Life can be a whirlwind. We face pressures from all angles to be constantly active, alert, and awake. We’re answering emails, phone calls or messages and get caught up in a hectic flow of demands and distractions 24/7. Finding a sense of peace and calm can be challenging.
Some people believe that you can only find peace when you are free of troubles and at one with yourself – but it’s usually the other way around. When we find time for ourselves and work to pursue activities that bring us peace and calm, it often becomes easier to deal with life’s troubles and address underlying issues.
Here are a few simple activities and routines that you can do to help cultivate a sense of peace, and don’t worry – they are all easy to get started with. You do not need to become a spiritual guru overnight!
Spend Time Alone
How much time do you spend alone in your daily routine? One way of cultivating a sense of inner peace is to carve out a little bit of time each day – it doesn’t have to be long – to spend alone.
If you are someone who does not usually spend much time in solitude, this might seem daunting. Twenty minutes spent walking around your neighborhood may help distract from rushing thoughts and worries that you are trying to avoid. And this is exactly why spending such time could be good for you – it gives you much-needed space to check in with yourself and process what’s going on around you.
During this alone time, you could also try meditation, journaling, or spending time in nature.
Meditation refers to any set of practices that aim to bring about a heightened state of awareness and focus. Meditation has been practiced in different ways by people the world over for thousands of years.
There are two main forms of meditation:
- Concentrative meditation trains the mind to focus on one particular thing – such as your breathing or a spoken mantra.
- Mindfulness meditation cultivates openness and trains the mind to notice what the body is experiencing without judgment.
Life bombards us with many different demands, which can leave our minds feeling scattered and hectic. Practicing meditation can equip us with tools for coping. It doesn’t just destress your mind in the moment; it strengthens your skills at finding focus and peace in general, which then kick in and help you regain that calm feeling during stressful moments throughout the day.
You do not have to be an expert to practice meditation. There are lots of videos and apps online that can show you how to do it. Start gently, with a few minutes a day, and see where it takes you.
Do you like writing? Putting your feelings on paper can feel pretty strange at first. It is a very vulnerable thing to do. But analysts have proven again and again that journaling has enormous benefits for your mental health and sense of well-being.
If you find journaling difficult to get into, try reserving a particular time in the day to do it – perhaps first thing in the morning when you wake up or at the end of the day before you go to sleep. The key is to be consistent and let go of your expectations – you do not have to write reams and reams of literally acclaimed text. Just a few sentences will do to start, and you will build up your own flow.
Spend Time in Nature
How often do you spend time in nature? You do not have to live in the country to get out and about among the trees. You can usually find a park or green stretch to walk through, even in the most built-up areas. Alternatively, head to a river or coastal area that’s easily accessible.
Getting closer to nature regularly can:
- Lower your risk for mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety
- Make you feel more relaxed
- Combat stress
- Enhance feelings of social connection, even when done alone
- Improve your focus and concentration
You can also use time in nature as a way to get your body moving, which in turn releases feel-good chemicals in your brain. This is also a great time to be alone or find a social connection to process your life and the world around you.
Find Collective Joy
Time alone is not the only answer to finding calm in your life. Another really useful way to quieten your mind and connect with the world around you is to spend time joyfully with others.
Increasing numbers of Americans feel cut off and isolated from their fellow human beings. In our work and our home lives, many of us do not feel we can always authentically connect with each other. Cultivating time to spend with others can be a fantastic way of countering this isolation and bring peace and calm to our minds together.
You can try:
- Volunteering at a local community center
- Eating meals together with your household regularly
- Playing team sports
- Taking regular walks in nature with family or friends
The key is to structure this time into your daily, weekly, or monthly routine and choose an activity where it’s possible to connect genuinely with others, either through conversation or collaborative activity.
Modern life can be challenging and hectic, and finding downtime is not always easy. But through simple activities like these, it is possible to find peace and quiet your busy mind.