In a previous article, I defined self care as actively trying to protect and improve one's mental health and general well-being. In that article, I focused on outer beauty and today, I am going to look within. Deepak Chopra says, "Inner silence promotes clarity of mind; it makes us value the inner world; it trains us to go inside to the source of peace and inspiration when we are faced with problems and challenges."
Inner peace itself is the ability to remain calm, psychologically, or spiritually, despite being in a situation that would potentially dirupt you. Being "at peace" is considered by many to be in a state of balance and harmony (homeostasis) and is considered to be a state where our mind performs at an optimal level with a positive outcome. The opposite of inner peace is stress and turmoil. As we generally speak of how to improve oneself, overlapping themes occur such as, eating well, avoiding stress and exercising, and while I also recommend spending time in nature, that may be something out of your control right now. Focus on things you can control and being honest with yourself about them.
Here are some useful self care and mental health activities that you can practice daily for inner peace - first self care then share care (looking after others).
Meditation is a state of mind that allows you to detach your mind from negative thoughts. Regular practice of meditation enables you to experience expanded awareness and allows you to accomplish anything you desire. Being aware helps you to control any situation, relieve stress and get unstuck from sticky situations. Meditation does not cost you anything. All you need is 5-10 minutes to sit still in silent thought. Listen to a 4min guided meditation curated by me for inner peace.
Between home office, raising a family, lockdown and coping with the global pandemic, stress has become a “normal” part of daily life for most people. But many people took control than enable them to find self love and inner peace during these difficult times taking yoga classes at home or online. I too have fullfilled my dream as a certified Yoga Meditation Teacher. This ancient practice, which started in India more than 4,000 years ago, connects mind and body through a series of postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. By stretching and toning the muscles, flexing the spine, and focusing the mind inward, yoga helps reduce stress.
Yoga is calming. Since yoga involves the mind as well as the body, it’s not surprising that it may help reduce anxiety and depression and overall feeling of well-being.
3. DAILY AFFIRMATIONS
Practice daily affirmations, they are a simple set of statements about a specific goal. They are recited daily to effect a realization of the goal.
Affirmations motivate and influence your subconscious to work to develop the new habit. With your self-care routine, your goal is to be less stressed. Here are some affirmations:
- My body and mind are aligned in awareness.
- I am letting go of all the things that no longer serve me.
- I am healthy and strong.
- I am connected to my inner spirit.
- I am relaxed and calm.
- My stress is no longer weighing me down.
- I am letting go of all my worries and fears.
Journaling was once an ancient tradition, dated back to as late as the tenth century Japan era. Ancient Japanese travelers kept journals and tracked their thoughts throughout a variety of different situations. It’s not a coincidence that many of the people we respect as wise, successful and strong kept journals. Journaling just might be one of the keys behind their ability to withstand all the stressors of everyday life.
No one is free from the stressors and problems in their daily life. The good news is that you can use journaling to help identify your problems a little bit easier. Journaling is all about reflecting. When you begin writing down your day’s journey, you’ll be able to identify the problems that you’ve faced, unload all your frustrations and feel much better about yourself in the long run. Always be honest when journaling, it`s the key to getting the maximum benefits.
5. MIND BODY SKIN ROUTINE
The mind and the skin are inextricably connected. There are multiple interconnections that go in both directions, with the mind affecting the skin, and vice versa, both positively and negatively. This might sound vague to some, but it’s clear our emotions can show on our skin – think of the last time you literally turned red (cheeks flushed) after an embarrassing encounter. In fact, the brain and the skin are formed from the same layer of cells and as a result, there are many nervous system connections. Lack of care of oneself is a common among those suffering from mental health issues that ultimately leads to their daily routines falling apart. But you can control this, a simple 3 step, 3 minute skin care routine (cleanse, tone, moisturize) twice a day, morning and before bedtime can boost your confidence, lower stress and anxiety, and keep your skin healthy and glowing, which feeds back positively.
Take time out on weekends and pamper yourself at home spa. Put on your favourite face mask. Slather on that decadent herbal facial oil and revel in the pleasure of taking care of your skin. Take a bubble bath, listen to your favorite symphony and light aromatherapy candles. This ritual is soothing, calming and mood uplifting. When you feel good about yourself, you’re much more inclined to pass on those good vibes to others.
There is nothing more rewarding than showing kindness and empathy to others. Simple acts like paying for someone’s meal, get involved in a charitable organisation or volunteer service, offer a free coaching session and having the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference helps to release the good endorphins such as oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine.
Doing good deeds helps you detract your attention from problems and find new perspective. It makes you grateful for all that you have. This, in turn, directs you to focus your attention on things that bring you joy, positivity and good energy.
Another useful tool I encourage is to try to live minimally. Declutter your life (maybe donate what you don't need) and clean up your space. Spring time is the best time to do this. Also feel free to get some plants and start a garden. The natural colours and patience taught through botany have been found to be extraordinarily therapeutic.
Our don'ts include; don't hold on to negative memories or feelings. If you can change them by making amends, forgiving or apologizing, do so, but if not, write about it, draw it out, or use your preferred medium of healthy expression to confront and feel the emotions through the process, and avoid bottling things up. If not, then try to focus on good feelings and good memories. Also don't focus your mental energy where you are not physically capable of making things better. That is, leave work at work and try to focus on doing one task at a time. You can try to make this task as efficient as possible so that it is done quickly, but again, be honest about your capabilities and forgive yourself your short comings. Our final don't is 'don't speak without thinking' speaking only truth, necessity and, remembering to communicate well. And as always, this goes for how you think/speak about yourself.
There are many more techniques for improving your inner peace and mental health through self care, so please feel free to find the ones that work best for you. Note down your own dos and don'ts and try to practice them everyday. And remember to meditate, relax and breathe, you can do this!
Like what you read? Be sure to share it on your social media platforms so that others can learn the tools to find inner peace and improve their mental health and well-being.
Love and light,