I look forward to bedtime every night. It is not so much the sleep I look forward to, it is the few quiet moments just before I fall asleep. This short period of time is peace. It is the only time my overactive brain quiets down, my body is still and my obligations are done for the night. Peace.
Our culture leads us to believe that excessive busyness and an over-committed schedule is a sign of success. I once dream of a schedule so packed that not one more commitment could possibly fit. Be careful what you wish for.
I have learned the hard way that a life that is lead on the edge of hyper-commitment and toppling piles of to-dos can threaten one’s well-being. This, I believe, applies both to a person’s physical and mental well-being.
I often joke about running away, or better yet, having myself kidnapped to find peace. Unfortunately, being a responsible adult, running away is most likely more stressful than peaceful.
So how do we include peace into our busy lives, when our lives are too busy to live?
1. Try taking just a moment and focus on the sounds around you. By focusing on the sounds around us it gives our brain a chance to “relax and break “ from the incessant thinking that goes on all day.
2. Visualize a peaceful place and picture yourself there. Notice the surroundings of this “happy” place and focus on how it feels to be there.
3. Although its hard to be grateful while throwing a personal pity party, by focusing on the positive things that surround us we can appreciate where we are in that moment and feel better about it.
4. Just breathe. Focusing on your breath by counting or listening has been used to calm the mind for centuries.
5. Use your affirmations. Find a statement that feels right to you. I borrowed my favorite from Eat, Pray, Love (the book, not the movie). When I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed with life, I repeat, “I will not harbor negative thoughts.” I picture them drifting away into the sea and focus on the task at hand.
We all deserve peace in our lives. We can’t always make our busy days less hectic, but by finding ways to be peaceful our outlook is changed and the world seems easier to handle.