Look, I’ve had some serious bouts of anxiety and depression over the years. All I wanted in those difficult moments was to find some inner-peace.
That’s why I started meditating. But here’s the thing – it doesn’t always work!
Plus, it often takes months and even years of practice to start to see a real difference.
But when you’re a mess, you can’t afford to wait for so long, you want to feel better now. And even if you could wait, mediation doesn’t work for everyone.
In this article, I’ll share some of the things that helped me find inner-peace over the years.
Let’s get started:
1) Practice gratitude
When we’re going through a tough time, it’s easy to forget the good stuff in our lives. We get so focused on what’s wrong at the moment, we don’t think about what’s right.
This is especially true if you’re anxious and obsessive like me – you’ll get caught up in a whirlwind of negative thoughts that’s difficult to get out of.
But what can you do? What if meditation doesn’t work?
Start by putting aside a few minutes each day to make a mental note of what you’re grateful for. You can do this when you wake up or before going to bed.
This can include everything from having a comfy bed to sleep in to being grateful for your loving parents or the fact that you have your health. These may seem like little things but trust me, they’re not!
So next time you’re feeling sh***y and you can’t find inner-peace, think about everything that’s good in your life. Being without those things would really be terrible, wouldn’t it?
2) Minimize the time you spend with toxic people
You might remember that I mentioned my toxic aunt in an earlier article I wrote.
Well, she’s not someone I can completely cut out of my life. She’s family and for whatever reason, I still love her and feel bound to her.
And it’s this feeling of being bound to her that’s caused a lot of suffering.
She’s selfish, spiteful, self-centered, and unhappy, and she’s taking everyone down with her.
For years I’ve tried to be there for her and show her love and support and all it’s done is harm my mental well-being.
So, I decided to spend as little time with her as possible and stop caring if that makes me a horrible and negligent niece in her books.
And the result?
The tightness in my chest has gone. I sleep better at night. I feel less anxious. In other words, when I don’t see her or speak to her for long periods of time I feel inner-peace.
Why not give it a try?
3) Spend time in nature
So, I mentioned my periods of anxiety and depression.
When they first started, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I tried all sorts of stuff to feel better but nothing was working.
Meditating just seemed to make it worse because it made everything so quiet that I could hear my thoughts louder than before.
That’s when I discovered that walking in a forest near my parents’ home made me feel at peace.
It was just me, the trees, the birds, and the stream. Boy did I love looking at that stream…
Now I know that when everything seems chaotic and I need some downtime, all I have to do is spend an hour or two somewhere in nature and I’ll feel better.
4) Get a dog or cat or both
Here’s another thing.
For years I wanted to get a dog and for years I kept coming up with all the usual excuses why I shouldn’t get one.
- They’re a huge responsibility
- I won’t be able to travel
- They’re expensive
- They need to be trained
- They need to go out for walks even in the dead of winter!
And then one day I finally did it! I got a dog!
Best decision I ever made.
A year later I got another dog. This time it wasn’t planned, I just found the poor thing on the street all alone and sad.
The year after that, I got a cat. Also unplanned, abandoned in a box, not even two weeks old.
Let me tell you something, they’re the best therapy around.
Cuddling next to them, feeling their warmth, listening to their breathing, feeling their heartbeats – it brings me peace and joy.
5) Deep breathing exercises
Here’s the thing:
When we engage in deep breathing, we activate the body’s relaxation response, oxygenate the body, focus the mind, ground ourselves in the present moment, release tension, and cultivate self-awareness.
And the result?
A reduction in stress and anxiety, and a state of calmness and inner-peace.
6) Listen to nature sounds
A few years ago I would have told you to buy some CDs with nature sounds or to download some MP3s, but now I think there are a bunch of apps available for your phone that have exactly what you need.
There are so many sounds to choose from: waves, whales, birdsong, thunder and rain, pebbles on the beach, wind in the trees…
Try closing your eyes and listening to these sounds for at least 10 minutes and see how you feel after. You can even leave these sounds on when you go to bed, I find they help me have a deeper and more peaceful sleep.
7) Try classical music
Okay, I know that classical music isn’t for everyone, but I’ve always found it to be quite soothing.
*Pro tip: You’re gonna want to avoid listening to any requiems if you’re feeling depressed!
8) Curl up to a good book
When you feel agitated and anxious and don’t know what to do with yourself, and when meditation doesn’t help, I recommend getting cozy with a real page-turner.
Now, it doesn’t have to be award-winning literature, it can be some pulp fiction that you’d take with you on holiday, the important thing is that it’s gripping and that you can’t put it down.
It will help divert your thoughts from whatever is preoccupying you and give you some peace, even if only temporarily.
9) Get a massage
A massage from a pro can do wonders!
It’s important to find someone that you’re comfortable with and that really knows what they’re doing.
And then, just relax and let go…
10) Set boundaries
It’s important to set boundaries in your relationships, especially with people that are toxic (like my aunt).
You need to draw a line and be clear about what you will and will not accept and you need to learn to say “no”.
Trust me, boundaries will help you find inner-peace.
11) Disconnect from technology
I sometimes feel like there’s a wire going from our brains to our phones. But what good does that do? What do we get out of being on social media all the time?
It’s just not healthy, which is why it’s super important to take regular breaks from your phone.
And why not dedicate your weekends to spending time in nature? Make them technology free (okay, you can make phone calls but that’s it).
Give it a try and you’ll see that unplugging will get rid of distractions and allow you to reconnect with yourself and find inner-peace.
12) Engage in activities that bring you joy
Whether it’s taking a field trip, going to the cinema, or playing board games with friends, you need to make time for activities that bring you joy.
Trust me, doing something that brings you joy is a great way to nurture a sense of inner-peace and fulfillment.
13) Practice forgiveness
The truth is that it’s difficult to find inner-peace when you’re holding on to grudges and resentments. I mean, those are a lot of negative emotions to carry around, they can get pretty heavy.
If you want to feel lighter and find-inner peace, try forgiving people and letting go of all those negative emotions.
Free yourself from the burden of carrying emotional baggage so you can find inner-peace.
14) Seek support
Finally, when meditation doesn’t work, you can find inner-peace by reaching out to a friend or family member you’re close to, or even a professional therapist.
I found that sharing my thoughts and emotions provided valuable insight and helped me on my journey to finding inner-peace.