Yesterday was International Day of Peace, sanctioned by none other than The United Nations Association (UN) itself. The purpose of the annual observance this year is to be “inspired to think creatively and collectively about how to help everyone recover better, how to build resilience, and how to transform our world into one that is more equal, more just, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and healthier.”
Well, we have a suggestion.
On airplanes, they tell you to put on your own mask before helping others. Well, we believe that everyone has to make an effort to heal themselves before they focus on helping and healing others. While the UN observance deals with peace on a global scale, we believe that world peace starts with individual inner peace.
If you find your own inner peace, you’ll have more to give to others. You’ll be more tolerant, patient, giving, and kind. Imagine how much better the world would be if everyone in the world got a dose of inner peace. Unfortunately, you can’t control anyone other than yourself…so it starts with you.
Here are three mindfulness exercises you can do to find inner peace:
Coffee Exercise: This exercise will rely primarily on your sense of smell, taste, and touch. We’ve called it the coffee exercise (because coffee is life), but you can use any beverage you’d like, or even a favorite snack! Grab your food/beverage of choice and take 5 minutes to close your eyes and savor the texture, smell, and tasting notes of your treat. If your thoughts start to drift, use the taste or feel of the item to anchor you. This exercise can help with eating more mindfully (which helps prevent overeating) and/or can create a moment of peace that will ground you and help combat anxiety and stress.
Body Scan Exercise: Your “anchor” (thing you focus on when your thoughts start to drift) for this exercise is your breath. While focusing on your breath, start at your toes and tune in to how each part of your body feels until you reach your head. This exercise can help refocus your mind and also serves to calm down negative thoughts.
Tune Into Surroundings Exercise: This one relies on your eyesight, and therefore can truly be done anywhere, since you don’t even have to close your eyes! You can choose to bring your attention to a sound, a sight, or even your breath as you examine your surroundings in detail. This exercise can also help bring you back to the present moment and help you process overwhelming feelings, or simply help you refocus on your current task.
This week put a little extra energy into finding a moment of calm for yourself. Find peace by staying present and not being anxious about the future or regretting the past. Simply be fully present wherever you are, and then see if you can help someone else do the same.