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FEATURES Aug 26 2012 11:36PM

How to Stay Peaceful During Stressful Times

by GG Renee Hill

Even if you consider yourself to be a peaceful person, there are times when challenges pile up and stress takes over. When we’re in this state, it’s hard to stay positive and hear the lessons that are trying to speak in the midst of all the noise. I have this quote by Christian Larson posted up by my desk at work: “Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.” When I’m feeling overwhelmed and aggravated, this is one of the affirmations I turn to in order to detach myself from the things that are bothering me.
The truth is that life will never be predictable. We can’t expect everything to flow the way we want all the time. So, it’s in our best interest to develop a tolerance for uncertainty and discomfort. Even when we know that we can’t control a situation, we tend to stress over it anyway. The key to maintaining your peace of mind through stressful situations is to let go of the outcomes and allow yourself to experience everything—ups and downs— without judgment. At first this may sound inconceivable, but if you think about it, this is what faith is all about. We must learn to trust that things are not always what they seem and that things will work out the way they are supposed to—even when everything seems to be going wrong.
When you’re having these moments of stress and anxiety, here are some tips to maintain your peace of mind and calm your fears.
Stay in the moment. Maybe the current moment sucks and you want it to be over immediately.  But if you really think about it, every moment has something to offer. Maybe that something is a tough lesson. Maybe that something is realizing that bad things can happen and you can survive them. Stay with it, take a deep breath and move on.
Don’t be your own martyr. Our stress is often brought on by our own idiosyncracies. We just can’t seem to relax. We have so much to prove. Fires must be put out and heroic acts must be performed. Many of us are so accustomed to drama that if we can’t find it, we create it for ourselves. Is this you? Why not conserve your energy for what really, truly matters? Listen to your spirit and your body when it says to be still and recharge. Learning to overlook small things helps us to be calm and centered for the big things.
Know when to walk away. It’s important to know when you need to remove yourself from a situation. One of the biggest energy drainers is the awareness that we are not doing something we know we need to do. In order to stay peaceful, be true to yourself and remember that life does not have to be complicated. We do have choices.
Shift your focus from the closed door to the open door. So things didn’t work out. Why not look for the silver lining? Even if it doesn’t impact you in the way that you want, what good can come out of the situation? What can you learn or overcome from what is going on? When we look for meaning in the unpleasant and uncomfortable things that happen in our lives, we learn to embrace a consistent energy of gratitude that can sustain us through anything and everything.
Surround yourself with positive people. It’s no use trying to climb a mountain when you’ve got people all around you trying to pull you down. Sometimes our loyalty and attachments lead us to keep people in our lives that drain us and hold us back. We can’t blame them, though. We can only blame ourselves for allowing them to stick around.
Remember that quote I mentioned earlier by Christian Larson? Here’s the rest of it: “Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. Think only of the best, work only for the best and expect only the best. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”
In short, everything makes you more. Even the bad stuff. Your ability to maintain peace of mind in the midst of stress is really dependent on how you choose to see the world.


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