Can you live a peaceful life in chaotic times? That depends on your personality and your definition of peace.
If you require perfection in your world to live peacefully, every day is a struggle for you.
If you learn to accept the imperfection in life, you definitely can live a peaceful life in the midst of chaos.
What exactly is a peaceful life?
Merriam Webster defines peace, among other things, as “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.”
For those who live outside a war zone or other dangerous area, it’s as simple as that.
Notice the term simple. That does not mean being at peace is always easy.
From birth our parents train us how to think. If your parents were peaceful, they taught you to be peaceful.
If your parents were angry or afraid, they taught you to be angry or afraid.
In most cases, we go along with how our parents think, even when we don’t agree with what they think because it’s the only way we know.
A real life example
For example, maybe your parents always worried about money because they never felt they had enough of it.
Odds are, you will worry about money too, no matter how much you have.
If you parents didn’t worry about money, you probably don’t either.
I am the oldest of two children. My father was an engineer.
My husband is the baby of nine. His father was a carpenter.
My husband’s father never made more than $25,000 per year while my dad made over double that.
My husband grew up never knowing he was poor. I grew up thinking I was.
Any guesses who worried about money more in our younger years? Me!
While I’ve learned so many lessons about finances since then, the bottom line is that I only knew how to worry about money, not how to manage it until I learned a different way to think and feel about money.
The current world we live in
I think most would agree that we currently live in a chaotic world.
People from both sides of the political aisle ask me how I can be peaceful in these times.
The truth is that I’m not peaceful all the time, but there are ways to be more peaceful and avoid some, if not most of the political chaos.
One of the best ways to reduce the chaos is to literally turn it off. The 24 hour news cycle is helpful for people who consume their news at non-traditional times.
For the rest of us, it’s sensory overload.
The first step is to turn off the mainstream media.
I am not advocating sticking your head in the sand and pretending the chaos doesn’t exist. I am advocating consuming it in healthier quantities.
Mainstream media outlets live by ratings. The more sensational the headline, the more people watch.
Stop buying into that because it only reinforces the chaos. Stay informed, but limit your input and as soon as you hear or see a repeat story, turn it off.
Also, consider reading sources like Reuters and the Associated Press who still attempt to report facts without an onslaught of inflammatory adjectives.
It’s not as exciting to read, but it lets you choose your opinion rather than giving it to you.
A peaceful life beyond the news
A peaceful life is different for everyone, and there are personality types that think that peace is overrated. Thankfully, those types are the minority.
Most people crave peace and harmony, but may not know how to create it.
My favorite simple tips to bring more peace into your life is to stop.
When you are stressed, stop. Stop yelling. Stop muttering. Stand or sit still and take a long, slow breath.
While you take that long, slow breath in and out, relax your forehead, your jaw, your neck, your shoulders, your back and your stomach.
Notice how each feels as you let go of the stress and relax.
Practice this wherever and whenever you feel stressed and let your breath and thinking bring you peace.
To explore more simple tips for a more peaceful life click here. This article is a great place to start developing habits that support a peaceful life.
Need more? Read the book The Four Agreements. It’s a book about the ancient Toltecs with an interesting philosophy about life. Click here here to learn more about The Four Agreements, and click here to purchase the book for yourself.
Find role models
The list of role models that advocate peace are long and storied.
Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Dr.Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou, Eckhart Tolle, Don Miguel Ruiz and the Dalai Lama are a few.
The thing to realize with each role model is that they are human and their stories sometimes show that. It doesn’t negate their message.
If you think about it, it makes their message better because we all struggle. No one ever gets to perfect peace at all times.
Even those who act with peace admit that their thoughts are not always aligned with their actions.
They still have angry thoughts. They might even lose their temper now and then.
What most peaceful people learn is that living a peaceful life isn’t about living without strife. A peaceful life is about feeling and seeing the chaos and choosing to act peacefully.
Some days you succeed extraordinarily well. Some days you fail miserably, especially in the beginning.
The trick is to get better at it through constant practice.
The world is a better place when we strive for peace.
What can you do today to live a more peaceful life?
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As always, thanks for being you and have a great day.