Woman sitting on ground looking out at meadow and lake - The peace withinAt this point, I think most of us have begun to understand what inner peace is. It certainly sounds like a beautiful idea and a great state of mind to be in while navigating through life’s difficulties. To be untouched by your external environment without letting anxiety infiltrate your life sounds ideal, right?

To achieve this state of inner peace, people will try Yoga, they’ll attempt meditation for a little while and they may use incense or other oils that are meant to invoke a sense of calm. All of these are wonderful ideas, but if you don’t cut out the things in your life that are causing you stress and chaos, things like smelly candles and downward dog probably aren’t going to bring you the inner peace you want.

While these are powerful tools that can help you along the way, you’ll also need to come from the other direction and cut out what’s preventing you from feeling peaceful in the first place. To get you started, below are just seven activities you may want to eliminate from your life in order to create more inner peace for yourself.

Excess mental chatter

This would certainly be the number one preventer of inner peace. Inner peace is pretty much the absence of the mind running your life and making you stressed, sad and insecure.

There are many destructive methods of thinking that can break down your inner peace, and rumination is one of the worst offenders. It invokes stress within the body, and once your thoughts have begun to manifest physically, it’s challenging to get back to centre and feel calm within.

Rumination and thought patterns that are similar to it will often become negative. Even if your ruminations include a fantasy based on your desires, it’s not healthy to cling to something like that. Usually, what happens is that you’ll begin to worry about the made-up situation you’ve created in your mind. You’ll begin to imagine how you’d feel if it actually happened, and at this point, you may begin to get cold sweats and your anxiety level will spike.

Worrying is detrimental since it takes you out of the real-life moment you’re in—a moment that’s non-threatening, but which you won’t have the opportunity to embrace. Worrying has no point, but it’ll slither into your existence when you allow mental chatter to mess with your inner peace.

This is one of the fundamental reasons why we meditate: to train ourselves to manage the monkey mind.

Neglecting your body

Scientific journals have begun to dig deep into the possibility that the mind and body are interconnected—more specifically, that when your mind is thriving, it helps the body function at a level of peak performance. Putting this in reverse, even if you’re doing everything right in a spiritual and mental sense, if you’re abusing your body,  your mind will eventually be affected.

Your body does require certain nutrients to function optimally. If you don’t provide it with this necessary “fuel,” it may begin to break down, and there’s a lot of stress that can come with not being healthy. For instance, it’s very challenging to sit and meditate if you’re in constant pain.

Therefore, it’s important to get the exercise you need on a regular basis. This is good for the body, of course, but also for the mind. By exercising, we’re able to cleanse out toxins, de-stress the body completely and enable a greater amount of oxygen to reach our brains.

Body movement like yoga poses will help you get your blood flowing properly. You also must drink plenty of water, get lots of sleep and eat nourishing food. A healthy body promotes clarity and the ability to meditate, and this will help you feel that inner peace you’re looking for.

Constantly dwelling in the past/future

When you’re constantly thinking of the past and future, you create a lot of havoc in your mind. Inner peace comes from being right where you are, now. Even if the moment isn’t ideal, you can mindfully look at what’s arising in you, and although you may not realize it, you have the ability to change the way you feel at any moment.

If you’re bored or uninspired, it’s easy to think about what you’ll make for dinner or worry about all the things you have to get done during the week. When you take yourself out of the present to do this, though, inner peace is sacrificed.

Being judgmental 

When you do things that aren’t coming from a place of kindness, you’ll experience pangs of guilt and shame. If you judge others or find fault with them, and silently or verbally let them know what you think, this isn’t an effective way of feeling good about yourself or the world you live in.

Gossiping or bad-mouthing other people might make you feel better momentarily, but eventually, you’ll feel terrible about doing it. Thinking about, saying and doing things without an open heart will surely cause your positive energy to shut down, and without it, you won’t feel the simple bliss of inner peace.

You need to hold yourself accountable for the things that aren’t working out in your life, as this will allow you to grow and become better. You can do this by regularly observing yourself and making a mental note of what you think and say. It’ll take some time to get bad habits like gossiping out of your system, but once you do, you’ll find yourself on a much clearer path towards inner peace.

Multitasking

When it comes to work and activities, if you take on too much at once, you won’t have any time to think about how you feel inside. Right now, there are plenty of people who are taking on way too much and then ending up with nothing left to give to themselves.

If you take on too much at once, you won’t have any time to think about how you feel inside.

Recently, an article appeared in Forbes about how multitasking will reduce your ability to focus on one thing at a time (a skill that’s often needed). Furthermore, attempting to do more than one thing at once will slow you down and interfere with your productivity.

It turns out, the brain isn’t capable of working effectively on two projects at the same time, and along the same lines, multitasking has also been found to lower a person’s IQ. Basically, there’s very little benefit to attempting to cram a multitude of tasks into every minute of your day. You won’t have the spaciousness to explore what’s going on inside of you, so cultivating a sense of inner peace won’t be possible.

Spreading clutter

Messy desk covered in paper and other items - The peace withinIf you have a lot of material things scattered about, it’s really difficult to unclutter your mind. In recent years, there’s been a lot of talk about minimalism, and one of the main benefits of that kind of lifestyle is the inner peace it can bring.

Your inner space will always be a reflection of what’s happening outside of you, so if you don’t have a clean and clear outer environment, you’re going to feel like you’re in a bit of a fog and miss out on the sacred beauty of what’s happening within.

Spending time on mindless distractions

When you watch TV and spend too much time on social media, you’re taking yourself away from the inner beauty you could be experiencing. Similarly, playing with your mobile device for hours is a lot like having an out-of-body experience, especially if you’re not even conscious enough to realize how much time has gone by.

Once you put yourself in the headspace that these distractions promote, it’s difficult to feel your true self. It’s also hard to get into meditation or approach anything with a mindful attitude. There are a thousand things that can distract you from your inner knowledge and peace, but the solution is to stop tuning into the outer distractions you’ve at one point deemed important.

Meditation is key


It’s important to meditate if you want to hone your inner peace. This is a good way of working through problems that are causing a lack of peace in your life, as your meditation practice will enable you to be at peace with yourself. Once you’re experiencing some inner peace, your practice will only get stronger and provide you with even more support on your journey.

While we can’t always live in the state of bliss that inner peace brings, it’s always there for you to access when you need it. Finding it in the first place—by unpeeling the layers of things that can prevent it—is probably the hardest step! Once you’ve felt it, however, you’ll always know where to find it again.

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Meera Watts is a Yoga teacher, entrepreneur and Mom. Her writing on Yoga and wholistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, Fun Times Guide, OMTimes and other publications. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga, a Yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive residential training in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala) and Indonesia (Bali). Connect with Meera on the following social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest.

image 1: Pixabay; image 2: Jeffrey Beall