5 Ways to Create More Peace in your life
This post was originally published in 2018.
I’ve always seen January as a time to slow down, reflect, and implement changes that will bring more ease and happiness into my life. It’s not always easy to make time, but I think it’s incredibly important. It reminds me of a quote from Shawn Achor, a happiness researcher. Yes, that’s actually his job, pretty cool, eh?
“Happiness is the joy we feel striving towards our potential”. – Shawn Achor
I don’t know about you, but when stress is replaced by peace, I feel a lot happier.
A few years ago we ditched the idea of New Year’s Resolutions and began choosing one word to focus on instead. Last year I chose the word “Calm” and even wrote about the mug that taught me a lesson. For me it’s all about choosing a word to will echo the feeling I crave most or feel is lacking.
That’s why I’ve chosen “Peace” as my 2018 word of the year. Sure it’s similar to the word I chose last year, but I’m excited to continue the journey of finding inner peace.
Did you pick a word of the year?
If you haven’t chosen a word but are thinking about trying this concept, be sure to check out these tips to avoid making the same mistakes I made.
5 Ways to Create More Peace in your life
Whether you chose “Peace” as your word of the year, or are simply looking for ways to bring more of it into your life, I hope these tips will help you along the way.
1. Clear the Clutter
Not gonna lie, I get a bit of a rush when I open up a cabinet and see everything is nice and organized inside… and a little bit of anxiety when things are shoved inside and practically falling out. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always prevent me from throwing things in a random drawer or cabinet when I’m feeling rushed or lazy.
Did you know clutter can create chaos and stress in your life, even if it’s hidden? I’m living proof of that and can say nothing feels better than purging crap I no longer need or use. I’m still a work in progress, but transitioning into RV life has certainly helped us cut down on the amount of “stuff” we store. We’re also more intentional with what we purchase or bring into our space. It’s about choosing better, not necessarily choosing more. So get rid of those clothes you haven’t worn in ages, expired spices or beauty products, random papers, old makeup, and anything else that’s no longer serving you.
Free up some space in your home, and you’ll free up some space mentally as well.
This year I plan to put in more effort to clear the clutter and keep it that way. Besides, it’s easier to keep things clean when you have less crap and randomness to worry about finding a place for.
I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up” before we hit the road in our RV and it helped tremendously when I had to figure out how to downsize from nearly 1800 square feet to less than 300. There’s a reason it’s still a number 1 bestseller, and if you’re looking for more guidance on how to clear the clutter I highly recommend checking it out.
Meditation has changed my life. Seriously.
While I dabbled in it here and there, I didn’t start meditating consistently until about 2 years ago. Not only has it helped me navigate through emotions and challenging situations, but it’s helped me be still and find peace. Eric and I have also learned to be less reactive and better communicators through meditation. Sure we still piss each other off at times (I did mention we live in less than 300 square feet, right?) but we both enjoy the benefits that come with meditation.
There’s no wrong way to meditate and no set amount of time you need to practice. I think it’s important to make time for ourselves, and meditation is exactly that.
If you’ve never meditated, don’t let that stop you from giving it a try. Spending 1-2 minutes slowly breathing in and out before you get out of bed, or while you sit at your desk can bring on the benefits. I’ll often do this while I stand in line at the grocery store. No need to stress about how long the line may or may not be taking, instead I see it as the perfect opportunity to slow down and be present.
You can sit, lay down, or walk as you meditate and can do it in silence or listen to a guided meditation. There are tons of styles so if one method isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to try something else. Besides, it can take practice to sit still and some days will be easier than others. Just keep at it and pretty soon you’ll realize all that crap you need to get to, can wait. Make time for yourself first, even if it’s just a few minutes.
While I try to bookend my days with meditation, it’s something I haven’t been super consistent with so I plan to focus on that this year. Some of my favorites come from Podcasts and Apps, such as the Calm app.
Wanna try a really quick meditation?
Put your left hand on your belly and your right hand on your heart. Close your eyes and slowly breathe in through your nose and out your mouth while silently repeating the mantra “All is well”. Do this for a minute and see how relaxed you feel. Don’t try to push away any thoughts that come up and instead acknowledge them and watch them pass, all while continuing to repeat the mantra, “All is well.”
I learned this from Louise Hay and was amazed at how putting my hands on my heart and stomach immediately made me feel safe, calm, and relaxed.
3. Get Outside
Some people think because we’re traveling in our RV we must spend every day hiking, exploring, and going on crazy adventures.
While this may be true for some RV’ers, the bulk of our days are spent inside the RV, working behind computer screens. We’ve traveled a lot in the past year and enjoyed some amazing hikes, parks, waterfalls, and sunsets, but are still trying to find balance. Our plan is to get outside even more in 2018.
Whether you find solace in the mountains, forest, ocean, desert, or walking around your neighborhood, it’s important to make time to step outside, away from technology, and enjoy the sounds of nature.
If you ask me, nothing beats a hike in the woods amongst majestic trees, but I can also appreciate taking McNally on a short walk around the RV park. Or taking an extra minute to enjoy my surroundings walking to the car before heading out to run errands.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in daily tasks and projects that we forget what a difference a short break outside can make. While spending an entire day out on a hike or relaxing at the beach can be amazing, don’t underestimate the power of 5 minutes. Chances are, you’ll get back feeling more rejuvenated, relaxed, and focused.
Nature is nourishment for my soul. I’m happiest outdoors and plan to create more time to enjoy it, even if it’s just outside the steps of our RV.
4. Gratitude Changes Everything
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what’s not going right in our lives, which means we’re focusing the majority of our attention on the negative. And all that does is create a breeding ground for more negative. Not fun.
I’ve found that by spending a few minutes a day reflecting on what I’m grateful for and what is going right in my life, I instantly feel more at ease. I do this before I get out of bed in the morning, and before I look at my phone. It doesn’t have to be anything big or crazy either, but can be the simplest thing like having running water, electricity, or a warm and cozy bed.
While I generally do this first thing in the morning and before I fall asleep, I especially benefit from doing it randomly throughout the day as soon as I feel anxiety or stress coming on.
You can keep a daily journal to jot down what you’re grateful for, think about it silently, or make it a game where you take turns to ask your spouse, friends, or kids.
When I was a little kid my brother and I would spend our summers visiting my dad in California. We would go camping, explore theme parks, hang out at the beach, visit family, go to the movies, and all sorts of fun summer activities.
At the end of each day, my dad would ask my brother and me to share 3 of our favorite things that happened that day. What’s funny is these are the moments I remember most and cherish. I remember looking forward to gathering around in our pajamas to reflect on what we enjoyed or appreciated that day. I didn’t think much of it then, but in a way, my dad was getting us to reflect on what we were grateful for, even if he didn’t know it.
This year Eric and I have decided to add a “Grateful Jar” as a New Year’s tradition, which I may have to eventually switch up to a “Grateful Box”. Each week we’ll jot down a few things we’re grateful for and what’s currently going right in our lives, and add it to the jar. At the end of the year, we’ll celebrate by reading through the notes and reflecting back on all that we appreciate.
I believe it’s equally important to feel the gratitude, and not just say it. By shifting your energy away from the negative and into the positive, you’ll instantly feel the tension melt away and be replaced with a sense of joy or peace.
5. Follow Your Bliss
Joseph Campbell knew what he was talking about when he said to follow your bliss. I’ve talked about the power of being in alignment with your passions in the past, especially in my free ebook, How Creating a Blog can Change Your Life. By listening to our inner guide and taking action on what brings meaning and joy into our lives, we open the door to happiness and peace.
Even spending a couple of hours a week doing something you love can make you happier and give you purpose, not to mention it will help those creative juices flow.
It’s easy to let fear get in the way of what we want to accomplish because we find comfort in doing what we’re familiar with or what we think others expect of us. Close your eyes and think of all the major events in your life. Were the decisions you made based out of love or fear? Were the decisions based on what you wanted to do, or what you thought was expected of you?
If you can follow your bliss, that which brings joy, meaning, and excitement in your life, you’ll soon discover those dreams you have are only being blocked by fear.
I’m still working on this but have decided this is the year I tell fear to take a hike, preferably on a different trail than the one we’re on.
I also believe when we fall off course and live on autopilot, our relationships and health can be affected.
This happened to me back in 2012 when I was diagnosed with CRPS. At the time I was spending all my energy working for someone else and forgot to pursue my own passions. I didn’t realize it then, but looking back I was no longer in alignment and was beginning to feel depressed. CRPS was a blessing in disguise because it woke me up and helped me find my creative groove.
“Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” -Joseph Campbell
I hope these tips help create more peace in your life. Let us know how you plan to bring more peace into your life in the comments below!