“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
In the past two years, I kept some sense of purpose and equanimity even when it felt as if the carpet was pulled from under my feet. The war in Ukraine managed to dishearten me after more than two years of the pandemic. I know that I am not alone in the feeling that the world is just too much to digest at the moment.
When I tried to understand my tangled emotions beyond the pain and devastation, what came up to me mainly was the futility of the events occurring in Ukraine and the total helplessness that I experienced.
What is inner peace?
Inner peace is the experience of stillness, equanimity, and freedom from distractions. As such inner peace assumes that your thoughts and feelings or e – motions are intrusive to your mental and physical well-being.
Living in a culture where you are expected to pursue your goals actively. But encountering circumstances that you can only watch from the sidelines can leave you feeling like there is nothing you can do to change reality, leading to anxiety. There are two ways to react to a reality that you find unsettling; you can either fight life and try to control the situation, or you can surrounder.
The need to control and actively navigate your life was taught to you.
That is why it feels so natural to you to react with an inner tantrum when you lose control and can not change the reality.
Finding peace happens when you surrender. There is freedom with letting go.
Surrender is not in any way a passive uncaring attitude. It takes a lot of courage to let go of your ability to change the world’s reality and acknowledge that the only thing you can change is yourself.
3 lifestyle practices that can help you navigate the chaos and find inner peace:
Just closing your eyes for a couple of minutes can move you from fight or flight response to rest and digest mode. Your blood pressure drops, the muscles relax, and the mind calms down and slow down. You can practice resting your eyes anywhere; in your car (not while driving), place of work or at home.
The average person needs to get about 7-9 hours of sleep at night for the body to be fully rejuvenated. Research found that people that struggled with sleep deprivation experienced the environment as more threatening and were more anxious.
When they think about meditation, many people think about sitting cross-legged on a pillow and engaging in a mysterious activity. But meditation can be as simple as taking five minutes for yourself, stopping, taking a breath, and checking how your body feels at the moment? Your mind and emotional state? Studies show that breathing modulates your heart rate or your heartbeat patterns. When your heart rate pattern is coherent, your physical and mental bodies align in harmony. Breathing generates a coherent heart rhythm simply by breathing slowly and regularly at a 10-second rhythm (5 seconds on the in-breath and 5 seconds on the out-breath).
Spend time in nature
Research found that immersion in nature can help regulate stress, calm the mind and reduce heart rate and blood pressure, all indicative of achieving a state of inner peace.
3 herbs to cultivate inner peace:
Lemon balm (Melissa Officinalis)
if you are one of these people who get their stomach in knots when stressed, Lemon balm is the herb for you. Lemon balm is an aromatic herb from the mint family. It activates the vagus nerves or the part of the nervous system that puts you in a rest and digest mode.
If you are a compulsive eater when you are in turmoil. Or if you can not even imagine eating when stress and anxiety hit, then let lemon balm relax the nerves in your digestive system.
Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum)
Tulsi is another aromatic herb from the mint family. In India, Tulsi can be found at the entrance of homes right next to the altar where incense is burned, and offerings are made. I find Tulsi to have an affinity to the heart.
“Ocimum has profound effects on treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases by means of lowering blood lipid content, suppressing ischemia and stroke, reducing hypertension, and also due to its higher antioxidant properties. Besides, it also plays an important role in antiplatelet aggregation and prevents risk of pulmonary hypertension. These cardioprotective properties prove that Ocimum may be treated as a good remedy against prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.”
If you tend to lose yourself in the troublesome energies of the people or events around you, Tulsi can help you find the way back to your heart.
There are many types of Rose, and all share the same healing properties. Rose is cooling, calming, and uplifting with an affinity to the heart. Rose’s affinity to the heart was evident in its use in celebrations, festivals, and funerals to relieve grief.
I often think to myself, “if only just…” that thing or the other change, I can find peace and serenity. It takes some courage to admit to myself that peace is within reach and what is needed is the courage to reach out and grab it.
If you like me, believe that the world’s reality mirrors the reality within your soul. Then you surmise that world peace starts within. You are not helpless after all. You have the power to make the change, and that change begins with you.