7 Ways to Find Inner Peace During Times of Uncertainty
Just a few weeks ago, I came and went as I pleased. If I wanted to spend the day browsing the spring collection at Nordstrom’s, I did it. If I wanted to meet a girlfriend for dinner and a movie, I did that too. No thought given, except where to go and what latest movie I wanted to see. That was then, and this is now.
Today, in light of COVID-19, people are afraid, anxious, and uncertain of the future. Here are seven ways you can find inner peace in the midst of these uncertain times:
1. Spend Time in Nature
Studies have shown that spending time in nature promotes mental and physical wellbeing. Some effects include reducing stress, anxiety and fatigue, and increasing creativity and positive emotions.
Nature is a beautiful reminder of the cycle of life. The night gives way to the morning, seasons come and go, and creatures big and small exist within a self-sufficient ecosystem. Nature teaches us that nothing lasts forever, and especially tough times.
In addition to decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression, meditation or mindfulness practices also enhance focus and memory skills. Studies found that meditation helps to reduce heart attacks, strokes, and death. If you do not meditate, try prayer, reflection or journaling as your calming practice.
About three years ago, I began a daily meditation practice. Prior to that I meditated only when I felt stressed. I thought, if it helps to calm me when I’m stressed, then why would I not meditate consistently. So I did. Now, meditation is a part of my morning routine. Through meditation, I’ve come to experience inner peace, clarity, acceptance, and self-compassion, just to mention a few psycho-social benefits.
3. Enjoy a Cup of Tea
Tea is rich in antioxidants, which calm the nerves, reduce anxiety and stress, and give mental clarity. Tea also reduces inflammation and boosts the immune system.
Generally, I am a coffee person. Aside from water, coffee is my morning beverage of choice. However, I can attest to the calming benefits of tea. When I’m stressed or not feeling well, I forego my usual cup of joe and instead opt for one of the aromatic herbal teas mixed with florals and fruits. Some of my favorites are Teavana’s loose-leaf Citrus Lavender Sage, and The Green Teahouse’s Peach Medley and Tangerine Ginger.
4. Spend time with people who make you happy
Being around people who make you happy increases the feel-good or “love” hormone, oxytocin, and reduces the stress hormone, cortisol. Simple, but powerful acts like calling mom, giving a hug and smiling can do wonders in reducing anxiety and rendering feelings of inner peace. It’s proven that spending time with your BFF has a calming effect. A study by Adams, Santo, & Bukowski (2011) found “the presence of a best friend buffers the effects of negative experiences.”
The time of COVID-19 and social distancing may hamper your ability to physically be with some of the people who make you happy, but this is where technology is your friend. Call, Skype or FaceTime your family and friends. I’m going to call my BFF today.
5. Take a Walk
Exercise is not only good for the body, it’s also good for the mind. Even a moderately paced walk alleviates tension and anxiety and increases the good endorphins, which boost energy levels and produce calm.
If you can’t take a walk, try deep breathing and upper body exercises. Studies found that increasing the flow of oxygen through the lungs can increase serotonin, which in turn can enhance feelings of satisfaction and wellbeing.
6. Be Kind
Even small gestures of kindness can lead to feelings of joy and peace. In the article, Three Steps Approach To Being Kind And Finding Inner Peace, blogger Prerna Sinha, writes, “Compassion is not luxury but is essential for our own mental stability, inner peace and is, in fact, vital for Human Survival.”
We are wired for kindness. That is abundantly clear during times of crisis than at any other time. Witnessing people come together to help one another is a beautiful thing. Small acts like smiling at another person, just because, giving a compliment, saying “thank you” and offering to order groceries for someone who is unable to leave the house are all acts of kindness that not only help the recipient but fill the giver with inner peace.
7. Listen to Positive Messages
Listening to affirmations and other positive messages can lead to a sense of balance and tranquility. During times of crisis, a swarm of negative messages abound. It’s important to limit exposure to news, conversations and people who feed off gloom and doom. Protect your inner peace by choosing to watch and listen to positive messages, messages of hope and inspiration.
In light of COVID-19, I recognize there is a need to stay informed. However, there is not a need to spend hours watching and listening to the same negative messages repeatedly throughout the day. Consume enough information to stay up-to-date, but then turn off the television, radio, or social media, so that fear and anxiety do not cripple your joy and sense of peace. Protect your peace.
My wish for you is that even during this time of uncertainty, you will find inner peace. May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.