the knowledge that you did what you could to make things right.
15.) Stash some cash. One of the biggest robbers of peace for many people is the stress that comes from financial difficulties. In order to find peace in these situations, make a vow now to start a savings plan. It doesn’t have to be elaborate (even stashing $10 a paycheck can make a difference), but it should be consistent. Even if it takes you a while to get an emergency fund built up, just knowing that you are making steady progress toward your financial goals can do wonders for your level of peace and security.
16.) Connect with nature. There is something so soothing and calming about nature. I am fortunate to live in Colorado where I can explore lakes, mountains and rivers anytime I want to, but making a connection with nature doesn’t have to involve fancy hiking gear or hours of time. Simply go outside and feel the soft grass under your bare feet or touch a tree and feel the rough texture of the bark. Just spending a few minutes in a natural setting can be enough to usher in enough peace to get you through the rest of the day.
17.) Hummmmmmm. This suggestion comes from another friend of mine who leads meditation groups at a local yoga studio. She says that humming a deep, slow, resonating hum (preferably with your eyes closed), helps to relax the mind and body and bring feelings of peace and serenity.
18.) Give a little grace. Often, when we find ourselves feeling frazzled or frustrated, it is because other people aren’t living up to our expectations. Is this really fair? Who are we to say how other people should act? The next time someone’s behavior doesn’t sit well with you, try giving them a little grace instead of harsh judgement. We never really know another person’s story or what they may be wrestling with. Extending grace and empathy towards another human being can help to flood your own life with feelings of peace and acceptance.
19.) Release the tension. Our bodies know exactly when we are stressed out and they react accordingly by holding that stress. Check in with your body and feel where you are holding tension–your shoulders, back or neck? Wherever it is, tense up that area for a few seconds and then relax. Releasing the pent up tension in your body will help you to instantly feel more calm and peaceful.
20.) Act as if. No one likes people who are fake; however, like it or not, there is something to the old adage “fake it til you make it”. In this instance it can be applied simply by faking a state of peace. The phenomenon is that by pretending to be peace filled, your body and psyche will eventually catch up and you won’t have to fake it anymore because you really will be filled with peace. It sounds crazy, but I’ve personally used this one enough times to know that it works.
21.) Get in the bubble. If you know that you are heading into a potentially stressful situation, imagine that there is a protective bubble all around you that prevents the negative energy from other people to get through to you. It sounds silly, but it really can work. Feel free to stay in your peace bubble all day if necessary.
22.) Let your body take the lead. Many times, our body knows what we need in any given moment–even if our brain doesn’t. Does your body feel like going for a quick walk around the block? Or maybe it wants to take a nap in the backyard hammock. Take a few minutes to listen to your body and then just let it do whatever it is that it most wants to do (as long as it’s not wanting to do something unethical or illegal that is!). We are better able to experience peace in any given moment when our mind and body are on the same page.
23.) Take a whiff. Aromatherapy is a powerful tool for inducing peace and calm. Take a nice long whiff of your favorite flower or use a diffuser to diffuse essential oils into the air. For essential oils that are especially effective in reducing stress and ushering in feelings of peace, try Lavender, Rose, Marjoram, Rosewood or Ylang Ylang.
24.) Tap out. It might sound a little strange but research has shown that using the tip of your index finger to rhythmically tap specific acupressure points can reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) levels in the body and counteract the negative impact of stress by sending a calming signal to the amygdala (the part of the brain responsible for the flight or fight response). Give this technique (known as EFT–Emotional Freedom technique) a try by using your index finger to rhythmically tap your upper cheek (where the bone is, directly under the eye’s iris) for a few minutes. This ancient Chinese acupressure point is especially beneficial for releasing stress and inviting peace.
25.) Stop keeping up with the Joneses. In suggestion 15 we discussed how financial distress is a top peace thief. Much of this stress is brought on when we try to compete with others. Invite more peace into your life by making a commitment to yourself that you will no longer measure your level of self worth by how many “toys” you own. Instead, commit to living well within your means and experience the peace of mind that comes from reduced debt and less upkeep of things.
26.) Let the sunshine in. This one is most easily done outside, but can be accomplished indoors as well if there is a good window that allows the sun to shine in. Close your eyes and turn you face to the sun. Feel the warmth on your cheeks and sense the light on your eyelids. Revel in that feeling for a few minutes. Let peace wash over you and fill you with warmth just as the soothing sunshine does.
27.) Give it away. We have too much stuff. As individuals and as a society, we keep piles of magazines, clothes that no longer fit and broken gadgets that we plan to fix “someday”. It is impossible to find peace when surrounded by clutter. Make a commitment to getting organized and start today by selecting five items to either throw away or donate–and then go do it. There is peace in simplicity and as we begin to dig out from the piles of clutter in our life, we will be making more room for feelings of peace and serenity.
28.) You can’t always get what you want–thank goodness! I don’t know about you, but I know that in my own life, there have been many things that I have prayed for, begged for and thought that I couldn’t live without. As it turns out however; not getting those things has turned out to be much, much better for me. When frustration begins to rob you of your peace, think of all of the things that you have prayed for over the years that you now know would have been a disaster if they had actually manifested. Send up a little prayer of thanks and find peace in the fact the universe has your back.
29.) Get your head in the clouds–or stars. Sometimes our stress feels SO big and overwhelming. When that happens, we can regain a sense of peace by getting some perspective on the situation. Go outside and spend a few minutes cloud gazing (or star gazing if it is night time). In doing so, you’ll realize just how small you are in an infinite universe and therefore gain a proper sense of perspective on your problems.
30.) Indulge in some porch therapy. One of my favorite ways to find some peace in my life is to go out on my front porch and do nothing other than watch the world go by. This self-imposed downtime allows me to chill out if I’m angry or relax if I’m stressed. If I’m really in need of peace, I’ll let my cat come out with me so that I can combine pet and porch therapy.
31.) Listen to soothing music. Even though my body has matured over the years, my taste in music has not. I still LOVE the hard driving beat of hard rock/heavy metal. However; when I am needing to find some peace, I forego my Five Finger Death Punch and instead listen to soothing, instrumental music. My current favorite music for relaxation is anything with Native American flute music.
32.) Cut yourself some slack. In number 18, we discussed the importance in treating others with grace and empathy. It is also important that we extend the same courtesy to ourselves. Don’t let mistakes or regrets rob you of your peace. You are human and as a human you will occasionally screw up. Sometimes your screw ups will be colossal. That’s okay. Let your mistakes go. No one is perfect and there is no reason to beat yourself up for your imperfections. Instead, be grateful for the lessons that you have learned from your mistakes and vow to do better in the future. Then, let yourself experience the peace that comes with self forgiveness.
33.) Smile. Science has shown that the mere act of smiling has the ability to lift spirits even if the smile isn’t necessarily genuine. The next time you feel your inner peace slipping away, test this theory by slapping a big, goofy grin on your face and seeing if you don’t start to feel a little better–I bet that you will.
Obviously, there may be times in your life when no matter what you do, you just can’t find a sense of peace or contentment. If you find this to be the case for an extended period of time, please seek help from a qualified therapist. There is no shame in this. I personally needed therapy to help me battle a devastating eating disorder and escape an emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive marriage so I know how beneficial therapy can be. If however; your moments of chaos tend to be short lived and situational, give a few of these suggestions a try and you’ll be peaced out in no time.