We often think “one day life will feel easier/better” but the reality is being alive in this world means there will always be new challenges, new invitations to growth, new opportunities to decide again how we want to live and the kind of person we want to be.
We can’t control everything in this world or even in our smaller bubbles. It is a great kindness and act of soul care to learn to experience peace in the present moment. I hope this list encourages you to show a little kindness and compassion toward yourself today.
Five Ways to Experience Peace in the Present Moment
1. Begin and End Your Days Wisely
How we spend that first and last few moments of each day sets the tone for our overall lived experience. Simple routines like taking a moment to express gratitude before you fall asleep or slowly waking to a set of simple stretches like this 5-minute yoga routine postures us to show up to our lives with more calm and intention. When we fall asleep with gentle, positive thoughts or routines, we give our mind permission to be in the present moment, to leave the day behind and rest as the night falls upon us. And waking with intention, whether that’s morning stretches or opening the curtains to let the sunshine fill the room, our actions tell our mind that we are ready for the day and all that it will bring.
2. Learn to Sit with Discomfort
Part of being human in an imperfect world is experiencing the full range of emotions. And part of finding peace in the moment is giving ourselves permission to sit in the discomfort of unpleasant emotions. Peace is not at war with sadness or anger or disappointment. Peace can come as you respect the emotions and recognize that you need them in order to process your pain. As Brene Brown said, “We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”Peace is learning to make room for all of the emotions, knowing that they all work together to make us fully human.
3. Remember: It’s All Temporary
Finding peace in the present moment is hindered when we let ourselves wander down the toxic path of thoughts that tell us this situation or feeling will never end. Set aside the negative talk and remind yourself that this feeling, situation, or uncertainty is temporary. Light will come again. You will find your way. Every time in the past that you have ever wondered how you’d make it through, you always have, and you will again.
4. Bring in Small Acts of Mindfulness or Meditation
When we think of mindfulness or meditation, we often think of a clear room with a yoga mat and calming zen music with dedicated time to spend centering ourselves. While this is lovely and works well for many, it is not the only way to experience mindfulness or to practice meditation. We can work these practices into our lives in small and simple ways. Choosing a mantra to repeat every time we wash our hands can be a way to bring mindfulness to everyday activities. Instead of scrolling social media when we get a few minutes alone, we can hop on a meditation app like Headspace or InsightTimer. We can go on a walk and focus on our senses: sight, sound, smell, touch. Or do something creative. These are all ways to pull ourselves into the present moment and focus on what's in front of us.
5. Lower the Bar
If there’s one thing that will constantly steal our peace, it’s perfectionism. Perfectionism causes us to get stuck ruminating on how things should be. When we lower the bar and give ourselves permission to do our imperfect or messy best in the moment, we begin to find our way forward. Lowering expectations lets us find “partial” solutions” that can bring some clarity or comfort in the moment instead of stalling out waiting on the perfect solution. We may be surprised to find that the partial solutions are often all we really needed. The Gifts of Imperfection is a must-read for anyone who struggles to see the beauty in lowering the bar.
Whatever emotions you’re feeling or hardship you’re walking through, they do not mean you are broken, they mean you are human. And giving yourself permission to feel at peace in the moment is an act of showing up for yourself with courage and kindness.