How to Find Peace of Mind in a Restless and Troubled World

(Image: Chris Fort)

The world is full of uncertainties—whether they’re perceived or just real.

Have you mastered how to find peace of mind already?

It all starts when you wake up. If you’re not a morning person like me, turning the alarm clock off is a curse. What happens if I didn’t go to work today?

You hurriedly eat your breakfast, while thinking you shouldn’t be late at work today.

You cross the street. And you find yourself always checking your peripheral vision, because last night you learned from the news there’s some wanted crook who roams your city. I should get home early tonight.

These buses run so fast. Why aren’t there speed bumps on every freaking road?

You pass by a newsstand and wonder whether your local and national politicians will deliver what they’ve promised. What’s going to happen to this country? A change in administration? Guess it’s about time.

You reach the office. Ah, five minutes early. You wonder whether the boss is already around … or wonder, why am I here? How long am I going to be here? The boss isn’t around. You’d like to hit Facebook and kill time, but you remember the unfinished work yesterday. The boss won’t like it.

You daydream about where you’d be if you got fired. No, I got this. I’m going to starve if I got fired.

The eight sweet hours pass. That was fast, you think, but you’re worried about whether you did a great job today, as you walk out the door.

You wait for a cab, and remember the crook you were thinking about that morning. These hostile people.


(Image: U.S. Army)

What if something terrible happens to me? What if I mess it all up at work? How am I going to tell it to [someone important]?

You get home, and you remember rainy season’s just about to start. (Yeah, rainy season.) A part of the roof isn’t watertight anymore; it needs fixing. I’ve got no choice. I have to use the funds and get this fixed ASAP.

But I ain’t got that much money for now. I’ve been saving up for travel. I haven’t travelled for a while now. Should I let the opportunity pass again? Yeah, I guess. I’m still young anyway. There’ll be time for that later. Well, there should be.

You dismiss the idea, and then start preparing dinner. You’ve been cooking for a while now for you’ve learned homemade meals should be healthier than those you buy outside. I’ve got no time tonight, I’m tired. I should probably just sleep it away. Damn, I haven’t exercised this week yet!

You crash on the couch and watch TV instead. It’s a good thing you’re dog-tired. If not, you might not get a good night’s sleep. There goes the pang of truth: you need to be exhausted so you can sleep.

You’re not thinking about something in particular, but there’s just something. You don’t really know what it is … but you’re worried. After all, the whole day has been nothing more than routine.

Anyway, tomorrow’s going to be another day. Weekend’s approaching. And before you know it, it’s Monday again …

Is something bothering you but you can’t tell what it is? Do you think you’re handling life pretty well, but there’s this void nothing seems to fill up? Are you anxious? What for?

Sometimes, peace of mind is all you don’t have. I’m going to show you what may work even how restless and troubled the world, or at least the one around you, is. You can find peace of mind.

So what do you do when the outside is simply too noisy you can’t hear yourself think—or worse, you start getting confused … about pretty much everything?

Identify the things you want to, and must, do—and do them.

Every day you’ll only hear too much information that trying to digest it all will leave you insane. And you won’t know whether something will work for you until you try it.

So write down your goals—the goals important and dear to you, not those important and dear to other people. Break them down to easier steps—and do them.

You’ll only get discouraged if you’ll wait for some “miracle” to happen to you. It never works that way. You create your own miracle—by setting goals, by designing your life.

to do christmas

(Image: Jon Curnow)

“But what if I fail?” you may ask. Think of it this way: You’ll have peace of mind in knowing you’ll have done your best for something you genuinely want, rather than in wandering and trying out something that grabs your attention, when the feeling is “just right.”

Failure isn’t the end. Rather, look at what you become in times of failure.

Face your worries. Goals are not made without any sorts of worries, and you’re going to have to deal with them. Continue anyway.

If you have to take care of your body (oh, wait … you have to!), then set an hour doing some cardio-exercises for three days a week.

I guarantee you that you can generate a list of the things you want to happen in your life. Some of the steps you’ll tackle will bore you—do them anyway.

That horrible thing you saw on the news? Don’t talk about it.

Precisely why I don’t like watching the news. The news, at least which I’m aware of, talk about, like, 98.50% bad stuff, and only 1.50% worth watching. I believe the human race is an incredibly empathic race, but the news seems to imply otherwise. Add that to the link between watching TV, and loneliness and depression.

And besides, trying to assimilate all information you come across—and talk about it further with other people—will only get you confused. Before you know it, you’re overthinking already.

Ah, overthinking. I tend to become an overthinker myself, and I can tell you it doesn’t look like peace of mind.

It’s nice to talk to people, to friends, but talking about an uplifting topic would be nicer; it avoids negativity—there’s too much of this around already. Unless it’s really, really important to you and the other person, promote peace of mind by not bringing up horrible topics for discussion.

Meditation: It never gets old.

Have you tried it already?

More and more studies seem to reinforce how great it is to do this simple exercise. It’s easy and can be done anywhere, even in not-so-quiet places.

Although some say there’s a “Dark Knight” side of meditation (rare; if you can’t experience the popular benefits of meditation, you may want to seek the help of a professional), its benefits are huge for you to not give it a shot.

meditating dog

(Image: Eddie Moto)

Do you pray regularly? Prayer is a form of meditation; prayer has proven similar benefits as well.

A study shows that meditative exercises can help U.S. Marine Corps personnel prepare for and recover from life-or-death engagements. Incorporating these exercises can help them with stress-related issues such as PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), depression and anxiety.

Meditation can also change your brain, literally—in a good way.

Want to have peace of mind, or a healthier brain? Meditate on it.

Permit yourself to do nothing … or something else.

I’m an advocate for this. But not too much. Breaks are an essential for success. Otherwise, burnout may disguise itself as the wrongest decision you’ve ever made. Burnout clouds the mind.

I use my days off to do something else. For example, I play the guitar so I meet up with the band. Or I watch a movie. Or just be in the moment by the beach.

When you place yourself in a different environment, you realize you can have peace of mind whenever you want. You could step away from all the chaos and acknowledge the truth of this thing called peace of mind.

Just remember, volunteering is great for your well-being. If you want to take a break, try to make it more meaningful by giving your time away for other people.

Eat a raisin.

Mindfulness. Living in the moment without judgment. Forget about your worries (for you can set another time just for them!). Experience life by focusing on what’s in the present.

What has raisin got to do with this?

Well, I must admit this excerpt amused me; it discusses how you can be mindful eating a raisin. From touching it to smelling it to treating it like something you’ve never seen before. It may sound mumbo jumbo but it’s actually a helpful exercise—because you can use the same principle on just about anything else.

Remember you have to do what you have to do? Apparently, that’s not enough. You have to be in the moment doing them, finding purpose in them, with all your senses … to strengthen your peace of mind. Peace of mind means embracing everything there is in doing things you’re born to do.

What’s the use of doing something when your mind is somewhere else? If that’s the case, you may be better off doing something different … or you may want to reassess your goals. Anyway, it’s like what Tim Ferriss says: time without your attention is time wasted.

As long as you’re not hurting someone, don’t give a flying hoot about what others think.

You’re not really trying to please them, are you? You’re not doing this for them. You’re doing it for yourself. I get it, it might be for your loved ones, but training yourself to be able to get things done is doing it for yourself. You help yourself first before providing that very same help for others.

However, the people you love may not understand what you’re doing. You may think they’re not proud of you. It could get difficult because the people most important to you tend to be able to hurt you the most.

But as long as you’re not hurting them, just carry on with what you believe support your goals. This is but another example of pursuing your dream even if nobody believes in, or understands, it except you—which is all that matters.

So don’t go chasing glamor and prestige only to please people. Stop thinking what they think about you—it won’t matter anyway. You’ll get praised or ridiculed—it’s all pretty much the same.

People tend to look for results immediately, but you know that’s not how everything works. In most cases, hard work takes time.

Unclutter your life.

A study shows that physical clutter could obstruct our brain from focusing and processing information.

However, I believe this study shouldn’t apply only to physical clutter.

  • Avoid negative people so you can be productive rather than listen to what they chronically complain about.
  • Don’t gather all information (it’s impossible) before making a decision. Use your gut instincts in determining whether you already have what you need. You can’t know everything, but you can make good use of what you learn along the way. The last-minute bits of information tend to become clutter.
  • Manage, overcome or give up your bad habits so you can set the time for the important things instead. For example, limit your TV time and channel your energy to honing a skill.

If only you’ve got all the time in the world, then there should be no need for uncluttering … but that’s not the case.

Identify the things that seem to slow you down, and try to eliminate them. If you can’t, apply Pareto’s Principle, 20/80 your life. Then focus on what’s left.

clutter mantra

(Image: Sean MacEntee)

Avoid overthinking, it hinders performance. When you’re caught in an overthinking session, remind yourself and get out of it. This is a situation in which mantras can work.

Use mantras to empower yourself. Use mantras when you’re in the middle of action, not only when you’re in bed. For example, whenever you overthink, tell yourself, “Snap out of it. You’re bigger than that.” It helps. It’s not the solution. But saying such things becomes a reminder, like waking you up from a bad dream.

It’s about selective ignorance. And in this case, ignorance is peace of mind.

Forgiveness is letting the past go.

You’ve arrived at this point. Today is the result of everything you’ve done in the past, whether directly or indirectly.

However, you can’t change the past, until perhaps time machines are mass-produced, for real. All you have is now. You don’t even have to torture your brain thinking about the future, as long as you’re taking the steps right now.

Forgive yourself for your mistakes. Forgive yourself for your “limitations.” Forgive yourself for having been naive.

It’s okay.

And then, forgive others who’ve wronged you. Forgive those who didn’t believe in you. Forgive those who gave up on you.

Whatever happened, you have the choice to move forward … or even backward. Every day is a choice. A brand new choice.

Avoiding forgiveness is one of the reasons the world (literally or not) is restless and troubled. Many people are either not aware they’re trapped in the limbo, or are simply choosing not to let go.

You can have peace of mind even if you’ve had an ugly experience in the past—if you choose to. Believe in the power of choice.

Accept, but don’t get too attached.

Work your way to your success, but remember it will take time. Until then, you can’t really fight your circumstances—you have to accept reality.

You postpone buying things you want, because you’re investing in something better. You skip weekend parties so you can use your time for improving yourself. Some people will criticize you … it might be tougher at this point but well, it’s just reality.

A lot of times, reality bites, especially when you’re giving your all working your butt off. But this doesn’t mean you should attach yourself to your circumstances.

laughing hat girl

(Image: LaurenDaveyx)

James Clear explains the three stages of failure in life and work. He points out that we should keep going without attaching ourselves to our failures. If we do, a failure might just seem the end of it all, when the truth is we only have to look for other ways around it, we only have to be more creative.

The feeling of failure may suck. But just think that a failure isn’t really failure. Yes, that’s right. It’s just an event that tells you you should try again, only this time trying another set of strategies.

Try “Alternate Nostril Breathing.”

You may have heard about deep breathing and its benefits, but did you know that at any given time, we have a dominant nostril?

This is how “Alternate Nostril Breathing” is done:

To practice, place the index and middle finger of the right hand on the center of the eyebrow, and place the thumb on the right nostril, and the ring finger and pinky on the left nostril. The left hand rests on the lap, palm facing up. Take a deep breath in and, closing the right nostril with your thumb, breathe out through the left nostril. Then take a deep breath in through the left nostril, close the left nostril with your ring finger and pinky at the end of the inhale, and exhale through the right nostril. Take a deep breath in through the right nostril and, closing the right nostril with the thumb, exhale on the left side, and start over. Do this with your eyes closed for about five minutes.

“Alternate Nostril Breathing” yields a balanced oxygenation of both sides of the brain.

You could also take note of the breathing pattern you experience whenever you’re having peace of mind—and imitate it later during tough times. When you do that distinct respiration pattern, the particular feeling or state (peace of mind) can be revived.

Deep breathing exercises bring peace of mind. It has been found they can decrease PTSD in veterans, and a weeklong exercise can yield positive impact lasting a year.

Think About It

Allow yourself to enjoy peace of mind. You deserve it. You need it.

Don’t depend it on the restlessness and troubledness that surround you—just do the best you can, every time. Nothing would feel better than in knowing you get up every morning, follow a nice schedule or to-do list, develop the right skills and produce quality work. It may not be the best work, but it will be better than the last.

Keep striving to be better.

On the other hand, you’ve already got a lot on your plate—you want to solve problems, you want to generate awesome ideas, you want to contribute to make the world better. Get busy with those things.

Don’t allow those that won’t help. It’s like eating nutritious over junk food—when you can. Like reading a kick-ass book over watching reality TV—when you can. Like not wasting time—when you can.

And the truth is, you can do all of that. You can do it. You can choose.

apple orchard

(Image: Evgeniy Isaev)

Speak Your Mind

What is peace of mind to you? How do you find or maintain it? Would love to hear about it in the comments!

Please share this if you’re all for peace of mind!


  1. Kathy @ SMART Living

    Hi Ethan! All of your suggestions in this post are GREAT. Thank you. Fortunately I do practice most of them but like most people I can always use the reminder and encouragement. I so agree that if we all practiced them we would achieve the peace of mind that we all seek. ~Kathy

    • Ethan Bridges

      Thanks, Kathy!

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