Updated: Jul 4, 2019
“If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else.” - Marvin Gaye
To always feel at peace. Honestly, I don't think that's possible. But with the right helpers and action steps you can get pretty close to a balanced and blissful state.
In my experience happiness and peace rarely knock on your door and ask to be let in. You have to venture out and find them, within the crazy jungle of your mind. Today I want to share some of the things with you that help me center myself and be in the moment. These five things can bring you back to the NOW instantly and help you lower your anxiety levels.
Why am I writing about this?
I am almost 30 years old and I’m going through the cycle of feeling elated and then mad at the world quite frequently. I am not bipolar, at least not any more than most people. I have good and bad days. And I don’t think there should be only amazing days. But I think there’s a way to get through the not so great days more gracefully and with less anxiety and also, without guilt. I tend to feel anxious, unmotivated, less than and not enough. But the worst thing is, that once I get out of a “down phase” I start feeling guilty for not always being able to shake off my demons, for not being able to change my perspective immediately and therefore turn my emotions around. I’ve read many self help or spiritual books and while I learned a lot, they aren’t a magic cure to life’s up and downs. I realized how important self work really is, and now I love taking care of myself, physically and mentally.
I recently found that I don’t have to feel amazing all the time, and that it’s ok to have my downs. It’s all about recognizing the pattern and pulling yourself out of it a little faster than the last time.
These little action steps have helped me immensely in my life, and I’m hoping I can inspire you to try them and if nothing else, I hope I can make you feel understood. From human to human, we all have some sh** going on beneath the surface and if we don’t do the work to be the best version of ourselves, nobody else will get us there either.
Am I even qualified to write about this?
I’m not claiming to be a psychologist or an expert of any sorts. I am simply giving you a piece of my story and my experiences. What’s worked for me might work for you. And if it doesn’t, you might at least gain a new perspective and get to know yourself better.
These 5 things aren't magic, nor are they new, but they work. So let's get to it:
1. Check In With Your Feelings And Accept Them
This might sound contradictory to the whole point of this post, but this is the first and sometimes only necessary step to help you feel better. Remember: The goal isn’t to always be super happy. The goal is to feel at peace with yourself and with your current mood or circumstances, and to get rid of your frenemy “anxiety”, who tells you nothing is ever the way it should be or that nothing should be the way it is. Sometimes we are feeling off, without even realizing it. Sometimes we know we’re off, but we try so hard to feel happy, that we get even more frustrated. What’s helped me is to really experience what I’m feeling and to recognize whatever emotion is predominant at the moment. Then I can try to understand where that emotion or feeling is coming from. Sometimes it’s a seemingly small thing or trigger that got me there, and putting my finger on it helps me alleviate the weight on my chest. And even if you don’t know why you feel the way you feel, determining your state of mind can take away the immenseness of it.
The next and most important step is to simply accept that state you're in, knowing it will pass. Let yourself feel all of the grief, anger, sadness, confusion or whatever it is that's troubling you, and if you give yourself permission to do so, you can move through it and to the other side of it, sometimes within just a few seconds
2. Move Your Body, Feel Your Body
This doesn’t mean you have to do a killer workout, even though that wouldn’t hurt either. It can be really hard to get yourself to move and sweat when you’re in that unmotivated, blurry, self loathing or self pitying state. So just start small. Promise your body a small 20-30 minute walk/run/workout, and if you don’t start feeling better then, you can still go back to hiding under the covers or sitting on the couch or wherever your comfort zone is. But most likely you'll feel the opposite of that.
It’s long been proven that physical exercise produces endorphins, which are chemicals in our brain that act as natural painkillers and reduce stress. I rarely ever regret a workout or feel worse after getting my sweat on. On the contrary, I usually feel a whole lot better after doing so. So just do it. Don’t talk yourself out of it. Give yourself a countdown from five to one, put your exercise gear on and get moving. Thank me later.
3. Write A To Do List
Sometimes I get so worked up in my head about all the things I need to do. I get overwhelmed trying to organize everything in my head and I get stressed out about 20 things I haven’t done yet. It sounds trivial, but writing those things down on paper helps me feel organized and less anxious. That way I know I won’t forget them and I can let go of them momentarily and focus on one thing at a time.
Plus: Crossing things off the list or putting a little checkmark next to a task feels so rewarding and makes me feel accomplished.
4. Spend Time In Mother Nature
This can easily be combined with Nr. 2. Feed two birds with one scone.(This is the vegan version of the saying.) Looking down at the world from a mountain top can put everything in perspective, but is also really calming. So is going to the beach and listening to the waves crash in, putting your feet in the sand or simply walking on grass or taking some time to be in your garden, looking at the flowers, spending time in a forest or park. Not only will you produce Vitamin D, which lowers your blood pressure and elevates your mood, you’ll also be able to unplug from any stresses in your life and simply feel more grounded. Being in nature also lowers your cortisol (stress hormone) levels. It’s like nature brings you back to your true self and shifts your perspective, without even having to try. Only requirement: Don’t stare at your phone the whole time.
Other option: Spend time with your pet or with an animal. This can also be very grounding and is a good alternative on rainy days or when you simply don't have fast access to nature.
5. Clean Your Surroundings
This can also work as a little workout (Nr.2.) if you do a power cleaning. An organized and clean space around you will also help you feel more organized in your headspace. A good cleaning session can make you feel accomplished and if you put on some music while you get to work you might even enjoy yourself and have some fun. This is something you might not feel like doing, but once you get started it can catapult you out of the funk you’re in.
I hope these tipps will help you see the brighter sides of life when you need it. Most of all though I want you to know that it's okay to not feel okay all of the time. Be proud of yourself, you're human!
In my next blogpost I will share five things with you, that help me feel more at peace longterm.
I am super excited to share them with you, because they've changed my life, and will change yours if you apply them regularly. Not exaggerating here!
And last but not least, if you have any thoughts about this post, please leave me a comment below.
If you liked it and you think more people should read it please share it and come back for more articles. I am so happy you're here and that I get to write for you!