Finding Your Inner Peace

One of the special things about being in your 20's is that you're old enough to be considered an independent, young adult, but young enough to not quite have it all figured out. This time as a millennial can be an emotional roller coaster as you try to develop your brand, build your network, map out your life plan and ultimately figure out what purpose you want to serve in the world. With all of these thoughts comes a lot of distractions from outside sources that pressure you to live up to a certain standard or expectation. But the funny thing is, that nobody else knows you better than you, so how can anyone else even begin to try and understand what you, as an individual are going through? How can they tell you, how to be you? It doesn't really make sense, does it? Regardless, people will always have something to say, and that's their business and out of your control. One thing that you can control, however, is your inner peace. 

As you may or may not know, I'm really big on yoga and don't know where my mental space would be if I didn't practice it on a consistent basis. I did a Shanti practice the other day, which inspired me to write this post. Shanti, Sanskrit for peace, is something that I find to be an essential part of maintaining a healthy well-being. I believe finding inner peace is key because once you find the ability to be calm and blissful with yourself and where you are in your life, you are free. You are free of negative energy, negative thought and negative people. 

After deciding to take a year off upon graduating from college, I've been doing a lot of searching within myself, as I try to navigate my goals and how to achieve them. It's safe to say that these past few months have been nothing short of stressful, anxiety-ridden and have put me in a negative head space for a while. Don't let those social media smiles fool you, I have my problems just like any other person, I just choose not to showcase myself in those vulnerable positions on the Internet. Behind the scenes, however, I'm trying to navigate my own inner peace. Self-care and mental health is something that is so important and should be discussed, but it's also relative. The way I find my inner peace may not be the same way that you find your inner peace. 

To be honest, I don't have all the answers, and I wish there was a quick fix when it comes to navigating your mental and spiritual health, but the reality is that it's a journey and a lifestyle, not something that can be rushed. Although I haven't completely found my inner peace yet, I can give you a few methods I use to help me along the way. My hope is that it helps you, too. 

  1. Breathe!
    Hopefully you're already doing this, because otherwise I don't know how you're able to read my post. But in all seriousness it is so important to check in with your breath. You don't have to know anything about yoga or meditation - you can be at school, work or home. Just stop what you're doing, block out all the noise surrounding you and listen to the sounds of your breath. Even if you don't physically feel like smiling, try to tap into your inner smile, or the happiness within you. Inhale lots of love in and exhale lots of love out. I personally like to practice Ujjayi breathing, but if you're not familiar with this, then as I said, just focus on the frequency of your breath, envision your personal happy place and explore that space. Think about something you love. This type of in depth, regulated focus on the breath can go on for a several minutes or a few seconds, but I can guarantee you will feel a difference. By spending time just breathing you are able to get in touch with yourself, understand why you feel the way you feel and potentially find a solution to combating any internal battles you're fighting. 
     

  2. Set an Intention. 
    An intention is any word, sentence or phrase that you want. Most of my anxiety and stress stems from me having too much to do and having no idea where to start. Depending on how you like to plan out your day, whether that be via a calendar on your phone or writing things down in a notebook, I urge you to also say a mantra aloud to yourself. For example, it can be something as simple as, "I will go to bed by XYZ o'clock today." If you've been feeling insecure about yourself, it may help to say, "I am strong." For me personally, I like to say the mantra, "everything is as it should be." By saying this aloud, I have confirmed it to myself and the universe, which as a result will set it in motion for the rest of the day. Setting intentions enables you to hold yourself more accountable for your actions and feelings, but in a way that makes you feel successful and ultimately, at peace. 
     

  3. Take time for YOURSELF.
    Do you find yourself constantly surrounded by people or do you prefer to hang solo? Either way, it doesn't matter about the presence of people or lack thereof, but rather it's about how you're channeling positive energy in the environment you're in. Whether you're an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, I find it essential to be able to feel comfortable with yourself. I like to take time for myself by listening to music, unplugging from social media, brewing some tea and curling up with a good read. If you don't know how to properly treat yourself, then how can you do the same for others? So next time you're feeling at your lowest, please take time for yourself, even if it's for a few minutes. There's nothing cool, trendy or sexy about living off caffeine, rarely sleeping, never exercising and having poor eating habits. Take care of yourself. There's going to be times where no one will show up for you, so you have to show up for yourself. You deserve it. 

How do you or did you find your inner peace? What does inner peace mean to you? Leave a comment and let me know. If you don't take anything else from this post, I'll leave you with this: if you want to have a great body, you have to take care of your mind first. So if you feel yourself wallowing in self-doubt or heading in a downward spiral, just remember that you are not alone. I see you, I feel you and we are all in this together. Peace out.

-Kaamilah