When in conversations about finding inner peace and lasting happiness, everyone seems to have a definition or ideology about the topic.
Some of these definitions are correct or at least point us in the right direction but a couple of others are just misconceptions.
Peace, as you rightly believe, is the absence of fear and pandemonium but that doesn’t mean that fun doesn’t exist where peace is. This is what some people picture inner peace as. No fun, no pleasure, just plain boring. But is that true?
What Is Inner Peace and Happiness?
As Wikipedia puts it,((Wikipedia: inner peace))
“Inner peace refers to a deliberate state of psychological or spiritual calm despite the potential presence of stressors. Peace of mind is thus, generally associated with bliss, happiness, and contentment.”
The first line says, “Despite the potential presence of stressors.” Do you realize that it doesn’t say “in the absence of stressors?” This goes on to suggest that inner peace doesn’t take away your problems. It doesn’t take away national issues that affect you either or just instantly solve all the jigsaws in your life.
Note again that it doesn’t just say “stressors” but “potential stressors.” What does that mean?
Everyone knows that life isn’t a bed of roses so even if anyone happens to be lying on the side with an abundance of roses, there is this constant thought of “what if?” What if I lose everything tomorrow? What if someone I love dies tomorrow? What if I fail my finals? What if I lose my job?
As much as you try to ignore these thoughts, you can’t deny their presence or stop them from coming. So what’s the point of the whole inner peace thingy? It makes you calm even when these thoughts abound.
The literal meaning of inner peace is, “a state of mind where calmness and satisfaction exist with all other unwanted factors being constant.”
This brings leads to the definition of lasting happiness.
People say that happiness depends on happenings which means that bad events take away our happiness. In reality, bad events tamper with our minds but this is where peace of mind comes to play.
When inner peace exists, it does so with happiness so when these so-called bad events come around, the worst they can do is make you sober and more reflective. Your mind remains at peace.
What Does It Mean to Have Inner Peace and Lasting Happiness?
Knowing what inner peace and happiness mean is quite different from having it. Ironically, many people know about this concept and can even teach it but nothing about their lives depicts it.
You may have seen people who always appear happy and lively no matter what happens and you just keep wondering if they live on the same planet as you do. Probability is that they have mastered the art of finding and keeping their inner peace. You heard that right: they have mastered the art.
Finding inner peace is not enough. The topping is keeping it.
Look at it as a messy room – our minds can rightly be likened to a room. You eat, sleep and work in that room and with all the activities going on, you barely have time to clean it up. You keep postponing clean up time until one day you decide to do it. It feels like a brand new house. The next day, you go back to eating and throwing trash in the same place and one week later, you are back to square one.
Cleaning is an art and so is the concept of inner peace. It is something you learn and re-learn all the days of your life. The day you stop the practice, your mind begins to go back to being occupied with unnecessary stuff that makes it very unattractive.
When your peace or happiness is threatened, the first thing that comes to mind is “find a quick fix.” Sadly, this quick fix doesn’t even lead you to talk it out with people who could help but instead, you take to Netflix, ice cream, binge-eating, and binge-watching or drinking all night. By morning, you get sober and the feeling of sadness and emptiness dawns on you again but this time, heavier…
This keeps you moving in the same cycle; hence the increasing number of health-related cases globally.
One thing we fail to realize at that moment is that all those solutions are fleeting and that is the distinguishing factor between all of them and inner peace.
Inner peace is not a quick fix. It takes years of mind-conditioning but the results are always glaring and cannot be ignored.
Why Is Inner Peace Important?
Inner peace is important for the following reasons:
- You begin to see and appreciate all the little things you never thought were important like the ability to walk, eat, breathe, having a roof over your head and even the sun that never fails to rise.
- It teaches you to be patient because, at the end of the day, we’d all be on the same day. Nobody has ever hurried into the next day.
- You learn how to maximize every single moment knowing fully well that we would all leave this world someday.
- It teaches you to take things one step at a time. We all tell ourselves that phrase especially when we find ourselves in a mess but we never really actualize it until we find inner peace.
- You would begin to see drastic changes in your health and wellness. Food and alcohol are no longer an escape route because you realize that there is really no escape from this life.
- Your relationships and friendships take a positive turn because you have learned to appreciate every moment you have with the ones you love.
- As your health improves, you will also notice that you stop aging so fast. In other words, peace of mind is an anti-aging factor.
- You steadily gain control over aspects of life that you can control. Habits and lifestyles are some of the things you can control and the realization of inner peace help you handle those aspects well.
- You feel more confident to take on challenges and tasks you would ordinarily shy away from.
- You would be able to handle losses and other unfortunate events gracefully and not pretending to be handling them well.
How to Find Your Inner Peace and Happiness
Like many other concepts, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to finding inner peace. However, all of the points provided here would prove effective in your journey to finding it. Use these steps to find inner peace:
1. Declutter Your “Room”
As mentioned earlier, your mind can be likened to a room. When that room is occupied with thoughts of “what if” and “how not” plus work issues and family matters, there is no way you’d have enough space to do other things.
This would take lots of practice and patience with oneself because you can’t just tell yourself, “Hey, stop thinking” and boom! You just stop. You have to consciously remind yourself to not overthink things and only take what you can handle.
Even the bravest people break down, so take some time to clear your mind of unimportant matters. You need that space.
2. Take Responsibility for Your Actions
It takes a whole level of maturity to take responsibility for your actions, especially when it’s something you’re not proud of but to find your inner peace, you have to accept your faults and all.
3. Accept the Fact That You Are Human
Alongside taking responsibility for your actions, realize that you do not have control over everything. You’re human and there’s only so much you can do about anything.
When you finally come to terms with this, you would stop blaming yourself for stuff that you did not cause and could not prevent.
4. Your Issues Don’t Define You
When facing a long term illness or disability or going through a series of tragic experiences, many are tempted to look at themselves through the eyes of their experiences (which is no surprise when others do the same). You are NOT your issues.
Yes, you may have anemia or have lost someone but that is only a minute part of your life. It doesn’t entail your whole life and it certainly doesn’t describe you.
Constantly remind yourself of this and watch people change their perception about you as well.
5. Set Boundaries for Yourself
We all like to be free and do whatever it is that we dream of, so boundaries may sometimes look like our enemies but they aren’t. Instead, boundaries help us stay in check and be in charge. Therefore, the sooner you start setting boundaries, the better.
Some of the boundaries you should set include social media time, talk time, TV time and work time.
6. Take a Break
If you struggle to take breaks, then you are the one person who needs it the most. Even phones and laptops begin to overheat and lag when they are used for long periods at a stretch.
It’s okay to put your life on hold for the world. Go on a vacation. Travel the world. Visit a park.
7. Be Early
This may not sound like an “inner peace hack” (because there’s no hack to this thing) but it does help with keeping your inner peace.
Have you noticed how confused and disorganized you get when you’re running late for an event? You just get tensed and worked up trying to figure out things if any goes wrong.
So, when you have to be at an event try to get there at least fifteen minutes before the time. You would notice how calm you’d be even if anything goes wrong because there would be a few minutes to sort it out.
Once again, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to finding your inner peace, so these steps may not be exactly what you expect.
The good news, though, is that these steps provide the basic foundation you need to find it. As you work on these, you will begin to find out other things you need to start or get rid of to hit that climax of inner peace and lasting happiness.
More to Calm Your Mind
- 40 Ways to Find Peace of Mind and Inner Calm
- How to Calm Down When You’re Stressed and Anxious
- Meditation Can Change Your Life: The Power of Mindfulness