Breaking the Silence

Website for the American Mental Health Counselors Association's Breaking the Silence initiative to address mental health stigma.

Inner Peace

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By contributing author Dr. Betty Hughes.

Imagine you are on vacation at your favorite place. You probably feel rested, calm, happy, and peaceful. What if you could learn how to feel peaceful like that most of the time? Would you be willing to make the necessary changes to accomplish that goal? According to Wikipedia, “Inner peace (or peace of mind) refers to a deliberate state of psychological or spiritual calm despite the potential presence of stressors.” Therefore, to some degree, inner peace is a choice that you can make most of the time.

Consider your own definition of inner peace. Depending on that definition, peace could impact you physically, mentally, emotionally, and/or spiritually. Some people might even consider constant peacefulness to be boring or lacking energy.

The purpose of this article is to present various strategies that can be learned in order to feel more comfortable. It starts with conscious awareness of how you feel. For example, how do you feel right now? Do you know what it means to feel? Feelings are “felt” in the body.

Notice where you feel tension. Do any of your muscles feel tight? Is there a part of your body that feels inflamed or any other negative description such as achiness or pain?

Once you have detected a negative feeling, put your attention there, take some deep breaths, and ask the negative feeling what it is trying to tell you. Begin to breathe deeply and notice how good that feels. Focus on the peace that comes with deep breathing. Become aware that thinking negative thoughts may be related to the negative feeling. By deliberately changing the negative thoughts to positive ones, you may be able to return to the feeling of inner peace.

Meditation is considered to be one of the strongest routes to inner peace. Even a few minutes of quiet time can make a tremendous difference in your day. Meditation does not have to be time consuming or complex. Even listening to a guided meditation can help you get back on track to peacefulness.

Affirmations can also contribute to inner peace. Consider repeating the following affirmations several times per day:

“I could see peace instead of this.” From A Course in Miracles by Helen Schucman.

“I am peace.” From I am peace: A book of mindfulness by Susan Verde.

You can also make your own affirmations by turning around disturbing thoughts. For example, if your worries are such things as fear of illness, you could turn those negative thoughts into positive statements such as “I am healthy,” “I have a healthy body” and so forth. You could also consider purchasing books of affirmations.

Another strategy could include an internet search for “inner peace” or similar terms. There is a wealth of information available. For example, there is an article by Ashley Davis Bush on the Huffington Post entitled “6 Ways to Inner Peace.” These include the use of sound, compassion, visualization, affirmations, breath, and gratitude. Ashley Davis Bush has also written a book entitled Shortcuts to Inner Peace: 70 Simple Paths to Everyday Serenity.

In conclusion, consider making a strong decision to be more peaceful regardless of the outer circumstances. Choose to focus on the positive aspects of whatever thoughts come to mind, and notice the peace that comes from within. It is your inner peace. Remember, you get to choose your thoughts, and positive thoughts can lead to inner peace.


Suggested readings:

Who Is in Charge
Daily Strategies
Inner Peace from the Huffington Post

Bush, Ashley Davis. 2011. Shortcuts to inner peace: 70 simple paths to everyday serenity. Berkley Books, New York.

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