Health Habits that Lead to Inner Peace

health-habits-yoga

Inner peace is something most Westerners struggle with. We lead busy lives, working jobs we don’t necessarily like, eating with convenience over health in mind, and trying to squeeze time in for a social life. The average American day is a recipe for stress, anxiety, and depression. There’s a reason these are considered diseases of the developed world. Here are a few habits you can cultivate to soothe your mind and find a little serenity.

Meditation is Popular for a Good Reason

Meditation and yoga are commonly associated with new age movements and hippies but in actuality, any form of meditation is hugely beneficial. Meditation is very easy to learn provided you dedicate yourself to practicing daily. Start with five minutes per day and gradually increase the time until you’ve arrived at a satisfactory length. The standard is between 30 and 45 minutes, but the best part about meditation is you can tailor it to suit your needs.

Yoga is a good next step for inner peace. In its true form, yoga is a combination of meditation and exercise. Yoga used solely for exercise without the mindfulness aspect is both culturally appropriative and less beneficial. Seek a yoga teacher or studio that practices genuine yoga. After a few classes, you can easily begin practicing at home. Learning the key poses are all you really need for beginner yoga. If classes are out of your budget, YouTube has some great beginner yoga series.

Walk A Dog, Any Dog

Dogs are a wonderful addition to your home. They are highly attuned to human emotions and can serve as excellent reducers of stress, depression, and anxiety. Furthermore, dogs are a good way to ensure you stay active. Dogs require regular exercise and interaction with other dogs. This prompts you to get up and go out on walks or to dog parks. Both the dog itself and the exercise it offers you will guarantee a mood boost and increase in physical health.

If your situation does not allow you to own a dog, there are still ways for you to benefit from what they have to offer. By offering dog walking and dog boarding, people are not only able to spend time with dogs, but also able reduce their stress and increasing energy levels. However, at the end of the day, the dog goes home to an owner who pays for its needs and houses it for you. This is an ideal set-up for people who either cannot afford a dog or are simply too busy to keep one.

Remember There is Always Another Side

Americans are often prone to anger and frustration. We work frustrating jobs and drive alongside others who seem as though they should not have passed their driving tests. Yet one of the best things you can do to maintain serenity in your daily life is to consider the alternatives. For example, when a person cuts you off in traffic, rather than clinging to the irritation their action caused, think about what else could have made them behave irresponsibly.

Maybe their child screamed, distracting them from their surroundings. Maybe they saw a nail in the road and needed to get out of the way. Try to see any possible option beyond “They are rude and terrible drivers.”

The same policy can be applied to your job. When a colleague fails to complete a task, rather than thinking they’re lazy or stupid, consider what might be going on in their personal life. Something might be happening that is preventing them from working efficiently. Perhaps a loved one is sick. Or maybe they’re just so busy they forgot that particular task. It is best to see the potential positive in everything rather than the assumed negative.

Inner peace is hard won in the modern world. But a few habits to remove you from negative or stressful situations can go a long way. Exercise, meditate, adopt a dog, and work to change your mindset. Clinging to stress and frustration does nothing but hurt you. Release your grip and find a little peace.

Image via Pixabay by lifedeathlife

What Martin Luther King, Jr. Taught Us About Nobility

thich nhat hanh quotes

About a decade ago I came across a photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Thich Nhat Hanh, a beloved Zen Master.

At the time I didn’t know much about this Buddhist from Vietnam, but in further research I found that Dr. King believed in Nhat Hanh’s message to the extent of nominating him for a Nobel peace prize.

While many would have nominated Dr. King for a Nobel peace prize (myself included), his selfless act of presenting Hanh to the people of Norway of a leader of peace truly shows King as noble One himself.

Below is the actual letter written from Dr. King to the Nobel Institute. A remarkable testament of nobility, indeed.

———

January 25, 1967

The Nobel Institute
Drammesnsveien 19
Oslo, NORWAY

Gentlemen:

As the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate of 1964, I now have the pleasure of proposing to you the name of Thich Nhat Hanh for that award in 1967.

I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize than this gentle Buddhist monk from Vietnam.

This would be a notably auspicious year for you to bestow your Prize on the Venerable Nhat Hanh. Here is an apostle of peace and non-violence, cruelly separated from his own people while they are oppressed by a vicious war which has grown to threaten the sanity and security of the entire world.

Because no honor is more respected than the Nobel Peace Prize, conferring the Prize on Nhat Hanh would itself be a most generous act of peace. It would remind all nations that men of good will stand ready to lead warring elements out of an abyss of hatred and destruction. It would re-awaken men to the teaching of beauty and love found in peace. It would help to revive hopes for a new order of justice and harmony.

I know Thich Nhat Hanh, and am privileged to call him my friend. Let me share with you some things I know about him. You will find in this single human being an awesome range of abilities and interests.

He is a holy man, for he is humble and devout. He is a scholar of immense intellectual capacity. The author of ten published volumes, he is also a poet of superb clarity and human compassion. His academic discipline is the Philosophy of Religion, of which he is Professor at Van Hanh, the Buddhist University he helped found in Saigon. He directs the Institute for Social Studies at this University. This amazing man also is editor of Thien My, an influential Buddhist weekly publication. And he is Director of Youth for Social Service, a Vietnamese institution which trains young people for the peaceable rehabilitation of their country.

Thich Nhat Hanh today is virtually homeless and stateless. If he were to return to Vietnam, which he passionately wishes to do, his life would be in great peril. He is the victim of a particularly brutal exile because he proposes to carry his advocacy of peace to his own people. What a tragic commentary this is on the existing situation in Vietnam and those who perpetuate it.

The history of Vietnam is filled with chapters of exploitation by outside powers and corrupted men of wealth, until even now the Vietnamese are harshly ruled, ill-fed, poorly housed, and burdened by all the hardships and terrors of modern warfare.

Thich Nhat Hanh offers a way out of this nightmare, a solution acceptable to rational leaders. He has traveled the world, counseling statesmen, religious leaders, scholars and writers, and enlisting their support. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.

I respectfully recommend to you that you invest his cause with the acknowledged grandeur of the Nobel Peace Prize of 1967. Thich Nhat Hanh would bear this honor with grace and humility.

Sincerely,

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Text courtesy of The Community for Mindful Living