Last updated on 9/4/2020
“Set peace of mind as your highest goal,
and organize your life around it.”
The phrase “peace of mind” means different things to different people. Officially, it refers to a mental state of tranquility that comes from not having worries, guilt, or problems.
Peace of mind (or inner peace) is a concept linked to Stoic and Buddhist philosophies. Both philosophies assert that the sense of peace originates from within the individual. They also suggest we can condition ourselves to be indifferent to external disturbances. This mindset can help us manage our internal worlds, even when chaos surrounds us.
“Tranquility” refers to the mental state of calmness and reflection. It is a restorative state, the direct contrast to a stressed state. Busy, stressful lives require constant mental engagement. According to research, tranquility plays an important role in providing relief from an overtaxed mental space. Therefore, many psychologists consider tranquility to be a psychological need.
Tranquil surroundings have a positive effect on the brain. Neuroimaging studies have shown tranquil environments enhance certain neural connections within the brain; non-tranquil environments tend to disrupt those connections. Therefore, when we make peace of mind a primary goal, we are contributing to our brain health.
Cultivating inner peace starts with creating opportunities to recharge. This can be as simple as taking brief breaks during the day to sit in solitude. Other methods of recharging include various forms of mind-body practice, such as breathing exercises, prayer, meditation, tai chi, and yoga.
The second step for cultivating inner peace is to simplify your lifestyle in the following ways:
- Simplify your thinking by focusing on the present. Avoid dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
- Simplify your schedule by only committing to tasks that you can complete comfortably without over-committing yourself.
- Simplify your physical surroundings by decluttering your living and workspaces.
- Simplify your interpersonal interactions by minimizing your exposure to negative people and setting healthy boundaries.
Mindfully striving for inner peace means we have made an important commitment to ourselves. When we avoid situations, environments, and relationships that don’t allow us to satisfy the need for tranquility, we are practicing the ultimate act of self-care.
Reference: Hunter, M. D., Eickhoff, S. B., Pheasant, R. J., Douglas, M. J., Watts, G. R., Farrow, T. F. D., . . . Wooddruff, P. W. R. (2010). The state of tranquility: Subjective perception is shaped by contextual modulation of auditory connectivity. NeuroImage, 53(2), 611-618. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1053811910009110?via%3Dihub