Have you ever tuned out of a conversation because you’re more involved in the discussion going on in your head? Did you find yourself getting irritated at the person droning on because it’s distracting you from that argument raging within you?
You’re not alone in feeling as though your inner dialogue is chaotic and you’re miles away from building inner peace. The reality of the matter is the majority of people are fueled by the voice in their head. That nonstop stream of thoughts, of mainly negative thoughts!
Why are we so overrun with negative thoughts?
It seems that the most negative thoughts come through loud and clear, while the positive ones whisper too quietly to be recognized. As a consequence, you’re overrun with negative emotions, busy overthinking as you try to juggle your hectic schedule, and all the other stress life has landed on your doorstep.
This inner dialogue is often humiliating, panicky, and defeatist. It wants to tear you down and make you suffer. If you allow it, this internal dialogue drives your life, and where do you think you are going when you are driven by chaos and negativity?
Where does that loud voice come from?
It’s built up from birth. You pick up the tones of a teacher, the exasperated chiding from an angry parent, or the put-downs of an unkind elder sibling. All these external influences shape your inner dialogue.
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We absorb the negativity and allow it to take a prominent position and completely drown out the positive voices that try to whisper in our ears. This is especially true when it is an authority figure who repeats this message, and it becomes embedded in your inner dialogue.
Why our minds are programmed to find trouble
Another reason is that our minds are programmed to find trouble. In fact, research shows that about 80 percent of our thoughts have some degree of negative content. It’s evolutionary; this trait helped our ancestors detect and deal with danger before anything bad could happen.
Nowadays, however, we absorb way too much information. Our minds can find a myriad of horrible dangers at any moment if we let it. We all know how draining it can be – life is overwhelming! Sometimes it seems hopeless. Sometimes you feel helpless. Sometimes it seems as though inner peace is an impossibility.
Positive Affirmations can make things even worse
Believe it or not, you won’t build inner peace if you try to get rid, avoid or change your thoughts. No, relying on positive affirmations won’t help you either. Positive affirmations are just another control strategy that might get you some short-term gain, but this won’t last.
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Worse, once the positive effect wears off, you will try again to change your thought process by using positive affirmations, but with the same unsatisfactory result. And if you do this over and over again, you will end up in a negative feedback loop that will cause you more problems than before.
Get out of your mind and increase your awareness
Instead, what really helps you is to notice and accept your thoughts. Then you can see them for what they are; only words or images in your head, which can only be harmful to you if your get all caught up in them.
This realization creates a little space between you and your thoughts and allows you to let them come and go—as if they were just clouds, passing by in the sky.
An excellent way to do this is to get out of your mind and increase your awareness of the present moment. If you can learn how to shift your focus rather than diving deep into your own head, you will find inner peace as you’ve never known.
In the following, you’ll find ten great practices to turn inner peace into a habit. If applied regularly, they’ll become another part of your day. Except this is one you’ll look forward to because with it comes inner peace, also known as serenity.
Mindfulness is not the same as meditation, though it’s possible to practice mindful meditation. When you’re mindful, you’re fully present. You become completely aware of your sense of smell, touch, taste, hearing, and sight.
So mindfulness does not merely take place in our head. It is a practice that brings you out of your head, mind, and body to take you into the moment.
To find true serenity, you need to be mindful of your emotions, actions, and thoughts. Be conscious about what you say, how you act, how you feel, and what you think. Self-observation will help you understand yourself better. Pay attention to your intentions and be willing to get to know yourself on a deeper level.
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You can practice mindfulness when you eat, when you listen to music, or when you take a hike. It’s simply about engaging all of your senses to push everything else out of your mind. There is less time to worry when you’re focusing on the reality; you’re living in instead of thinking about what-ifs.
Compassion is something that you should extend to others as well as to yourself. Many people are able to feel compassion for others, but find it difficult to feel the same compassion for themselves. Judge yourself less and be kind to yourself. Forgive, practice compassion, and move forward.
That is what it means to live a serene life and be serene.
This is my favorite! Practicing acceptance is a great way to experience constant serenity in daily life. By accepting the curve balls that life can throw at you, you will no longer be bothered by things as much as in the past.
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If you accept uncertainty and understand that you cannot predict the future or change the past, you can feel present in the moment and let go of worrisome mind wandering. When you find a sense of acceptance for what is and what will be, you can be more aware of the present moment and focused on what lies ahead while feeling calm and unconcerned.
4. Release Control
There is only one thing you have control over in this world, and it’s your behavior. That’s it – not external circumstances, not other people. Even your own emotions and thoughts are often difficult to control.
The only thing you truly control is how you respond. It is far more beneficial to your inner peace and happiness to recognize, understand, and remember this. The best thing you can do is let go and focus on your response.
5. Unconditional Living
Does your mood depend on the conditions in your environment? Your mood is high as you walk into work because you caught every green light on your commute. Your mood is low as you walk into work because you caught every red light on your commute. Your children misbehaved, and it tipped you over the edge.
Do you see the problem? You’re allowing yourself to live conditionally. You are being led by your environment and the behavior of others.
What does it all mean? If you want to find inner peace, you have to stop expending your emotional energy on the conditions around you. Unconditional living simply means that you won’t let the conditions of your life influence how you feel.
6. Directed Focus
This is perhaps the most powerful aspect of turning inner peace into a habit. Think of focus as a gift from the universe. It’s something that will help build your appreciation of it, considering how often you need to focus.
This walks hand-in-hand with the previous point. When you choose to live unconditionally, you are shifting your focus from circumstance to self. While you will still be aware of what’s going on around you, you aren’t going to focus on all of that noise. You’re only going to focus on creating the reality you want to live in.
7. Don’t People Please
There are two reasons we tend to go out of our way to please others. The first is that we get satisfaction from being helpful. It gives you a little buzz.
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The second is we are too scared to say no and disappoint someone. The truth of the matter, though, is that people-pleasing just causes resentment, it stresses you out, and you get so busy pouring everything out into others you forget to refill your cup.
You can still help others, but don’t break yourself at the expense of others.
Your ego can create havoc. It’s always trying to prove you’re better than everyone else. It judges, it compares, and it’s exhausting. Try to pay more attention to it in action. You will see a difference between what you really want to do versus what your ego suggests you do.
Are you chasing a goal or a dream because it’s what you want or because it feels like it’s what you should want? The latter isn’t going to help you find serenity.
9. Let Go
The anger and resentment you carry with you make life heavy. You are going to experience disappointment because people will always let you down. It’s natural. You can’t influence the hurt they cause; you can only influence your response to the pain they cause.
It’s time to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume the hurt is misguided versus intentional. It’s an essential aspect of finding serenity.
If you look around your room and see a mess of clothes and other objects, it can easily be that you feel overwhelmed and stressed. This stress will probably accompany you for the rest of the day and cause you to not perform at your best.
By reducing the clutter and keeping your surroundings free of distractions, you will feel relaxed and a sense of serenity. By changing the things in your environment that are in your control, you will feel more comfortable in your surroundings and be able to shift your focus inwardly.
The road that you walk to find inner peace will be an exciting journey. You will uncover many truths about yourself, as well as finding out how to handle stressful situations that life throws at you.
But remember, the only way to counter this chaotic inner dialogue is by noticing and accepting your thoughts and then changing your behavior. This is an active task that you need to approach with intention. If you set about intentionally changing how you behave and speak to yourself, your inner peace can build up. And soon you will notice a change in your self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth.