Most people desire peace in their life – a healthy, conflict-free way of living. But then, reality pops in and throws in all sorts of unexpected twists and turns.
What do you think of when you have peace? Some words that come to mind might be tranquil, calm, restful, at ease, contentment, or harmony. Now, how do you feel when you don’t have peace? You might think of the words stressed out, agitation, confusion, conflict, or noise. There’s no question which one is more appealing, but how do you get to the peaceful state when life happens?
You can read all kinds of things about deep breathing, mindfulness, and guided meditation. All of these can very helpful and a great start. But do they provide peace that lasts? The answer to finding true peace could be a combination of those stress-reducing activities and something deeper – your faith.
Start with stress reduction
One of the most simple things you can do on your path to peace is take a break and breathe deeply. Deep breathing sends a signal to the brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends signals to the body to reduce the heart rate, decrease your respiration, and lower your blood pressure. It helps reduce stress tremendously.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teaches individuals how to cultivate and increase their self-awareness, body-awareness, emotional regulation, and attention regulation. This obviously can lead to stress reduction. Mindful Meditation is now offered at more than 250 medical centers worldwide to help integrate health and healing. Mindfulness Meditation is clinically proven to help with concentration, boost the immune system, support weight loss, improve mood and wellbeing, lower anxiety, reduce sleep disturbances, regulate chronic pain, and improve cardiovascular health.
These stress-reduction activities can work wonders for your physical and mental health, but they may not be enough for finding true, long-lasting peace.
Find true peace with faith
What is the difference between stress reduction and peace? Peace is more than a way to avoid or reduce things that upset us. It’s more than a lack of conflict or the absence of war. It is a way of living in proper relationship between God and man – and man and man. It comes or goes in little ways throughout our days. The Bible tells us to live in peace with all men as far as we are able. True peace is a calm contentment that is exhibited through love, patience, kindness, gentleness, and compassion.
Cultivating your faith can lead to a clearer life purpose, give your life meaning, and help grow you into better personal relationships. By clarifying what’s most important, you can focus less on the unimportant things and focus more on your life’s purpose and make a difference where you are. This can lead to valuable inner peace during times of trouble.
When you realize you are part of a greater whole, you can more easily release control to the God who loves you and cares about you. You can know there is purpose in everything that happens, even when we don’t understand why. People in a faith community usually have a support system that prays with them and for them, rejoices in good times, and helps during difficult times. This, too, can help give you peace of mind.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus,” says Philippians 4:6-7.
The fruit of the Spirit of peace also provides the inner peace of mind and contentment found by living God’s way of life – even in less-than-peaceful situations. When we trust that God has our best interest in mind and we give him thanks as we make our requests known to him, His peace that passes all understanding will guard our hearts and minds. One life, One body, Care for it!