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Fr Paddy: What is peace of mind? Seven tips to help you achieve it

Peace of mind is a feeling of being safe or protected – it is the absence of worry.

It’s achieving a calm state of mind regardless of your situation and circumstances. The most important step to achieving peace is to acknowledge the fact that you have control over your mind, including your thoughts and how you respond to others.

If you refuse to take responsibility for your reactions to others then you will never live in peace.

However, when you accept that you are in control of how you respond to people and situations you can begin to make progress in this area instead of living controlled by things that are happening around you.

Here are 7 tips to help you stay focused in order to experience peace of mind:

1 – Nourish your Spirituality

Every person has spirituality. Whatever moves or expresses your spirit or inner energy is part of your spirituality. In some senses your spirituality is expressed in every aspect of your personal and public life.

It is part of who you are, woven into and expressed through every thought, feeling, and action. There are many definitions of spirituality. Any of them can be helpful in understanding this important yet mysterious part of life.

Ultimately, none of them captures the whole reality, but what becomes clear is that spirituality has these core elements. A nourished spirituality allows you to push out the worrying and nagging thoughts that creep into your mind.

It helps you to take control of anxiety and stress. This allows you to experience peace even if things in life aren’t perfect, and the physical benefits are numerous.

2 – Limit your use of Social Media

There are things that are good about social media, but there are also lots of studies that show the ways that it can be harmful to the mental health of its users.

The use of social media tends to cause us to compare the good, the bad, and the ugly of our lives with the highlight reel that friends and family are sharing. The messy parts of your life are never going to compare with the highlights that other people are sharing.

Therefore, if you are struggling with peace and constantly find yourself comparing yourself to others on social media it can be best to stay off the platforms. Social media is also a distraction.

It feeds our FOMO (fear of missing out) craving. With access to social media on our phones, it’s easy to be tempted into stopping what you are trying to work on or think about in order to “check” what’s going on with friends and family.

3 – Let go of the Past

Getting hung up on the things that have happened in the past make it difficult to stay focused on the present and the future.

Focusing our attention on things that we cannot change makes it difficult to maintain peace of mind. If there is something from the past that you can correct, then do it. Otherwise, it’s time to forgive others, forgive yourself, and move on.

4 – Don’t be easily offended

It is much easier to maintain peace of mind when you let things roll off your back. If you take offense at every little thing that other people do and say, you will remain in a constant state of frustration.

Your thoughts will feel out of control and you will quickly lose your peace. However, if you focus on believing the best in others you are shifting your thoughts which will make finding peace much easier.

5 – Choose your battles carefully

If you make it your personal mission to correct everyone who is doing something you don’t agree with you are going to live in a constant state of strife. And it will be near impossible to keep your mind focused on what you want to focus on.

Just like parents are taught to choose their battles with their children, you want to do the same thing with the people and situations you face daily.

For example, you might not agree with a conversation that is happening between your co-worker and your boss, but if you are not part of the conversation it’s best to stay out of it.

If you choose to involve yourself you could be putting yourself in a position of choosing sides, putting your job at risk, and adding stress that you don’t want in your life.

6 – Make time to Journal

Journaling is a great way to release those thoughts that are bogging down your mind. You can write out your stresses and worries and then once they are out of your head, release them altogether.

Some people like to rip up or burn the paper as a symbolic way of showing that they are letting go of those thoughts. Journaling also helps you to process through situations and see things in a different light. Take the time to write about your day, learn from it, and move on from it.

7 – Incorporate times of Silence and Solitude into your Schedule

Constantly being in the hustle and bustle of life is a sure-fire way to lose peace of mind and focus. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid people at all costs, however, taking time to get away from everyone else and be in total silence can help you to reconnect with yourself.

If you find that you have lost all peace, you might need to take a solitude retreat. You could get away for a weekend alone or simply an afternoon. Find a quiet place to retreat to.

Allow yourself to think about the thoughts that have been rolling around in your head. Then, decide how to deal with those thoughts. Allow yourself to recharge during this time.

Sometimes it can be difficult to realise what we are thinking and how those thoughts are impacting us. If you are struggling to obtain peace of mind you could benefit from a conversation with a local therapist.

They know the right questions to ask to help you get to the root of your struggle. Then, they can provide you with actionable steps to help you find and live in peace.

The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
Amen.

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Fr Paddy is a curate in the hugely vibrant Portlaoise Parish. From Carlow town, he was educated in Carlow CBS and studied Business and Politics in Trinity College Dublin before training to be a priest in Carlow College. He is the youngest priest in the Kildare & Leighlin diocese and writes for a number of media outlets. He has almost 14,000 followers on Twitter.