I once attended a lecture on stress management. The instructor held up a glass of water and asked the audience, “How heavy is this glass of water?” The answers varied greatly, ranging from one ounce to 16 ounces.
The lecturer answered, “The absolute weight of the glass of water doesn’t matter. What matters is how long I try to hold it. Holding it for a minute or two won’t be an issue. But if I hold it for an hour, my arm will ache. And if I try to hold it for the whole day, I’ll need medical help. The weight of the glass of water doesn’t change. But the longer I try to hold it, the heavier it feels.”
He correlated this situation to stress management. “If you carry your burdens around all the time, they’ll become increasingly heavy and you won’t be able to carry on. You have to set your burden down and rest for a while before holding them again. When you’re refreshed, the burden will be easier to hold.”
Sometimes the simplest things are the most profound. Here are six simple ways for you to increase your own peace of mind.
- Complete your most unpleasant tasks first.
It’s tempting to check the easiest chores and tasks off your to-do list first. However, delaying daunting tasks is like holding that glass of water in your outstretched arm. Nothing happens at first. But holding it for hours or days will feel more and more stressful.
Complete your most annoying chores and tasks first. Then you’re free to enjoy the increased peace of mind and productivity for the rest of the day.
- Release things you can’t control.
For example, you have outdoor plans with friends, but it starts raining at the last minute. How do you react? Some people get angry and upset. They find the closest person and complain, “It isn’t fair that it started to rain. These things always happen to me!” But complaining won’t accomplish anything. The weather won’t change because they threw a fit.
So be flexible, and do what you can to turn the situation into a positive one. Go for a walk in the park anyways, because rain has its own levels of awesomeness. Or gather with your friends at a coffee shop. Make the most out of the situation you can control, and don’t waste time worrying about what you can’t change.
- Don’t concern yourself with what other people think.
I used to feel very self-conscious about how I danced. I rarely went out dancing with my friends. When I went out with them, I wouldn’t dance. Instead, I’d just stand awkwardly off to the side. I was too concerned about what other people would think.
Then one day I decided I’d had enough of that. The next time my friends and I went out, I went out on the dance floor and danced as if nobody was watching me. The funny thing was, nobody was watching. As a bonus, it felt like people liked me more because I was having so much fun.
Don’t be concerned about what other people think about you. They’re likely too busy worrying about what other people are thinking about them!
- Make a simple list of three things that you love.
This is a great exercise if you’re ever bored while you’re waiting in line at the grocery store or you’re stuck in traffic. You can immediately transform your boredom into peace of mind and happiness! It doesn’t have to be complicated. All you have to do is list three simple things about any component of your life that you love, such as, “Three things I love about the room I’m in right now,” or “Three things I love about this week.”
- Leave work and all it involves at work.
Before you return home from work, set down the burdens of work down. Don’t carry them home. You can pick them up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you carry, set them down as often as you can.
- Look outside and take one deep breath.
You don’t even have to go outside or open the window. Just look outside and take one deep breath. Focus only on that breath, and forget everything else. This technique sounds simplistic, but it will instantly boost your peace of mind.
Because it’s the last tip, you can try it right after you finish reading this. Just look outside, and take a deep breath. Focus only on the breath and nothing else. Your serenity, calmness, and peace of mind will immediately increase. Breathe in, breathe out.