True happiness is… to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Do you know what peace really feels like? Have you ever been truly happy?
With so many companies promising the answers lie inside a bottle or piece of technology, it can be easy to lose sight of what happiness really means. Peace and happiness are not things that can be bought or found outside of ourselves.
Like all the best things in life they are free, but we may need to work for them – and they are only found within. Here are ten ways to experience more peace and cultivate your innate true happiness.
1. Apologize and Forgive
Holding grudges robs us of peace. Being accountable and releasing ourselves from past pain is essential for connecting to our inner happiness. Find the places within yourself where you hold resentment or a sense of being wronged. Acknowledge the validity of those feelings, and then allow them to move out of your body. Make amends with the people you have hurt. Let as much peace into you mind and life as possible by living in a state of forgiveness.
You cannot feel peaceful if you are always too busy doing to feel anything. Pause. Take a deep breath. Find moments throughout your day when you can be still, moments throughout your week when you can practice self-care. Meditate, walk, or stare at a blank wall, just something that lets your nervous system calm down and your body rest.
3. Be Grateful
Gratitude and peace are close companions. When we can be grateful for an experience we can experience peace, even if it is an uncomfortable situation or unfavorable outcome. Radical gratitude is essential for true happiness, helping us connect with our joy in every moment.
4. Go Outside
Nature has so much to teach us about peace, right timing, and enjoying the beauty of life. Make time to be in nature every week, even if it is just futzing in your garden or walking around a local park. Listen to the wind in the trees. Notice how the birds are always exactly in the right place and time, fully present to their tasks and their surroundings. Let the Earth show you what it means to be in a natural state of peace and happiness.
5. Go Inside
Take time to cultivate your inner garden, as well. This could be Yoga, Qigong, meditation, or knitting – anything that brings you more inside yourself. Turn off the TV and smartphone, let go of your obligations and to-do lists, and be with yourself for a while.
6. Know When to Stand Firm
Our world is in a radical state of flux, with disaster occurring in small and large ways every day. Sometimes being truly peaceful with ourselves means finding a way to be a positive force in the world. This is not about fighting or worrying, or getting overwhelmed by doomsday news reports. This is about doing what you can to create more peace and happiness in the world. Pick one cause that matters to you, and find a way to use your skills, intelligence, and other resources to support it.
7. Learn the Power of Surrender
Recognize that sometimes there is no winning. We do our best to live in integrity, but sometimes we make mistakes, we fail, or we are simply wrong about something. Let go of the need to be right in every discussion. Be okay with your imperfections. Some situations do require persevering through adversity. But at other times it might be wiser to stop hitting your head against a wall and give in.
8. Be the Love You Want to Feel
The happiest people in the world are the ones who have a supportive network of friends and family. To cultivate relationships, we must be willing to share ourselves. Make time for your loved ones. Reach out to people you care for without judgment or agenda, simply as an act of connection. Make growing your relationships a priority, and like a healthy garden they will nourish your spirit for years to come.
9. Be of Service
Whatever might be happening in your own life, giving to another is a powerful way to open to peace and happiness. It could be by volunteering at a local aid agency, making a meal for an elderly neighbor, or crafting a piece of jewelry for a friend’s birthday. What you give does not matter so much as that you give something from your heart.
10. Be Here Now
Peace only lives in the moment. Happiness is not some far-off land we will reach when everything is perfect; rather, happiness is available to us in every moment if we are paying attention. If you want to be truly peaceful and happy, you would be served by learning how to be truly present.
Cultivating inner peace and true happiness is a lifelong journey. Ultimately, only you can know how to find these experiences within yourself. But these tips can help you connect with the ease and joy that are your natural state.