No one can argue with the fact that we live in a time of conflict and tension.
And as much as you might like to think that you can distance yourself from it, there’s still the mental and emotional toll it has on you.
Things are rarely as bad as they seem, and I’d argue that very point about the state the world is in now, but it’s difficult to feel that way when every day brings a new headline filled with scandal, fear, hatred, or violence.
But finding peace is possible, even now, if you know where and how to look for it.
There might be much you can’t control about the world around you, but you can always control your own internal world and how you feel about it.
Here are three powerful practices for finding peace in turbulent times.
1. Just Being
Just Being is a practice about finding peace in the natural ebbs and flows of daily life. It’s a modification on typical meditation practices which, instead of concentrating on one point like the breath, is about allowing it to drift around as it will while maintaining awareness.
Allowing the natural world, and really anything around you, to pass through and around you grounds you in the peace of the present moment. It gives you a feeling of solidity, like you’re rooted to the ground around you.
If you’re not familiar with meditation, don’t worry, here are some basic instructions for practicing Just Being:
- Sit down on your porch, next to a window, or somewhere else where you can hear the sounds outside
- Allow your mind to settle for a few moments, then
- Turn your attention to what’s going on outside you. The sound of the passing cars. The feel of the wind on your face. The blue sky, a flower, a tree, or people rushing to and from. Take in everything, allowing yourself to be open to the entire experience, moving freely to and from each sensation.
- Now focus in on one of these sensations that is more pronounced to you, say the feeling of the wind on your face and hands. Concentrate on this feeling and stay aware of any thoughts, feelings and physical bodily sensations that arise.
- When you notice yourself having become distracted by a thought, feeling, or bodily sensation, acknowledge what it was that distracted you internally (“thought”, “anger”, “worry”) and turn your attention back to the external sensations around you
- Now relax your concentration once again and allow yourself to flow between these various sensations again for a few moments before finishing.
This practice helps you accept what comes to you in the present, conditioning you to find peace in the chaos. There is no holding on to, there is no letting go, there is just being.
2. Contemplate on the cyclical nature of history
This is a bit of a Stoic practice (I mean that in the best way), meaning it can appear glum, but it does so for the sake of positively altering your perspective, which has a lot of value.
Imagine the various civilizations of the world from past until present, their conflicts and struggles, and times of relative peace (even if you have to use a little imagination to fill in the holes of your knowledge). See that with every period of conflict there eventually follows a time of peace, prosperity, and progress.
Reflect on the impermanence of everything and the nature of that perpetual cycle of conflict and peace and find comfort in knowing that things are following a natural pattern. Find comfort in knowing that things will get better both in your life and in the world as a whole.
No one knows what tomorrow will bring and there’s no guarantee worse won’t happen before it gets better, but there’s comfort in knowing that things are always changing, especially when they’re bad.
3. Write a “good news” column
Search for positive news stories online and list out five of those stories at the end of each week in a journal along with some thoughts on each story.
Take a few minutes to reflect on the people in these stories doing good in the world and their efforts. See how they’re helping change the world for the better, even if it’s one person at a time, from stories of charity and philanthropy to kindness, compassion, and sacrifice.
This practice allows you to balance the scales of consumption that tend to be very lopsided in favor of negativity and conflict, helping you find peace through knowledge of the good deeds of others in chaotic, turbulent times.
2 more ways to destress and relax: