By Steve Mueller
Last Edit: February 3, 2020
The mind is like an ocean. For most people, the mind is constantly moving, just like water, without ever coming to a rest. It is stirred up by our restless and rushing thoughts, just like waves on the shore. Our desires and fears do not only disturb us, but they also prohibit us from finding peace of mind. Just like the wind, our thoughts and anxieties can lead to a stormy ocean, without allowing us to rest. The mind, however, in itself is neutral, just like water. If you are able to reduce the influence of your thoughts on your mind, you will create a calm sea. The following will show you the most powerful ways to find peace of mind—a mental state so calm and peaceful just like the water at the deepest ground of the ocean.
Our mental calmness depends highly on our ability to calm our thoughts. You won’t be able to calm the ocean by grasping the water in the hope that it won’t move. It simply does not work. Instead, it is necessary to address the root of the problem, which is the wind, or in our case our fears, desires, and thoughts. You will have to stop the impact of the wind on the ocean if you want a calm sea. We need to learn to control these emotions and thoughts so that our mental state is unaffected by it. For this to work properly we need to control and strengthen our attention.
What Is the Mental State Called Peace of Mind?
In general, the term ‘a peaceful mind’ is used to describe a mental state in which mental and emotional calmness prevail. It is a state where your mind is not stirred up by anxieties and worries. The mental activity is phased down so that quietness and calmness can be experienced. Instead of being troubled by the past or future your point of focus lies at this present moment, you’re living in the now.
The minute you stop overwhelming your mind with caring about what everyone else thinks, and start doing what you feel in your heart is right, is the minute you will finally feel freedom and peace of mind.
But how can we calm the ocean to invite mental calmness and peace of mind into our life? Even more importantly, how can we maintain a peaceful mind even in stressful and hectic situations or during times of great despair and difficulties?
How to Find Peace of Mind?
The following will present you the most effective and powerful ways to establish peace of mind. Some of it might be unconventional, but if you keep an open mind about it, your mental calmness will benefit greatly from it.
If you want to create the proper foundation to establish long-lasting peace of mind, then there’s no way around meditation. In fact, if someone were to ask me, “What is the most powerful way to create peace of mind?” I would recommend meditation without the shadow of a doubt. It is simply the most effective thing you can do.
With meditation, I mean in this context not a spiritual practice, but only a mindfulness practice so as to calm your mental activity down.
According to neuroscientists, the continued practice of meditation can effect beneficial changes in the physical structure of your brain. This re-shaping of the brain’s structure helps to activate the part of the nervous system that is responsible for rest, allowing us to better cope with stress. Furthermore, meditation reduces stress and strengthens your ability to sustain attention. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School also found that meditation can dramatically reduce anxiety. The study highlighted that 90% of the participants, who all suffered from clinical levels of anxiety, experienced significant reductions in their anxiety levels.
But how can you make use of meditation to find inner peace and harmony? All you need is 15-30 minutes a day for the following mindfulness meditation:
- Sit with eyes closed, either on a cushion or a chair
- Make sure your back is straight
- Focus your attention on your breathing
- Be aware of the breath as it goes in and out
- Redirect your focus back if your mind starts wandering
You can start with a relatively short period of only 10 minutes or so per day. Doing so will help you to get adjusted to this new exercise. You’ll also notice that after some time of regular practice it will become a lot easier for you to focus on your breathing activity.
2. Eliminate certain media distractions
Media consumption can cause great turbulence within our mind. These media distractions range from television, radio, newspapers and magazines to video games and music. They all have in common that certain types within these media categories can heavily affect your mental state in a negative way.
Take for instance an action thriller that you’re watching shortly before going to bed. You will notice that your mind is completely restless after the film has ended. It will spontaneously pick up random thoughts or ponder about the plot of the movie. There’s absolutely no peace of mind to be gained from watching such a movie. Watching television has also been linked to feelings of loneliness and depression by researchers from the University of Texas.
If you’re really serious about establishing inner harmony it’s important to avoid certain media distractions at any costs:
- Avoid certain types of movies, i.e. horror, thriller, etc.
- Reduce television time, or stop watching TV entirely, for the greatest benefits
- Avoid the news on TV or in the newspaper, 90% of it is negative anyways
- Stay away from aggressive music
- Stop playing video games
As we are already on the subject, the following should also be avoided:
- Avoid being dragged into heavily emotional discussions about recent political and societal developments. Discussing it will not solve the problem, but it will heavily affect your ability to find peace of mind
- Stay away from negative people and negative conversations
- Learn to accept the things that cannot be changed. Worrying about it or even getting upset about it will do nothing to solve the issue, but it will waste your precious time and energy.
The above-mentioned tactics to maintain inner harmony are only recommendations. If you are willing to avoid these distractions your mental state will greatly benefit from it.
3. Learn to forgive
Far too often we hold grudges. This emotional baggage accumulates over time and becomes a heavy burden that we carry on our shoulders wherever we go.
It is important to realize that we cannot make the things that happened undone. Holding on to your anger will only burn you from the inside, not to mention the fact that it will prohibit you from ever finding peace of mind. For this reason, it is so important to learn to forgive another.
Forgiveness is crucial to maintaining inner harmony. It will help you to let go of anger and inner turmoil. Being able to forgive will help you to let go of the pain. Plus, scientists have shown that forgiveness facilitates forgetting, an important skill when you want to establish inner harmony.
4. Let go of the past
The past haunts every one of us from time to time. Thinking about everything that happened and the mistakes you’ve made in the past over and over again will cause great turmoil within your mind. For this very reason, it is so important not to dwell on the past. You cannot change the past. However, you always have the chance to change your situation in this present moment.
Let bygones be gone. Learn to avoid the evocation of heavily emotional and unpleasant memories of the past. Try to focus your attention on the present situation.
5. Cultivate patience and tolerance
Many times daily we encounter people who do things that we do not approve of. In almost all cases we get so fed up with their behavior that it causes a great and angry storm within our mind.
Learn to be patient and tolerant of these people. As long as they don’t hurt anybody else it shouldn’t affect your mental well-being. Don’t allow these clowns to get more attention than they deserve. Most likely you won’t be able to change them anyways, so why allow them to disrupt your peace of mind.
6. Cultivate a certain level of detachment
A certain degree of mental and emotional detachment can be of the greatest importance when it comes to establishing inner peace and harmony.
You’ll notice that there are so many people who get easily offended even by the slightest stimuli. They start complaining about the most ridiculous things, write angry letters or let off steam on Internet forums. Don’t be one of them. Learn the important skill of not being offended by everything and everyone.
A great level of inner calmness can be attained by detaching yourself from things that are simply not worth your attention.
7. Take a walk
Go out in nature and take a walk through your nearest park. The sensation of walking through nature will not only ground you, but it will also help you to calm your mind down. Taking a walk is highly effective, but most people sadly seem to have forgotten its benefits.
8. Volunteer your time
Helping someone else can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. Knowing that you’ve made someone’s life worth living will give you not only an incredible boost, but it will also help you to find inner harmony and peace. In fact, scientific research has shown that volunteering has a great impact on your psychological well-being and your health.
9. Don’t worry about what others are thinking
Another source for mental restlessness can be the fear of other people’s judgment. It might even haunt us so much that we do things we’d rather not do, just to please someone else. However, it is nearly impossible to be everybody’s darling. In fact, you cannot change the way people think about you. So why bothering about it?
Shall we try to draw the quintessence from the advice given in the above? Let's try to summarize it with a couple of sentences:
Peace of mind can be established by cultivating the skill of not being affected by your thoughts and your worries. This skill can be developed for instance through mindfulness meditation but also other activities that strengthen your ability to focus. It is also important to learn to let go of the past, to forgive others and to develop a certain degree of detachment in order to create the necessary foundation for inner harmony and peace.