Someone once said that our attitude determines our altitude. It also determines whether or not we experience peace amid suffering. The following are eight ways we can find peace even when life presents us with challenges.
1. Ask yourself, “Is this something I can control, or do I need to release myself, this person or situation to a Higher Power?” If you are trying to change someone, you may be creating stress for yourself. You can change yourself, but you cannot force another to change.
2. Ask yourself, “Will this matter in a hundred years?” Some things won’t matter next month, let alone next year. We sweat a lot of small stuff that doesn’t really matter. Use your energy to make a positive difference in the world and to strengthen your relationships.
3. Decide to focus on more on your blessings and less on your troubles. Everyone faces challenges, and we can learn from them or feel overwhelmed by them. Attitude is everything.
4. Do one kind thing for yourself each day that doesn’t involve food, money, or anything that is addictive in nature. Watch a sunset; take a long bath; read an article; call a friend; visit a neighbor. Do something that brings you comfort and joy.
5. Do one kind thing for someone else. It may be nothing more than smiling at a neighbor, complementing a coworker, or hugging your child. When we share our love with others, it releases endorphins that calm us and help us feel happier.
6. If you feel you must worry, schedule a time for it and keep it to fifteen minutes or less. Don’t allow yourself to worry continuously. It drains your energy and increases your stress.
7. Instead of asking, “Why me?” ask, “What can I learn from this experience, trial, suffering?” When I was caring for my dying mother, I felt deep sorrow as I watched her body fail her, but I also realized that there was something I was learning from our suffering. Now, I realize that I have greater compassion for those who suffer and greater appreciation for life.
8. If you err, err on the side of mercy. Accept yourself and others for who they are, realizing that each person, including yourself--is a child of the Divine.
Trials and troubles can either make us bitter or better. Our attitudes--which begin with the thoughts that we choose to hold onto--determine whether we will be happy or hopeless, joyful or jealous, calm or contentious. As we choose thoughts of love, peace, compassion, and forgiveness, we can find peace amid the sorrows and stresses of life
© Carol Brown