How to Find Peace of Mind in a Chaotic World
It's not about balancing your life, it's about balancing your mind despite the chaos. Brendon Burchard.
The idea of finding peace of mind in your life sounds simple enough.
Get a reasonably good job that offers you security, find a fantastic partner to settle down with, throw in a couple of kids, add a few treats here and there, and be happy forever.
What more could you possibly want out of life without being too selfish?
But, instead, the career that looks so perfect from the outside, bores you to tears after a few years.
Your partner no longer 'gets' you, and you're having petty arguments endlessly.
And keeping the roof over your head is like a mental ball and chain around you.
So when you see your friends' Facebook page, you're almost green with envy at how much better off they are.
You often wonder why the hell you even bothered to make decisions that lead you to where you are today.
Now you're just stressed out, pissed off, but it would be too much hassle to make changes.
And the data is against us, as a recent study, for example, revealed, that people's well-being was the lowest in their middle years. So statistically as we get older and face more daily stress, our level of peace is also going to nose-dive.
But you don't have to represent yet another depressing statistic. Even if you're sick of where you are now, it's never too late to turn things around.
Because even when the world around you is in chaos, with a bit of effort, you can engineer inner peace.
Signs of inner chaos
I probably don't have to spell out what a lack of inner peace looks like. But for comprehensiveness, let's see some of the different ways it can manifest.
- Directionless, feeling lost or numb
- Chronic worry which can lead to stress and burnout
- Feeling like a misfit, even somehow weird
- High expectations of self and others
- Restlessness, finding hard to relax and wind down
- Easily angered
- Being distracted by material phenomena
The 6 secrets of a peaceful mind
So how do we find that elusive calmness in spite of chaos in our daily lives?
Can it be done, or is it only for meditation junkies?
Here I share with you some ideas which helped me to go from being riddled with worry, to taking charge and responding more calmly to challenges.
Most people think they know themselves.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I'm not saying this because my self-knowledge is rounded, or I fancy myself better than others.
Not at all. After years on the personal development journey, I recognize just how little I know about myself, others and the world.
Although it is true, the more you learn about the inner workings of the mind, the more insights you're going to have into your fellow humans' psychology.
But this should not stop anyone from trying, right?
And realize there is no holy grail to get hold of, and you will never know everything.
Start where you are. Accept whatever happening right now is OK.
If you need help, ask for it.
And before we get too far ahead, the first step always is to acknowledge where you are and begin from there.
If it's clear you require therapy, jump into it. If you're knee high in debt – face that beast first.
Do make sure you take stock of your present situation, before making any big plans.
What you can do
- Recognize your filters and limiting beliefs
- Study psychology, personality types and personal development
Open-mindedness and curiosity
One of the reasons why people fail to reach a calm state of mind is because they firmly cling onto ideas, concepts, and demand that they are always right.
Consider this for a moment.
If you're going around ear-bashing people and obsessing over how things should be, is a good sign your mind is getting caught in vicious cycles of control.
A mind like that is not very forgiving or able to see things from others' viewpoint, which does not allow for much flexibility.
Be open to the idea that there are innumerable possibilities and interpretations exist and that neither is superior to another.
What you can do
- Become comfortable with uncertainty
- Stretch the possibilities: when confronting an issue, instead of reaching for the usual responses brainstorm unconventional solutions. Even if they seem complete nonsense, take them into consideration.
- Be curious: look upon the world with a sense of wonder, make an effort to notice something new around your each day.
Do what you love
In this fast-paced world of ours, there can be a temptation to do the easy things, including making a living.
Sometimes this turns into pursuing short-term benefits, like making a quick buck, not rocking the boat and to settle for a comfortable pay cheque.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was to do work that feels like play. Although I am still working towards it, the benefits of switching to this mindset are already apparent.
After years of unfulfilling work, anyone can get a bitter taste in their mouth.
If your job does not give you day-to-day satisfaction, you're eventually going to end up in misery. But if the work environment helps you to develop a strong career capital, it's worth bearing it.
What you can do
- Figure out your core values and strengths
- Wipe the slate clean and imagine you have no limit to what you can do and achieve
- Find what it is you'd enjoy doing long-term
- Make a plan of how to get there
- Make the transition
Cultivating your right side
There is a quick trick for silencing the inner chatter – get in touch with the right side of the brain.
The two hemispheres of our brain fulfill very different and highly complex thinking processes.
The left side tends to be the dominant one, where language skills, analysis, and speech reside. We can easily get into trouble when using too much logic and rationality, which tend to draw conclusions on limited information.
The right side, in contrast, is non-verbal and more holistic in nature. It perceives and puts things together and makes use of gut feeling.
Because they are so different in how they work, the two sides tend to interfere with one and other's processes. That's why it's hard to deeply look at something and talk at the same time for instance.
And that's why if you're able to focus on non-verbal functions, your inner critic will lose its power over time, and you will enjoy more peace of mind.
What you can do
- Learn to draw and paint
- Creative endeavours
- Music, dance
- Sharpen intuition
This idea may sound irrelevant, so let me explain.
I don't know if you've noticed but when you have physical clutter around you, it's not only difficult to find things, but as the piles are getting higher and deeper, it seems like your stress levels go up too.
For me at least, every time I sit down in a messy office, the image of the mess keeps popping up in my head, taking precious focus away from what's important.
It's the same with mental clutter too.
From being bombarded by adverts and bad news to all the subtle self-demeaning inner talk that won't leave you alone.
This is such a difficult one to overcome because there is so much pressure to buy into things and ideas that we don't need.
So what's the solution?
I think the following steps could be a manageable way to reach ultimate bliss.
What you can do
- Aim for a simple living space; clear out house, reduce possessions.
- Sweep the mind; depending on the stage you're in with your personal development, you may go for counseling, shadow work, and meditation. Reduce time spent on media, so that you're not bombarded by intentional negativity.
- Let go of toxic people. You need a clean environment, which also includes humans that pollute your sanity.
Learn not to give a fig
This is one my favorites, and in a sense is a good base for enabling all the previous points.
When we are too bothered about what people do, what the world is not giving us, there's a high chance we'll be going around with a sore head.
To undo this takes some practice, especially if you feel obliged to please.
But trust me, the sooner you stop caring about what doesn't serve you in the long run, the better your life will become.
Care about what matters to you, without harming others. It does not mean you'll become cold or heartless, and you'll help others by demonstrating healthy boundaries.
The quality of your life will immensely improve once you spend your resources only on what makes you happy.
What you can do
- Recognize the signs of pleasing behavior
- Drop attachments
- Accept that not everybody is going to like you
- Know that your worth is not determined by what others think of you
Are you willing to embrace peace?
One of the biggest mistakes I see myself and others make when things get tough is talking ourselves out of carrying on.
The secret is not trying to achieve everything at once.
You have time. After all, there's no deadline for a peaceful life.
Even though it sounds an abstract concept, I believe we can all create stillness within, regardless of what goes on around us.
Trust that you can make the necessary changes if you are patient and have a strategy in place.
Because the seed of calm is present in all of us. We just need to be willing to nurture it to maturity.
Image credit: Haoch Le Dinh