A Peaceful Mindset
Peace like a river. Growing up, I heard this phrase from people who exuded a peaceful outlook in their day-to-day lives. These people seemed to be calm, relaxed, and able to maintain this orientation when stressors arose. As I continue to explore this concept in my own life, here are a few ways in which I have practiced this mindset:
Pause. When the world feels loud, busy, and/or distracting, I find it immensely valuable to simply pause. This may include stepping away from a stressor, saving that email and moving away from your computer, or making sure you take a break and remind yourself that the project can wait. Just as you’re able to pause your favorite streaming service to use the bathroom, consider putting what you’re doing on hold for a few minutes.
Breathe. When I am able to take slow, intentional breaths, my heart rate lowers, my hands loosen up, my jaw unclenches, and my brow unfurrows. As those bodily actions relax, I see how the breath allows me to feel more calm, less anxious, and less fidgety. These changed experiences help me foster a sense of peacefulness.
Reflect. Have a relaxing word, phrase, color, sound, mantra, maxim, memory, or religious text that puts your mind at ease? When you’re able to pause and breathe, reflect on one of those things for 10 breaths and see how your mind moves towards a more peaceful place. Only have time for three breaths? Three is better than none, but the more you can make time to pause, breathe, and reflect, the more your peaceful state of mind can be within reach.
Lou Lim is a licensed mental health counselor and registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) with a master's degree in Expressive Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. He is a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and on the committee for REAT credentialing. He has 13 years of experience in counseling and expressive therapy working with children, adolescents, teenagers, adults, and retirees.
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