I don’t know about you, but my inner peace has been a bit shaky lately. It’s as if I’m living in some kind of Twilight Zone. It’s difficult to have inner peace when everything around you and the world is in chaos. But there are things we can do to nurture our inner peace amid the lack of outer peace.

Inner peace means being fully present in the now, not the past or the future. While it may be hard to come by in this day and age of uncertainty, conflict and fear, there are ways to obtain a state of serenity. Below are five solid ways to boost your inner peace. Like most things, they won’t work unless you apply them to your life. Maybe only one is what you need to strengthen your inner peace. But taken and applied in combination multiplies the effects on your sense of well-being.

  1. Exercise

Inner peace is the absence of stress and anxiety. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever.

 Exercise is one of the best ways to change your mental state to one of positivity. You don’t have to run a marathon to reap the benefits of physical activity either! Any type of movement will provide you with a greater sense of peace.

This can include practicing yoga and the breathing techniques that accompany the poses, going for a walk in nature and appreciating the smell of the flowers and the hum of insects and birds, or the waves crashing on the sand at the beach. However, you may enjoy a more vigorous workout as well, such as a spin class or running sprints.

I have to admit this is not been my choice for restoring inner peace. I am aware of the fact that any movement done on a regular basis can help you in so many ways. I do ride my incumbent bike daily, but I am motivated more by preparing my knees for a quicker recovery from upcoming knee replacement surgery.

  1. Set Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries help us take care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Healthy boundaries help us maintain a positive sense of self, trusting who we are and not allowing others to define us.

These are difficult times for setting and abiding by boundaries. The current necessity of social distancing makes this tip probably the most difficult to manage. According to news reports, we as a nation are indulging in mindless eating of junk foods, as if we will have no tomorrow for which we are accountable. According to reported shortages of flour in grocery stores, we must be baking bread as if we will be unable to purchase it. And projected meat shortages make this the perfect time to add more plant-based protein to our diets.

But letting the current life situation define our daily existence makes it all the more important for us to think about the healthiest ways to live through the pandemic crisis and to employ personal boundaries to make that happen for us.

  1. Socialize and Connect With Others

A Harvard study done by Dr. Robert Waldinger suggests that “meaningful relationships are a prescription for better emotional, mental and physical health.” 

 There has been over eight decades of research, among 700 men who were teenagers in 1930s (and over 60 men who are still participating in their 90’s) which shows that:

  • social connections appear to be good for health
  • loneliness appears to be toxic
  • relationship quality matters
  • good relationships appear to protect our brains 

There are a number of ways to strengthen connections to others, such as making new friends (by volunteering or joining a club, for example) and working to improve existing relationships with family and friends.

However, this way to inner peace has been denied to us in many ways. Social distancing is the current norm. And we long for the social contact that feeds our souls. Being apart from my family is excruciating and I’m sure it is for many others. We are forced to find less than satisfying ways to remain connected.

  1. Journal

Daily writing can help with organizing and processing your thoughts, clearing your mind and facilitating problem-solving. According to an article published by Michigan State University, journaling can act as an emotional release/escape and help you obtain clarity and rid you of negative thoughts.

I have been keeping a daily gratitude journal for over a year now. At the end of each day, I write five things I am grateful for, starting each sentence with “I am grateful for”. This has probably been the single most impactful way I’ve been able to cope with trying times. Simply recognizing my blessings invites more peaceful sleep and a feeling that everything will be all right at some point.

  1. Meditate (which may include more traditional meditation methods or calling on one’s faith to sustain us through prayer)

According to medicinenet.com, “a simple technique practiced for as few as 10 minutes per day can help you control stress, decrease anxiety, improve cardiovascular health, and achieve a greater capacity for relaxation”. Meditation produces a state of deep internal relaxation, regardless of what is going on externally.

My daily devotional time in the morning is of indeterminable value to me. If I miss a day, I feel as though I’ve lost something more valuable than the short time involved. 

Establishing inner peace can also have a positive ripple effect, spreading peace to others. When we are acting from a place of serenity, we are kind, generous, patient, and compassionate. We are less quick to judge and take offense.

We find joy in connecting with others and in turn, others act in a similar way. When we find inner peace, we help contribute to a better world! “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin in me.”