We live in a world of fear. Disease, death, racism and violence are just a few of the topics dominating headlines around the world right now. Sadly, it feels like they always have and always will. It’s no wonder new research indicates that the majority of the population has a problem with getting a peaceful night’s sleep. Not to mention the dramatic increase in anxiety over recent decades. But, we have one incredible weapon against this at our disposal – choice. Here are some top tips to help make positive choices that will help you to live in peace.
1. Choose what you share, read, and discuss
We are bombarded with news and opinions 24/7. Some of it matters, most of it doesn’t. Not all of it is true. But all of it affects us, both consciously and subconsciously. People seem to have an unending desire to share negative content on social media, and the worst thing is – we allow ourselves to consume it as well – or, perhaps, to be consumed by it. In fact, we seem to be so hungry for this that we play a part in perpetuating the problem
But just because a story, article, video, etc. is out there, we don’t have to engage with it. If something you read or watch has a negative impact on you, don’t waste energy by exposing yourself to it. Stop the negativity in its tracks. If you find yourself unable to completely avoid social media, be selective about what you allow to come up in your feed. Be careful which individuals and pages you follow, and don’t be afraid to mute or block feeds (or ‘friends’) if they have a negative effect. Even better, make it your mission to spread positivity. Why not make a conscious effort to share only that which gives peace, love, joy and happiness. The fact that you are reading this article now (for which I am grateful and honoured) tells me that you have already made steps in the right direction.
2. Do for others as you would want done to you
It’s easy to feel that you have to become embroiled in a conflict. We find it difficult not to speak up and offer our opinions. Sometimes they are justified, sometimes they are misguided – but almost always, they bring us into conflict. Yes, some things like racism absolutely must be challenged, but the truth is in most cases, we really don’t need to get ourselves involved in discussions. Yes, some people park badly, some people are rude – but do we need to jump into the debate? We often rush into assumptions without even asking ourselves what may have been behind the disagreeable behaviour or situation. The combination of assumption and opinion can be a dangerous mix.
Just because we feel that someone has wronged us or done wrong to a friend or acquaintance, we do not automatically have to do them wrong too, by showing anger, insult or disrespect. It is far more healthy to respond in a positive way and lead by example. If rudeness riles you, make it a point to be polite. If ingratitude upsets you, take every opportunity to show gratitude. If bad parking grinds your gears, why not start by making sure that you always park considerately?
3. Practise Mindfulness
One powerful way to eliminate negative responses to situations is to practice mindfulness. Rather than being led by your emotions, take a moment to pause, reflect, and smile. Find the calm within and let positivity prevail.
As Dr Stephen Covey points out in his powerful book ‘Seven Habits of Highly Successful People’, we may not be able to control the situation we are in, but we do have the ability to control our reaction. Mindfulness is a tool that allows us to do exactly this, so that our actions and decisions can be guided from a place of inner calm that is a reflection of our true nature, not an emotionally heated reaction that is not a reflection of our true selves.