So many aspects of our lives are often tainted by what isn’t working. We ask ourselves:
- What’s wrong with the world?!
- Why can’t our political leaders fix the budget?
- Why does the world have so many greedy corporations?
- What’s the problem with our partner/spouse/parent/child?
- Why can’t our bodies look the way we want?
Giving the negative aspects of these elements our constant attention usually results in a heightened sense of frustration and anxiety about our lives and growing illusion of some seemingly inherent problem lies at the core of life.
But I don’t believe this to be true. And I would go as far to say that I don’t believe that you believe this to be true. We all see evidence that human beings are amazing, creative, and compassionate people in real life. We are just as capable of reframing these questions to identify what is going well, than we are of pointing out what we don’t like. We love even when it’s not realistic and we give when there is nothing more left to give. So many of us live inspired by our hearts with balance feedback from our minds.
During the past fifteen years of studying and practicing peace, I’ve come across some great tools for supporting an intention to keep peace as a primary focus. Here are six of my favorites that I trust will support your efforts to make your life more peace-filled. Remember that consistency is key. I would just suggest that you choose one and begin attempting to practice it on a daily basis.
Watch Less News
You don’t have to be a spiritual guru to recognize that the nightly news paints a bleak picture about humanity. Research studies point out that viewers are influenced by negativity and dwelling on negative circumstances actually increases anxiety and stress. Watching less TV overall may end up being a good idea, not just for physical health but also mental and emotional health too.
While it may be easy to intellectualize the ideas behind concepts such as “pay it forward” (do a kind out for someone and ask them to do the same in return) and “ubuntu” (I am, therefore we are) and “mettā bhāvanā” (the cultivation of loving-kindness) it is worthwhile to do them with a focus on the feeling rather than analysis. Small acts of kindness (I like this video of young students defining kindness) impact both giver and receiver and in this way the exchange can be felt in our emotional bodies. Try going a week doing a small act of kindness to a stranger each day and watch how YOU begin to feel a greater sense of compassion for yourself and humanity.
I’m grateful for my four-year-old son who requires me to laugh everyday. Not only is it required, it’s forced upon me if I show the slightest resistance. And so the vast majority of the time I ultimately give in and share a deep belly laugh. But you don’t have to be taken advantage of by a kid to give yourself an excuse to laugh. Try googling “child laughter” or “happy kids” and browse the sites that come up. Look for something intentionally to lift your spirits and allow a moment of remembering what good there is in the world from a simple laugh.
Finally, this list on peace acts would not be complete without gratitude. This is one of the most powerful expressions in the world. To show appreciation for your life, your relationships and all the experiences that take place is truly an art. And like all artists, you have to practice. Gratitude is much more than “positive thinking,” it is a dynamic commitment to recognizing the elements of your life that are working for your good, eventually seeing that everything contributes to greater self-development and understanding.
So there you have it, my four tips on bringing more peace into your life.