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Last Updated on January 14, 2021

How to Find Inner Peace and Lasting Happiness

How to Find Inner Peace and Lasting Happiness

When in conversations about finding inner peace and lasting happiness, everyone seems to have a definition or ideology about the topic.

Some of these definitions are correct or at least point us in the right direction but a couple of others are just misconceptions.

Peace, as you rightly believe, is the absence of fear and pandemonium but that doesn’t mean that fun doesn’t exist where peace is. This is what some people picture inner peace as. No fun, no pleasure, just plain boring. But is that true?

In this article, you will learn how to find inner peace and happiness.

What Is Inner Peace and Happiness?

As Wikipedia puts it,[1]

“Inner peace refers to a deliberate state of psychological or spiritual calm despite the potential presence of stressors. Peace of mind is thus, generally associated with bliss, happiness, and contentment.”

The first line says, “Despite the potential presence of stressors.” Do you realize that it doesn’t say “in the absence of stressors?” This goes on to suggest that inner peace doesn’t take away your problems. It doesn’t take away national issues that affect you either or just instantly solve all the jigsaws in your life.

Note again that it doesn’t just say “stressors” but “potential stressors.” What does that mean?

Everyone knows that life isn’t a bed of roses so even if anyone happens to be lying on the side with an abundance of roses, there is this constant thought of “what if?” What if I lose everything tomorrow? What if someone I love dies tomorrow? What if I fail my finals? What if I lose my job?

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As much as you try to ignore these thoughts, you can’t deny their presence or stop them from coming. So what’s the point of the whole inner peace thingy? It makes you calm even when these thoughts abound.

The literal meaning of inner peace is, “a state of mind where calmness and satisfaction exist with all other unwanted factors being constant.”

This brings leads to the definition of lasting happiness.

People say that happiness depends on happenings which means that bad events take away our happiness. In reality, bad events tamper with our minds but this is where peace of mind comes to play.

When inner peace exists, it does so with happiness so when these so-called bad events come around, the worst they can do is make you sober and more reflective. Your mind remains at peace.

    What Does It Mean to Have Inner Peace and Lasting Happiness?

    Knowing what inner peace and happiness mean is quite different from having it. Ironically, many people know about this concept and can even teach it but nothing about their lives depicts it.

    You may have seen people who always appear happy and lively no matter what happens and you just keep wondering if they live on the same planet as you do. Probability is that they have mastered the art of finding and keeping their inner peace. You heard that right: they have mastered the art.

    Finding inner peace is not enough. The topping is keeping it.

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    Look at it as a messy room – our minds can rightly be likened to a room. You eat, sleep and work in that room and with all the activities going on, you barely have time to clean it up. You keep postponing clean up time until one day you decide to do it. It feels like a brand new house. The next day, you go back to eating and throwing trash in the same place and one week later, you are back to square one.

    Cleaning is an art and so is the concept of inner peace. It is something you learn and re-learn all the days of your life. The day you stop the practice, your mind begins to go back to being occupied with unnecessary stuff that makes it very unattractive.

    When your peace or happiness is threatened, the first thing that comes to mind is “find a quick fix.” Sadly, this quick fix doesn’t even lead you to talk it out with people who could help but instead, you take to Netflix, ice cream, binge-eating, and binge-watching or drinking all night. By morning, you get sober and the feeling of sadness and emptiness dawns on you again but this time, heavier…

    This keeps you moving in the same cycle; hence the increasing number of health-related cases globally.

    One thing we fail to realize at that moment is that all those solutions are fleeting and that is the distinguishing factor between all of them and inner peace.

    Inner peace is not a quick fix. It takes years of mind-conditioning but the results are always glaring and cannot be ignored.

      Why Is Inner Peace Important?

      Inner peace is important for the following reasons:

      • You begin to see and appreciate all the little things you never thought were important like the ability to walk, eat, breathe, having a roof over your head and even the sun that never fails to rise.
      • It teaches you to be patient because, at the end of the day, we’d all be on the same day. Nobody has ever hurried into the next day.
      • You learn how to maximize every single moment knowing fully well that we would all leave this world someday.
      • It teaches you to take things one step at a time. We all tell ourselves that phrase especially when we find ourselves in a mess but we never really actualize it until we find inner peace.
      • You would begin to see drastic changes in your health and wellness. Food and alcohol are no longer an escape route because you realize that there is really no escape from this life.
      • Your relationships and friendships take a positive turn because you have learned to appreciate every moment you have with the ones you love.
      • As your health improves, you will also notice that you stop aging so fast. In other words, peace of mind is an anti-aging factor.
      • You steadily gain control over aspects of life that you can control. Habits and lifestyles are some of the things you can control and the realization of inner peace help you handle those aspects well.
      • You feel more confident to take on challenges and tasks you would ordinarily shy away from.
      • You would be able to handle losses and other unfortunate events gracefully and not pretending to be handling them well.

      How to Find Your Inner Peace and Happiness

      Like many other concepts, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to finding inner peace. However, all of the points provided here would prove effective in your journey to finding it. Use these steps to find inner peace:

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      1. Declutter Your “Room”

      As mentioned earlier, your mind can be likened to a room. When that room is occupied with thoughts of “what if” and “how not” plus work issues and family matters, there is no way you’d have enough space to do other things.

      This would take lots of practice and patience with oneself because you can’t just tell yourself, “Hey, stop thinking” and boom! You just stop. You have to consciously remind yourself to not overthink things and only take what you can handle.

      Even the bravest people break down, so take some time to clear your mind of unimportant matters. You need that space.

      2. Take Responsibility for Your Actions

      It takes a whole level of maturity to take responsibility for your actions, especially when it’s something you’re not proud of but to find your inner peace, you have to accept your faults and all.

      3. Accept the Fact That You Are Human

      Alongside taking responsibility for your actions, realize that you do not have control over everything. You’re human and there’s only so much you can do about anything.

      When you finally come to terms with this, you would stop blaming yourself for stuff that you did not cause and could not prevent.

      4. Your Issues Don’t Define You

      When facing a long term illness or disability or going through a series of tragic experiences, many are tempted to look at themselves through the eyes of their experiences (which is no surprise when others do the same). You are NOT your issues.

      Yes, you may have anemia or have lost someone but that is only a minute part of your life. It doesn’t entail your whole life and it certainly doesn’t describe you.

      Constantly remind yourself of this and watch people change their perception about you as well.

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        5. Set Boundaries for Yourself

        We all like to be free and do whatever it is that we dream of, so boundaries may sometimes look like our enemies but they aren’t. Instead, boundaries help us stay in check and be in charge. Therefore, the sooner you start setting boundaries, the better.

        Some of the boundaries you should set include social media time, talk time, TV time and work time.

        6. Take a Break

        If you struggle to take breaks, then you are the one person who needs it the most. Even phones and laptops begin to overheat and lag when they are used for long periods at a stretch.

        It’s okay to put your life on hold for the world. Go on a vacation. Travel the world. Visit a park.

        7. Be Early

        This may not sound like an “inner peace hack” (because there’s no hack to this thing) but it does help with keeping your inner peace.

        Have you noticed how confused and disorganized you get when you’re running late for an event? You just get tensed and worked up trying to figure out things if any goes wrong.

        So, when you have to be at an event try to get there at least fifteen minutes before the time. You would notice how calm you’d be even if anything goes wrong because there would be a few minutes to sort it out.

        Final Thoughts

        Once again, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to finding your inner peace, so these steps may not be exactly what you expect.

        The good news, though, is that these steps provide the basic foundation you need to find it. As you work on these, you will begin to find out other things you need to start or get rid of to hit that climax of inner peace and lasting happiness.

        More to Calm Your Mind

        Featured photo credit: Fabrizio Verrecchia via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Wikipedia: inner peace

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        Jacqueline T. Hill

        Writing, Blogging, and Educating To Guide Others Into Happiness

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        Last Updated on January 15, 2021

        7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

        7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

        The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

        Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

        Posture

        First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

        • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
        • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
        • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
        • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

        All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

        Facial Expressions

        Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

        • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
        • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
        • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

        If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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        1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

        A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

        The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

        This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

        2. Relax Your Face

        New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

        The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

        To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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        3. Improve Your Eye Contact

        Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

        The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

        To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

        3. Smile More

        There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

        Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

        4. Hand Gestures

        Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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        It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

        5. Enhance Your Handshake

        In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

        “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

        It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

        6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

        As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

        Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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        Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

        Final Takeaways

        Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

        If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

        More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

        Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

        Reference

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