35 Ways to Live a More Peaceful Life

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Deadlines, schedules, social media, expectations... There are stressors and sources of anxiety coming from almost everywhere, if you look for them. Getting caught up in all the pressure and craziness of everyday life is easy to do and difficult to climb out of.

Some stressors you simply can't avoid. Work, for example, is kind of a necessity for most people. And family members can stress you out, no matter how much you try to avoid it. Knowing how to handle your emotions when you're particularly wired is definitely helpful. But what if you could prevent that chaos from striking in the first place?

It's worth learning how to do. A few simple tweaks to your lifestyle could add mindfulness and calm to your day, without giving up much in return. By increasing the peaceful nature of your lifestyle, you can actually help prevent health problems and foster more meaningful relationships.

Everyone's idea of a peaceful life is going to be different. While some people might crave solitude, you might find peace in large crowds. While some find painting to be meditative, it might stress you out. But no matter who you are, these 35 little actions can bring a stronger sense of peace to your life.


Turn off your phone notifications

Your phone is always on - and whether you realize it or not, it's almost always on your mind, as well. Notifications allow for phones to bug you 24/7. Over time, that can occupy a whole lot of your brain space. One study showed that after just 24 hours without phone notifications turned on, people felt more productive and had an easier time concentrating at work. In addition to your productivity, here are 11 other reasons you should turn off your phone now and then.


Turn off background noise

Maybe you always have the TV on in the house or you're used to walking around with headphones. Before you know it, you've spent the whole day listening to background noise and haven't had even a second of silence. Try turning it off every now and then and see what happens. You'll allow your thoughts to naturally fill the empty space.


Make time to read for pleasure

Reading really does impact your brain. Studies show that reading books increases brain connectivity and creates what's called grounded cognition - literally making you feel like you're in another characters' shoes. This phenomenon can increase empathy in those who read. One editor tried reading for just 20 minutes every day, and felt some surprisingly strong effects!


Spend time alone

Valuable relationships and social activities are hugely impactful to your mental (and physical) health. But there are also some health benefits to spending time all by yourself. Spending time alone gives you mental space to figure out what you really want in life and who you really are. In order to foster peace and happiness, it's important to have a good balance of alone time and time with others.


Clear your schedule

Keeping a schedule can be a great way to organize your time, but don't let your schedule fill up completely. Downtime is important to keep your stress in check and just remain sane in general. Take a day or two out of your week and just clear your entire schedule. Spend the day doing whatever will help cultivate a sense of peace in the rest of your week: Cook, do some laundry, watch some television, or simply lie around and do nothing.


Learn to say no

The word "no" is one of the most powerful tools you have to foster better mental health. Saying yes to every task that comes your way can leave you feeling overworked, resentful, and tired. You know how much you can handle. Accept opportunities that seem fruitful for you and decline the ones you don't have space for.


End toxic relationships

A toxic relationship can take a serious toll on your mental and physical health. Is this person adding more stress to your life than they are happiness? If so, it may be time to end the relationship. You deserve to seek relationships that feel supportive instead.


Keep a clean house

Cluttered surroundings create a cluttered brain. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to put things away so cleaning doesn't pile up into a huge endeavor.


Use essential oils

It may sound flowery and idealistic, but essential oils really can make a difference in your mood. They've been used therapeutically for centuries to treat everything from back pain to chronic stress. Research shows that lavender essential oils can help you fall asleep and may even reduce anxiety. You can put a drop on your skin or invest in a diffuser to use in your home.


Spend time outside

Fresh air and vitamin D have the power to transform your mood. Even if it's for five minutes during your lunch break, make a point to spend time outdoors.


Walk to work

If your commute isn't too terrible, consider walking or biking to work when the weather permits. You'll get outside and have some quiet time with your thoughts as you walk. For some, it can be a meditative way to start the day.


Learn to cook simple meals

Eating well doesn't have to be stressful. Practice a couple of quick recipes to have up your sleeve when life gets busy. You'll order less takeout, save money, and eat foods you really enjoy! Additionally, there's something inherently relaxing about the process of cooking itself. Putting together ingredients, trying new flavors... It's productive and meditative.


Get rid of belongings you don't need

There's a reason minimalism has become such a trend lately. Getting rid of the items that don't bring you positivity or add to your life in any way can feel immensely freeing. Many of those unnecessary items are doing nothing but weighing you down - literally. Donate belongings you no longer use, or gift them to a friend. You can even sell some things to make a little extra cash.


Keep a consistent sleep schedule

Sleep affects more than just your energy levels - it affects your mental health, physical health, and ability to process emotions. You may not always stick to it, but try to pick a bedtime that allows for the eight hours of uninterrupted sleep your body really needs.


Use a planner

When the events and other time commitments start to build up, it can feel chaotic trying to remember them all. That's where a planner comes in handy. Write down what to expect from your day before it starts so you don't stress. You may also want to add a line or two at the top of your planner to write a daily intention or something that you're grateful for. You decide your mindset, remember that!


Schedule time for your hobbies

It's hard to find space for the things you enjoy, but it's well worth it. If you find that you never have time to pursue hobbies outside of work, try penciling in an hour or two in your schedule. Treat this time like any other appointment. Time invested in yourself is never wasted!



Meditation is a simple way to train your mind to tend towards a more peaceful outlook on life and its many dramas. A meditation practice teaches acceptance and patience, both of which help to cultivate a sense of peace from within. Though some meditations are lengthy and difficult, others are extremely simple. Start with an easy one, and remember that not every meditation is going to feel great. Give it a few tries before you ditch the practice altogether.


Reduce your caffeine intake

Make no mistake - coffee is actually good for you. But in those who experience anxiety, caffeine can make it worse. If you're feeling especially anxious, try cutting back and see if it makes an impact. Tea also can have calming effects; consider one of these relaxing beverages instead of your morning cup of joe.


Turn off the news

The news has been more than a little stressful to keep up with lately. As much as you want to be an informed member of society, it's important to take care of yourself, too. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, give yourself space. Turn off the news. Change the channel. You can catch up with what you missed later.


Don't procrastinate

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You'll get on that. But seriously - start checking things off your to-do list and stop letting it pile higher. Ease a little anxiety by getting things done and off of your brain. There's nothing peaceful about cramming at the last minute.


Find joy in the little things

The brain is an interesting thing - negative thoughts attract more negative thoughts, and positive thoughts attract positive ones. Make a point to appreciate the little positive things that pop up every day, whether it's a good friend being there for you, the color of the sky, or your favorite song. You might be surprised at the shift that could happen in your whole day!


Be kind to yourself

What does the dialogue sound like inside your brain? If you're like most people, it's probably pretty self-critical. Treat yourself the way you would treat a friend or someone else you cared about. Forgive yourself when you aren't perfect. Would you berate a friend for slipping up during a work meeting, or would you comfort them and tell them it's not that big of a deal? You deserve the same level of care and respect from yourself.


Worry less about what other people think

Sure, it's easier said than done. But really, who cares what people think? Live your life the way you want to, prioritize your interests, and don't let others' expectations bring you down. When you get rid of the risk of others' disapproval, you're far more likely to live a happier, peaceful life.


Find an artistic outlet

Take up an artistic hobby you enjoy and give yourself permission to be bad at it. Don't worry about creating something beautiful or impressive; an artistic outlet should be peaceful, not pressured. It could be painting, singing, writing, or even adult coloring.


Find enjoyable forms of movement

Exercise releases happy hormones and can help balance difficult emotions. But many people are steered away from exercise simply because they don't believe that there are types of exercise they enjoy. You don't have to attend a formal fitness class - though, with so many different kinds out there, you probably could find one you enjoy. But exercise can be simple, like going for walks when it's nice out or swimming in the ocean when you go to the beach.


Take time to reflect

Self-reflection is important for many reasons, but one of them is to help mitigate any chaos you perceive from managing your life. Taking time to step back and view things from a non-judgmental perspective can help you to identify the source of your restlessness or catch the habits that are stressing you out.


Identify bad habits

Certain habits you have that you probably don't even think about could be worsening anxiety or stressing you out. Identify which they are and try adapting your lifestyle. Does it make a difference? You may start to feel more relaxed and at peace.


Accept people for who they are

You can try to change people, but you probably won't get very far. You're likely to end up disappointed and frustrated - not to mention, you may lose a couple valuable relationships while you're at it. Learn to accept people as they are and appreciate the things about them that make them unique.


Keep a work-life balance

This balance looks different for different people. But don't let your work life take over your life life. Work is often stressful, and being preoccupied with deadlines and emails can detract from other valuable experiences your life may hold. You could try turning off your email notifications on your phone or making a point not to work too many hours of overtime.


Brighten up your space with the right colors

The colors you choose to decorate with can actually make quite an impact on your brain. A review published in Frontiers in Psychology showed that blue light is associated with a boost in mental performance and alertness, while red colors undermined performance on written tests. To cultivate a space at home that fosters productivity and relaxation, consider decorating with soft hues of blue and green.


Practice gratitude

It's not just for Thanksgiving anymore - gratitude can be incorporated into every day of your life, and the effect can shift your perspective considerably. You might simply write down a couple of things you're grateful for in a journal or think of a few as part of your morning routine. Start your day off with a little positive energy and see where it goes!


Quit comparing yourself to other people

There's a saying: "Comparison is the thief of joy." Who cares where you rank in some imaginary hierarchy? Live your life on your terms. You are who you are and there's no point in trying to be like someone else. Live at peace with yourself instead.


Plan for the future

Health insurance. A savings account. All those smart safeguards for the future that are zero fun to put together but that you really need. Invest some time planning for the future and creating backup plans in case things go wrong. It can take lots of stress off of your life and bring you more peace in the long run.


Find balance with routine

Routines can be helpful in that they keep us stable - a routine is something to rely on when life gets hectic and crazy. But adhering too closely to routine can rob joy from your life, as well. Find a comfortable balance between spontaneity and routine. Allow yourself leeway from whatever regimen you've created, but set up a comforting structure to fall back on.


Practice kindness

There's a poem by Jack Kerouac with a portion that reads, "Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you're already in heaven now." In other words, practicing kindness to other people is reciprocal - it brings more joy unto yourself. Bring more peace and fulfillment to your life by trying some of these 50 small ways to be a nicer person.

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