4 Habits that Will Bring You Inner Peace

 

We all wish we had a little more inner peace in our lives.

After all, it’s hard enough to cope with the stress of workplace politics or family drama when your mind is clear and still. But when you’re trying to do it with a mind that’s buzzing with worries and insecurities, regrets and ruminations, frustrations and irritations, well… it can be overwhelming, if not completely debilitating.

But here’s the thing about true peace of mind:

Peace of mind is not something you do or find immediately. It’s something that’s cultivated slowly and intentionally.

If you want to cultivate a calmer, gentler, and more peaceful mind, these four habits are a good place to start.

1. Talk About How You Feel

Because painful emotions feel bad, our natural instinct is to avoid them… Naturally!

The only trouble is…

When you constantly run away from your emotions, you teach your brain that emotions are bad.

But painful emotions are bad, right?

Not exactly.

Think about it:

When you touch a hot pan on the stove, is the pain bad? Nope, not at all. Even though pain feels bad, it’s actually good! Pain is a messenger telling you to move your hand so you avoid the real danger — tissue damage resulting from third-degree burns.

Well, emotions work the same way.

Emotions themselves are not bad or dangerous. They’re just messengers trying to communicate something to you.

Just because your emotions feel bad doesn’t mean they are bad.

But if you treat your painful emotions like enemies by running away from them or trying to eliminate them, you train your brain to see them that way in the future — and this only makes you more reactive to them and keeps your mind constantly stressed out and worried.

Luckily, you can counteract this effect by doing the opposite:

By welcoming and expressing your emotions, instead of running away from them, you teach your brain to be calmer in the face of difficult feelings.

“Feelings are something you have; not something you are.

― Shannon L. Alder

2. Practice Feeling Bad on Purpose

We all feel bad sometimes:

  • We get a surge of anxiety or fear.
  • We go from on top of the world to grumpy and irritable in just a few minutes.
  • We feel sad and just can’t seem to shake it.

Painful emotions are unavoidable. But here’s the thing…

Life goes on whether you feel good or not.

Time passes, opportunities come and go, and our lives march forward whether we’re feeling good or feeling miserable:

  • If you wait to work on that novel you’ve been wanting to write until you feel “truly inspired,” it’s never going to happen (and you’re gonna feel bad about yourself in the meantime).
  • If you wait to start that new business you’ve dreamed of until you’re feeling confident enough, it’s never going to happen (and you’re gonna feel bad about yourself in the meantime).
  • If you wait to tell your kids you love them until it feels more natural, it’s never gonna happen (and you’re gonna feel bad about yourself in the meantime).

Many people can’t find inner peace because their minds are flooded with regrets about all the things they didn’t do.

The antidote, painful as it may sound, is to learn how to do what matters regardless of how you feel. This is the only way to stop the constant stream of regrets and disappointments.

Easier said than done of course. Obviously, it’s easier to go to the gym if you’re feeling energized, just like it’s easier to ask out that cute guy when you’re feeling confident.

And while hard things will always be hard, you can make them a lot less hard with practice. Specifically, you can practice doing things despite not wanting to.

Like an athlete building up endurance and strength, the more you practice feeling bad emotionally, the more tolerance to it you will build.

To free your mind from the constant stress of regret, practice doing important things no matter how you feel.

The next time you want to work toward a goal but don’t feel like it, ask yourself this question:

Should I look at feeling bad as an obstacle or as an opportunity to train?

“The only whole heart is the broken one because it lets the light in.”

— David Wolpe

3. Update Your Expectations

I think most of us know that overly-high expectations of people aren’t a great idea:

  • Expecting that your spouse will always be in a good mood is a set-up for excessive irritability and resentment.
  • Expecting that your employees will always act in the company’s best interest is a set up for excessive frustration and disappointment.
  • Expecting that your plans will always go well is a set up for excessive anxiety and stress.

Because here’s the thing about expectations….

The world and most of the people in it are surprisingly indifferent to your expectations.

This means that much of the time your expectations are going to be violated. And when that happens, you’re going to be chronically surprised — and not in a good way!

The issue is that surprise is like an emotional amplifier:

  • Seeing your spouse in a bad mood may be mildly disappointing. But seeing your spouse in a bad mood when you expected them to be in a good one is majorly disappointing.
  • Having your plans not work out is frustrating. But having them not work out after convincing yourself that they would is going to be majorly frustrating.

If you want more peace of mind, you must let go of unrealistic expectations for people.

Of course, you can’t just eradicate your expectations entirely. They have their uses now and then. The trick is to get in the habit of examining your expectations regularly and, if needed, updating them.

Life and other people will always disappoint you. But you’ll be a lot less disappointed if you stop expecting the world of them.

Make time to update your expectations regularly and you’ll be far more calm and peaceful for it.

“We have to be willing to confront the world as it is, not as we want it to be if we’re going to be successful.”

— Barry McCarthy

4. Enforce Healthy Boundaries

When I first drafted this article, the title of this section as “Set and Enforce Healthy Boundaries”

But let’s be honest, setting healthy boundaries isn’t really the problem…

  • It’s not that hard to ask your boss to stop emailing you on the weekends.
  • It’s not that hard to tell your adult child to get a job and move out.
  • It’s not that hard to tell yourself to go to the gym after work.

Sure, setting healthy boundaries can be a little uncomfortable. But the real issue here is enforcing the healthy boundaries you do set.

Because here’s the deal…

Setting a boundary and not enforcing it is worse than not setting it in the first place.

Think about it:

  • What are you teaching your boss if you tell her you don’t want to be emailed on the weekends but then go ahead and respond to her weekend emails anyway? You’re teaching her to not take your requests seriously.
  • What are you teaching your adult child if you tell them they need to get a job and move out but keep letting them live for free in your house and subsidizing their video game addiction? You’re teaching him that your requests aren’t actually all that important.
  • What are you teaching your own brain if you keep committing to starting a new workout regimen but then never following through on it? You’re teaching yourself that your goals don’t really matter to you and that you’re not a very reliable person.

Setting boundaries without enforcing them is just another form of self-sabotage.

The next time you think about making a serious request of someone or setting a new boundary, think carefully about what it will really take to enforce that boundary.

Because if you don’t, you’re training the people in your life not to respect you. And worse, you’re destroying your own self-respect. Both of which will lead to a lot of unnecessary emotional pain and mental stress.

“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”

— Greg McKeown

What Depression Actually Is, Because It’s More Than ‘Just Being Sad’

 Jo M

Depression isn’t the saddest person in the room. Quite contrary actually, depression sometimes is the person you would have never expected. Along with trying to convince you they’re happy, they’re trying to convince themselves.

Depression isn’t that melancholy person, you don’t want to be around. Oftentimes, it’s the person everyone loves because of the light they bring to a room is so bright but that’s only because they know darkness.

Depression isn’t the person screaming out for help. It’s the silent person dealing with battles they’re still trying to understand themselves.

Depression is doing everything you can to hide it. Because there’s nothing glorified about it. There’s nothing beautiful about a bad night as you fall you your knees, in a silent scream, that no one hears because you’re alone and you need to be until you get through it.

It’s the sleepless nights as you lay awake at 2 am staring at the ceiling.

It’s that time of year, you just get a little bit sadder for no reason.

It’s the tears you don’t tell people you cry because you don’t really know why you’re crying, you just know you need to.

It’s the want and need to be around people but at the same time, you push them away.

Depression is watching across social media, everyone’s highlight reels and you know it’s not an accurate depiction of their life yet you still compare yourself to them.

It’s the plans canceled last minute because you couldn’t muster the strength to get out of bed.

It’s your alarm going off in the morning and you just want to go back to sleep.

Depression is that cloud that doesn’t seem to go away ever. And even in those happy moments, you cling to, you know it’s still hovering over you. Depression waits. It creeps and lurks. It waits for the best day of your life and your happiest moment just so the next one can be your worst.

It’s the fear of such happiness because you know it’s bound to fade.

It’s every good day, that are few and far between and that’s what you hang onto.

It’s the struggle in explaining to people when they ask why are you depressed? You just don’t know and you don’t know how to fix it. It’s just a feeling you can’t shake but you’re learning to work through.

Depression are toxic habits or people you gravitate towards.

It’s drinking the way you do because at least for a moment your pain is numbed. You know the effects lead to being even more depressed the next day. And you know alcohol is a depressant but being numb helps sometimes.

Depression is the constant unbalance of things in your life.

It’s either overexercising and being at the gym for hours or staying in bed for weeks immobile.

It’s either sleeping too much or too little. But no matter what, you’re always tired.

It’s eating too much or just never being hungry. It’s someone asking, ‘When was the last time you ate?’ And you actually don’t know the answer.

It’s weight loss that people commend you for but you know even you couldn’t help it.

Depression is people asking if you’re okay and you don’t respond with ‘I’m sad.’ You simply say, ‘I’m tired.’

It’s the envy of looking at others and just wanting to be that happy. So you glamorize your own life so it appears that way.

Depression is the overcompensating in relationships and trying too hard. You know you’re tough to deal with but there isn’t anyone you love more than those who accept you, as you’re still trying to accept yourself.

It’s that really scary moment when you open up to someone about what it is you deal with. And that new level of friendship you reach, when they welcome you with open arms and it almost brings you to tears.

It’s loving people unbelievably hard because you’re still learning to love yourself.

It’s looking ahead and looking forward to certain days in your life and really appreciating everything.

And even though you might not say it, as often as you should, it’s the love you have for everyone in your life which gives you strength.

Depression is becoming addicted to anything that gives you purpose. Whether it’s being a perfectionist in academics or becoming a workaholic. It’s becoming the most involved in a group or organization because you need something to look forward to. It’s excelling in sports because it really helps to have that and a team to fall back on.

It’s the need to be busy because if you’re not you’ll spend too much time alone and everything will get worse.

But more than that, depression is the person who would do anything to make others happy because someone else’s happiness is their own.

Depression is being overly observant because you know what it’s like to hide things, so you look for it in others.

It’s being the first one willing to help and being the person you wish you had. Knowing well, there’s nothing you can say or do but be there for them and that’s okay.

But more than that, depression is a strength in you because there’s nothing harder than overcoming demons within yourself.

It’s the trust people have in you, knowing they can turn to you without judgment.

It’s the excitement you bring to others because even though you’re sad, you do love life.

Depression is being the happiest, saddest person, people know but there’s a bit of beauty to someone who knows both emotions at such an extreme level.

Depression is an appreciation and gratitude for life. It’s knowing no matter what happens things will get better.

Depression is hope even in moments that seem hopeless.

It’s not letting this define who you are but rather learning to live through it and being the example others can follow. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

 

 

A Song For Mama

A Song For Mama by Boyz 2 Men –

My family is everything. I am what I am thanks to my mother, my father, my brother, my sister… because they have given me everything. The education I have is thanks to them.

 

You taught me everything
Everything you’ve given me
I’ll always keep it inside
You’re the driving force in my life, yeah

There isn’t anything
Or anyone that I could be
And it just wouldn’t feel right
If I didn’t have you by my side

You were there for me to love and care for me
When skies were gray
Whenever I was down
You were always there to comfort me

And no one else can be
What you have been to me you will always be
You will always be the girl
In my life for all times

Mama, Mama you know I love you
(You know I love you)
Mama, Mama you’re the queen of my heart
Your love is like tears from the stars, yes it is
Mama I just want you to know lovin’ you is like food to my soul
Yes it is, yes it is, oh, yes it is, yes it is, yes it is oh

You’re always there for me
Have always been around for me even when I was bad
You showed me right from my wrong
Yes you did

And you took up for me
When everyone was downin’ me
You always did understand
You gave me strength to go on

There were so many times
Looking back when I was so afraid
And then you’d come to me and say to me
I can face anything

And no one else can do
What you have done for me
You’ll always be, you will always be
The girl in my life, ooh oh

Mama, Mama you know I love you
(You know I love you, you know I love you)
Mama, Mama you’re the queen of my heart, (You are)
Your love is like tears from the stars
(Your love is like tears from the stars)
Mama I just want you to know (Mama I just want you to know)
Lovin’ you is like food to my soul

Never gonna go a day without you
Fills me up just thinkin’ about you
I’ll never go a day without my mama

Mama, Mama you know I love you
Mama, Mama you’re the queen of my heart
Your love is like tears from the stars
(Your love is like tears from the stars)
Mama I just want you to know lovin’ you is like food to my soul

Lovin’ you is like food to my soul, oh yeah
You are the food to my soul, yes you are.