Three Ways To Develop Inner Peace
In these crazy times of stress and hurry, wars, poverty, hunger, homelessness and suffering, we can all feel anxious and uptight at times. If our stress levels remain high over long periods of time, our adrenals can burn out and adrenal exhaustion can ensue. This can be a contributing factor in many types of diseases, up to 90% of all diseases according to experts. Anything from heart disease, high blood pressure, to chronic fatigue, arthritis, tension headaches, migraines and even cancer can all be exacerbated by chronic stress. Developing inner peace is not just a nice way to pamper yourself. It is a vital part of a healthy life style, and there is plenty of evidence to back this up. Inner peace is possible, you don’t have to run around like a chicken with your head cut off, crazed and exhausted. Here are some strategies, which, when practiced consistently, have been found to positively impact inner well-being.
There are many different ways to meditate. One simple way is to focus on the breath. Science shows that the regular practice of meditation calms the mind, reduces stress, increases happiness levels, and feelings of contentment and inner calm. Practicing daily over time trains your brain to behave consistently in a way that brings you more peace and calm. If you can commit to 20 minutes a day, you will start to reap the benefits after just a few weeks of practice.
- You can start by sitting with your feet flat on the floor and your spine upright.
- Roll your shoulders up and back and down.
- Close your eyes.
- Focus on your breath, without judgment; there is no right or wrong.
- Focus on the cool air as it comes in through your nostrils and the warm air as it leaves your nostrils. The in breath. And the outbreath.
Try this for a few minutes. Gradually you can increase your practice. Daily consistency is key. Try to practice at the same time each day and in the same place. If you can make yourself a “sacred space” where you can return to each time, your brain can associate that with becoming calm.
Another way to find inner calm is through the practice of yoga. Studies show that yoga literally changes your physiology in as little as ten minutes. A report at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) 2015 linked yoga to reduced levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. In the study of 52 women, ages 25 to 45, who had mild anxiety, moderate depression or high stress, those who did yoga twice a week felt better, looked better (they even managed to reduce their weight), and had less anxiety.
- Nature Bathing
In Japan, nature bathing is a thing. People go out to be in nature, to walk about slowly, breathe deeply and to open all their senses to the experience of being “bathed in nature.” This is different form a regular hike that aims to accelerate the heart rate and has a known beginning and end point. Forest bathing is more about meandering around at leisure in nature. Science has shown that among its numerous benefits, stress is reduced and inner calm prevails. These three tried and tested methods can literally transform your world from one of stress and overwhelm to one of managed, steady, peaceful days where awareness of the present moment becomes the norm and focus on the task at hand takes precedence over a previously busy and scattered mind. Whether you choose meditation, yoga, nature bathing, or perhaps all three, it is a consistent daily practice, even if only for a few minutes, that makes a difference over time. Your inner peace will also transform the outer world you live in and you will find that everything around you will also be calmer.