Six Ways to Cultivate Your Inner Peace

It’s that time of the year. Time to feel happy, holly jolly, peaceful, and the like, right? But if you’re anything like the average American, it really feels crazy, stressful, and anything but peaceful. Hang tight. Here are six ways to put a little inner peace back in the season!

Wooden cutout of a dove on a table.

Ditch Perfection

I know you want everything to be perfect for everybody. But think back to your own childhood a minute. Do you remember perfectly wrapped gifts with decorative tags and elaborate $3 bows? Do you remember an immaculate home decorated flawlessly with holiday flare in every corner? Those are things most of us are far less likely to remember. Most of us remember the magic of Christmas morning, and gifts that barely stayed wrapped long enough for us to look at the name tag. We remember getting together with family and Grandma’s famous homemade cookies.

So if you like doing the former, have at it! But if it’s only contributing stress to your life, rest assured, those things can slide a little and it will still be a holiday to remember!

Start a Gratitude Journal

Get a little notebook and start writing down things you are grateful for. Think about events that have happened in the last year, people who have come into your life, old friends, pets, etc. Write all those things down. The more, the better. Add to it every day. Nothing is too insignificant. Are you thankful for the guy who let you pull out in front on him at the busy intersection? Write it down. Read your gratitude journal anytime, but particularly at the end of a long, stressful day. It will help remind you of all the greatness in your life, and of the goodness that exists in the world around you. Challenge yourself to keep it going all year!

Give Yourself the Gift of Solitude

Even if it’s only for 20 minutes, do something just for you. Get your nails done, get a massage, take a candlelit bubble bath, go for a brisk walk… Spend time breathing deeply and reflecting. Make it something you truly enjoy that is also relaxing. You will be amazed at how spending dedicated time to relieving stress can change your outlook!

Give a Thoughtful Gift to Someone You Don’t Get Along With

I know what you’re thinking: “What the heck, Laura?!” Hear me out though. Choosing a gift for someone you don’t necessarily love means that you’ll be thinking about that person a little differently. You have to consider what they like, what hobbies they have, etc. You may begin to see that person in a different light. Plus, when you give a gift, it makes you feel generous and improves your self-esteem. Lastly, it will create a positive interaction with a person whom you don’t often have positive interactions with, and spread a little holiday cheer! A win-win!

A disclaimer: If the idea of this completely stresses you out and feels overwhelming, see tip #1.

Practice Mindfulness

Have you ever heard that the greatest present you can give is your presence? Give your presence to both yourself and others this season. Look around you in all you do, and try to notice something you’ve never noticed before. Be intentional about it. What do you see, hear, or smell that’s new? Getting ready for the day, on your way to work, or walking the dog. Be with friends and family completely. Pay attention to them and what they’re saying. Put your phone on silent and keep it in your bag. Being in the moment helps reduce stress and worry.

Give Guilt the Boot

Nothing steals inner peace like guilt. Seriously. Cut yourself some slack on your habits. While you don’t need to go completely hog-wild, if you have an extra cookie or glass of wine it’s not going to be that big of a deal as long as you get back on track afterward. Some of these foods only make an appearance once a year, so choose them with intention, enjoy them mindfully, and then get back to your more healthful habits as soon as possible.

Inner peace to all, and Happy Holidays!

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