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Simple Ways to bring Peace into Your Daily Life

A book on a table with a cup of coffee
Living a slow life is my daily goal.  But wow, is that a hard thing to do.

The biggest factor preventing me from living this way is... me. I am my own worst enemy. While I desire to slow down, and do things that bring value to my world (and not what the world says is valuable), actually doing this is like fighting a fight I never wanted to be a part of. 

We live in a "fast" world, where what we buy is delivered to us within hours if we want (Amazon), or we can find answers to questions in seconds (Google), or where news and social media dominate our lives because it's in our faces, on our phones and everywhere we turn. Our world doesn't cater to a slower pace of life. It's a fast, now-now-now, fast fashion, buy more, do more, and say more place. We're all living in a 24-hour casino, calling it "normal," and wondering why we suffer. 

To carve out the slow life I want - a life that centers more on only doing what I love, being with people I love, and doing things that matter in a more meaningful time pattern - I have to daily remind myself what that looks like. And it doesn't look like anything the world wants for me. This slower life invites peace in our minds and hearts. Slow living is a return to living the life-giving way that nurtures our soul. I believe it's how we were made to live. 

Here are a few simple things you can do today - things I try to do every day - to root yourself back to your original design.

1. Read - Sit down and read. It may only be for twenty minutes, but just that can lower your heart rate and relax your muscles. A study done in 2009 by the University of Sussex claims that reading can lower your stress levels by 68%. I can use that! Read something that can take you away; something that is fun and engaging. Just a little goes a long way. I can feel my blood pressure going down just writing this.

2. Exercise - I do yoga twice a week and am so relaxed afterward. It is one of the best things I've done for myself over the last ten years. If yoga isn't your thing, then take a walk, or go to the gym and work out your stress. It doesn't have to be high-intensity though. Slow and steady exercise is just as beneficial. If you want to go for a run, if that feels good to you, then do it! But any exercise will help bring back your peace.

3. Write - This is obviously something I do daily. I try to write daily, whether a single sentence or two thousand words. And I've written many blog posts on this topic. While it's a part of my career, it's also something that brings peace. Even writing out my to-do list for the day is therapeutic. Write a letter to a friend, send that text you've been meaning to send, or write a love note to your partner.

4. Cut the list- Speaking of to-do lists, this is something that needs to go. Or at least, severely limit it. I love crossing out things I need to do (and did!) but when the list is 15 deep, that's absurd. Triage your list. Put down the most important five things you need to do for the day - and no more - and work on that. If you find you have time to do other things you didn't write down, great. But, don't increase your stress load on a piece of paper. Let that list go (way down). If your list is too long, you're doing too much. Period. Find ways to opt out of activities and lessen your load. 

5. Sit for 15 minutes/ Meditate - And do nothing. I mean, just sit down, get a hot beverage, and don't read, watch TV, or scroll on your phone... or anything. Just sit and meditate or let your mind wander. It's not so easy. There's something about not doing anything that is very difficult; our society has taught us that multitasking is better than doing one thing at a time. But once accomplished, doing nothing is not just relaxing but rejuvenating. You're not wasting your time, you're recharging. Let yourself be by yourself and do nothing.

6. Get Rid of Something - Whether it's donating it, throwing it away, or finding a family member or friend to give it to, find one thing in your house that you can get rid of. It's not hard to do. I'm sure you could find more than one thing. But getting rid of just one thing a day brings back a type of control to your life. The bonus is it cleans your home, allows you to give something, and keeps you mindful of what you bring into your home.

Since reducing my stress load and bringing in peaceful actions throughout my day, I feel like a different person. In my opinion,  I believe the current frenetic pace of our world is unsustainable - something in each of our lives will suffer if we don't start to say "no" to activities that push us over the threshold of sanity. We weren't made to live with a constant desire for more or for the constant desire to do more activities without rest. It's a striving for... what? To keep up with the Joneses? Self-accomplishment?

And at what expense? Our health, finances, or our children? There is a causation to every choice and it affects us - and those around - us regardless of its positives or negatives.

Sure, life happens - kids, jobs, houses, spouses. But we can slow down enough to cobble together a life we want to live and not have to live. We were meant to give to others, we were meant to read slowly and move our bodies, we were meant to write out our thoughts and feelings, ideas and goals; we were meant to have a smaller to-do list. We were meant to enjoy our lives! Not race through them. 

We can accomplish things, do things we love and still live peaceful lives that are fruitful and abundant at a slower, more meaningful, and restful pace. By slowing down, we can bring peace back into the equation. But it comes down to choice. We must choose a slower life to reap the benefits a fast life can't give us. If you're looking for health, happiness, and peace, a slower pace might just be what you're looking for.