When we live in a state of peace, we naturally become more creative, productive, and happier. We make better decisions. We grow new neurons and make new neural connections. We literally become smarter! Epigenetics tells us our genes actually shift into a different state, protecting us more from disease and allowing our bodies to heal quicker... This is living a good life. Don Joseph Gowey says it best in his book The End of Stress, which has been one of my go-tos lately. Here is a passage from his book:
“This shift from fear to peace is made by… letting go of fear. It’s refusing to believe worried, pessimistic, and stress-provoking thoughts. It’s being present, here and now, living each moment fully. It’s trusting the process of life as it unfolds, changing what you can, and accepting what you can’t change. It’s being open, honest, and flexible. It’s grounding yourself in the authentic person you are instead of chasing some ideal of who you, or others, think you should be. It’s having faith in yourself. It’s pursuing what you love with a sense of purpose. Perpetually anticipating positive outcomes. It’s having unconditional positive regard and empathy for the people in your life. It’s listening to them better, judging them less, forgiving them more, and being kinder.”
I want this powerful peaceful state of mind to be your default. And the first step into a peaceful state of mind is building awareness. Let’s get into some awareness exercises.
The first step into a peaceful state of mind is building awareness of our thoughts and emotions that keep us in a stressful state. We need to uncover the areas in our life where stress takes control. Awareness creates a pattern interrupt, kind of a pause button for our thoughts, presenting us with an opportunity to choose a different thought. When we do this, it creates a new memory that changes our stressful patterns and strengthens new neural pathways to higher-order brain function. When we shift into a positive state, our creature brain takes a back seat, because positive states do not threaten our survival. This is where we want to spend our time. Becoming aware of what is happening allows us to see the beautiful connection between everything and everyone, and also allows us the opportunity to get curious about and identify our own root causes of stress. Our mind runs on old patterns we developed at a young age, patterns that kept us safe, often connected to feelings of love and belonging to our parents. We unconsciously crave a little pain, guilt, fear, or stress, because of these patterns. We often live most of our lives thinking in the future or past, but the present moment is the only place where real-life opportunity lives. Every time you bring your attention back to the present moment, you gain your energy back. The more you do this, the more you start to break those old associations with emotions, and you start to have more control of your energy and can be more of your true self. How do you practice peaceful and loving awareness of yourself? Meditation, breathing exercises, yoga?
Take a moment with me right now for a quick meditation to step into the present moment:
Stop everything you are doing and step away from the world. Let go of what you were thinking and feeling and notice any tension or discomfort in your body. Scan your body until you have found most of the tension in your body. Feel it without imposing any judgment. Imagine there is an emotional body that can be felt through the physical body. Sense the predominant emotion that emerges. Feel it without any judgment, and without wanting to change it. Now allow yourself to relax. Let go of the emotion and all of the tension. Bring your attention to your breath and follow your breathing for a few breaths. Let gravity pull the tension out of your body. Feel your brain relax in the same way. Now let go of everything, allowing the world as you perceive it to fall away. No worries, no problems, no goals, nothing to prove. Let it all go in this moment. Take a slow, easy breath and as you exhale, let your mind and heart open wide. Allow peace to emerge all on its own.
Join me in the next lesson for more awareness building exercises and meditations.