When we’re dealing with circumstances outside of our control, we never feel just one way.
It’s normal to feel a mix of emotions. We’re angry, sad, and bewildered. All these emotions warring within us can leave us feeling conflicted.
What do you do with these emotions? How do you get your peace of mind back?
The following strategies help me find peace and comfort during these challenging times:
1. Make time for meditation.
Loving-kindness meditation has been a staple of my life for years now. It’s time to recenter myself and come back to my basic truth. When things are uncertain or stressful, meditation helps me focus on my purpose.
Meditation also cuts through all the petty grievances and self-doubt. When you make it a habit to meditate and dwell on loving-kindness, it eventually starts to stick. At first, you may feel silly. But with time, it gets easier. When I first started, I went through the motions. I did what I was instructed to do, but it was a while before I felt the love and kindness. When you find yourself being drawn into petty grievances, you can return to your meditation and anchor yourself in loving-kindness.
2. Do something that sparks joy.
For me, food is love. Preparing food for myself or those I care about is the ultimate act of love. It’s a way to nourish my body and comfort my soul. Even when I’m ill or not feeling myself, cooking brings me joy. Cooking is a source of pride for me, too. I learned to cook by watching our Italian housekeeper. Over time, I learned that the meals I prepared brought joy to those around me, too. Sharing your talents with others brings you joy and often a sense of accomplishment.
3. Reconnect with nature.
Many creative types are introverts. And, there’s a balance that all naturally introverted individuals have to keep. We need time alone, but too much time alone can be detrimental. When we spend too much time by ourselves, we get too stuck in our heads. And this often disconnects us from our hearts, so that we get depressed.
Whenever I’m feeling isolated or disconnected, getting out into nature helps me. Getting outdoors lets us appreciate the beauty of our world and remember our place in it. When I stand under a tall oak tree, I feel both insignificant and important—because that tree breathes the same air as I do, yet it’s been here longer than I have. And, unless it’s cut or struck down, it will be there long after I’m gone.
4. Make a difference.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Yes, it is love that will save our world and our civilization, love even for enemies.” He and others like him set examples of self-sacrifice, forgiveness, and love.
If you only focus on yourself and your problems, you only see your problems. But if you can expand your heart and see others’ suffering, your problems are suddenly less. When we help others and make a difference, we can better weather our adversities. Volunteering or speaking out against injustice strengthens our hearts and our endurance. When we’re doing something productive for the benefit of others, we’re truly practicing loving-kindness.
What strategies have helped you achieve peace of mind during difficult times? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you!