“Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace.” ~Joan Borysenko
The very essence of life is filled with complexity, uncertainty, and chaotic energy and finding peace has never been more alluring, harder, and rewarding than it is right now! Humans are capricious creatures which are subjected to inescapable trauma and emotional damage which manifests through internal and external struggles. Christina Puchalski (2009) defines spirituality as an: “aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred”
Being ‘happy’ does not necessarily mean you have inner peace and vice versa. If you experience difficult situations, such as the loss of a loved one, you will not feel happy; however, you could still maintain inner peace. Beneath the exterior of your mien could lie a quiet stillness that acts independently of the tragic circumstance you find yourself apart of.
Some studies have found links between unresolved grief and cellular health. It is unclear why grief would trigger adverse effects at a cellular level; however, one theory indicates that a perpetually activated sympathetic nervous system can cause long term cellular damage. Heightened immune responses may be beneficial when facing a fight or flight situation, but not for everyday use as it enables cancerous cells to metastasize.
Amongst the chaos of life, if you can manage to grasp peaceful moments, you will reach a higher level of satisfaction. Similar to an ocean, when your mind is calm and at peace, there is no disturbance on the surface of the water and you can see the depths below; however, when you are operating ineffectively and your mind is full of disturbance it is easy to get carried out to sea, lost in a bombardment of waves. Meditation allows you to become aware of your emotional state and take the necessary steps to prevent burnout and emotional irrationality.
Rather than allowing yourself to be swallowed up into the chaos follow these three things:
- Focus on the important things
During chaos you are granted pictures of what’s truly important, what will make you the most satisfied; and ultimately fulfil your need for happiness. During this time connect with loved ones, make plans for the future, rekindle old bonds, or even focus on career goals. Just make sure what you focus on is important to you. For some, it could be adversity or challenges that you were not previously able to overcome, and for others, it becomes less about financial gain and more about the relationships, the family, and above all health.
- Become grateful
It is only when we are presented with a life-altering circumstance that we understand true humility. Life is often full of uncertainty and unpredictability. Given the up-down nature of life, it makes no sense to dwell on things you don’t have, but rather be grateful for the things you do have. When you appreciate the joy and happiness of life you begin to see how great your life is and understand the possibilities within yourself. Also, being appreciative and grateful means even the smallest things can have a positive impact.
- Start by Doing
You take control of your life bit-by-bit, once you start ‘doing’ things with your time instead of ‘wasting’ it. After taking control of your actions you begin to feel less anxious as you shape the fabric of your future. You get adrenaline jolts as you complete tasks linked to your goals. You also begin to understand that you are in control of both your thoughts and your actions. You generate positive energy as you propel yourself forward towards that business goal, travel plan, and any other goal you decide to set. The action towards these goals is what keeps us young in heart and mind.