I’ve struggled with my inner peace for a long time in my life. More particularly, I’ve struggled with achieving it. A lot.
Inner peace is about being mentally and spiritually at peace. It’s a state of calmness and serenity.
From constantly stressing about life, wanting to control everything around me, to trying to fit into other people’s standards, inner peace was an unreachable concept for me.
That was until I decided I had enough: I was either gonna drastically change my mindset and therefore my life, or I was gonna end up in a mental hospital.
In the end, things were much simpler than I thought. Here are the five steps I took to reach peace of mind, that you too, can follow to find your inner peace.
1. I Accepted Reality As It Was
As I mentioned above, one of the main reasons I couldn’t find any kind of inner peace was the fact that I was constantly stressed about life.
I was either trying to control everything around me or I was preoccupied complaining about the unfairness of life itself.
But the — quite harsh — truth is that life can be pretty unfair and bad things may happen to good people. Well, in fact, bad things are gonna happen to everyone, at one point or another.
There are some things like death, grief, sickness, or heartache that you simply can’t escape. You’ll just have to gradually get over them.
The more you try to control everything around you, or the more you think about how unfair life can be, the more stress you welcome into your life.
Once you accept reality as it is, and embrace life for its ups and downs, you can finally reach a state of inner peace.
2. I Stopped Trying to Please Others
Whether we like it or not, humans crave each other’s acceptance and approval. It’s in our nature.
As a result, we end up spending a lot of time worrying about what others might think of us, from the way we dress to the way we act.
We end up living our lives for others, trying to fit into their standards, struggling to please everyone around us, so that we win their approval.
This way of thinking was another one of the reasons my mind was far from peaceful. I was always second-guessing my choices, out of fear of being criticized. I was afraid would mock my dreams. I wanted everyone, from my family to my friends, to approve of my choices, my dreams, my habits, my actions.
But that’s far from possible.
People are gonna judge you no matter what you do. Even if you completely change yourself according to their standards, they will still find something about you to criticize.
Part of this reason is that we grow up in different times, different environments, with different people who teach us different values.
That means we all have different preferences, a different idea of what is right or wrong, of what is good or bad.
One of my favorite quotes by Jim Carrey is,
“Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world. Don’t let anything stand in the way of the light that shines through this form. Risk being seen in all of your glory.”
Don’t lose yourself for others. Trust me, the sooner you stop living your life for other people, the easier it will become to lead a peaceful, happy life.
3. I Stopped Making My Problems Bigger Than They Were
Most of us tend to stress over minor, unimportant things that don’t really matter in the long term. And we tend to make these everyday problems much bigger than they actually are.
I’ve caught myself stressing over silly things more times than I can count. And it’s ok, really,-stressing over minor things is a natural human characteristic.
But, constantly making a fuss about nothing can create a lot of unnecessary stress for you and ruin your inner peace.
Next time you catch yourself thinking what you’re currently facing is a major disaster, ask the following questions:
- Will this thing still matter to me in a week/month/year/5 years from now?
- Could I have done something to prevent it from happening?
- Can I do something to make it disappear?
- Will this thing make a major difference for my career/myself/my well-being?
If the answer to these questions is no, try to relax and look at the bigger picture. From my experience, the answer is almost always no, as it is us who are making things seem worse than they actually are.
Everything has a way of working out at the end. Inner peace comes from accepting the things you can’t change and working to solve the ones you can.
4. I Started Taking Things One Step at a Time
Let’s be honest with this one. We live in a world that’s obsessed with productivity.
All people seem to think about is how to do more, how to make more money, meet more people, receive more recognition or learn more things.
Although having goals in your life and aiming to improve yourself is great and necessary, having an unending list of tasks to do every day is stressful and unhealthy.
By getting so caught up in this strive for productivity and excellence, we enter an ever-ending cycle of anxiety and depression. A cycle that makes you NOT look forward to the day ahead of you.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Success doesn’t come overnight. If you want to have a fulfilling, meaningful and above all, peaceful, life, you need to take things one step at a time.
Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb advises:
“One foot, then the other. Don’t look at all five feet at once. Just take a step. And when you’ve taken that step, take one more. Eventually you’ll make it to the shower. And you’ll make it to tomorrow and next year too. One step.”
Focus on one task at a time. And be proud of yourself for every next step you take.
5. I Ended the Mindless Chatters Both Around Me and Inside Me
Mindless chatters are one of the biggest enemies of our inner peace. The moment I realized that and ended them, my life became a lot easier, happier, and calmer.
Mindless chatters exist both around us and inside us.
We all have thoughts that roll through our heads all day long. We think and worry about bills, health, work, and all of the things that we have to get done. But, for many, these thoughts become a constant chatter that makes them worry and worry and worry.
The good news is that it’s easy to silence them. Grab a book. Watch a movie. Exercise. Meditate. Go out with a friend. Goodbye, chaos.
Now, what about the mindless chatter around us?
We often find ourselves lost in a sea of mindless jibber-jabbering, saying things and talking about things that mean nothing at all. We get caught up in unimportant, silly conversations.
Do you really need to gossip about your neighbor’s affair with your friends? Or how much money the Kardashians make?
The more you talk, the more energy you use. When talking with other people, we need to make sure that our conversations actually mean something. Otherwise, they’re just noise. Be more mindful of what you say and how much you say. Your mind will thank you later.
Inner peace is necessary for a fulfilling, meaningful life.
Inner peace means inner harmony, the absence of disturbing or distracting thoughts. It means a peaceful mind that can stay calm and recollected in every situation.
Despite what some people might think, finding peace of mind isn’t that hard. It’s a journey, where some might progress fast, and others at a slower pace. But each and every one of us can work toward a life of harmony and achieve inner peace.
Finding inner peace, achieving peace of mind, is a major life accomplishment — don’t underestimate it.
As American minister and author Norman Vincent Peale once said,
“The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence.”