We generally think that we must first be happy and only then will we gain peace of mind.

But we’ve got it wrong.

We must first create a peaceful mind and then only will happiness follow.

The reason for this is that in order to be happy, most of us depend on enjoying delightful relationships, pleasurable outer things and satisfying circumstances.

But we all know from personal experience that we can’t depend on these impermanent, changing things for permanent happiness.

To remain in control of our own happiness, we must first strive to maintain a peaceful mind that is calm and balanced in spite of the changing outer world.

Our state of mind determines whether an experience is positive or not.

Grumpy man holding umbrella in rain showing that holding expectations takes away from having a peaceful mindFor instance, if you are feeling happy, you will easily overlook a wrench in your plans such as rain on the day of a party.

On the other hand, if your mind is stressed and preoccupied with some pressing concerns, even a small thing will be seen as a big problem.

So, the quality of our experiences depends on the quality or state of our minds. Although we can’t control the outer world, the good thing is that with patience and practice, we can control our own minds.

Here are three ways. . .

For a peaceful mind, stay positive

We are inundated with information every day. But most of it is not relevant to our lives or inner growth. What’s worse is that there is a lot of negative information which disturbs the mind and takes it into fear, worry, anger, hate, and a host of other lower emotions.

A peaceful mind thrives on a steady diet of high, loving and positive vibrations. Such a mind will be less inclined to harbour negative emotions.

How can we stay positive? We can ensure that we are in positive company in all aspects of our lives. This includes the people we spend time with, the type of food and drink we take in; and also what we listen to, watch, read and study.

Spiritual practices such as meditation, prayer, spiritual study and reflection are important daily practices to nurture a peaceful mind. Click here to hear a Sanskrit prayer for a peaceful mind.

We can take in spiritual knowledge through books, talks, and discussions with spiritually inclined people every day.  It will help us grow in our understanding of life, our true nature and purpose.

The knowledge that we gain will boost our ability to handle life’s ups and downs, enhance our interactions with people and keep our minds peaceful and even-keeled throughout.

Cultivate detachment for a peaceful mind

Cultivating inner detachment helps us gain equipoise and peace amidst the stress and demands of the busy outer world.

What is detachment?

It is easier to understand detachment when we compare it to attachment. Attachment is identification with, desire for, and dependency on someone or something for our sense of well-being.

We could also be attached to our personal ideas about how things or people should be.

Attachments are the cause of much upset and sorrow. The greater the attachment, the greater the sorrow.

To be detached is to accept and enjoy what is, without judgement, expectations and dependency. Thus, there is no disappointment or depression when things don’t go our way, change or leave us.

Acceptance helps to maintain a peaceful mind

Another way to maintain a peaceful mind is learning how to accept things and people that we cannot change.

Why waste time and energy in finding out why things are the way they are? Or why people are the way they are?

There are some things which you just will never find the reasons for. You have to accept them first so that you can give your total attention and energy to dealing with them.

Here’s a visualization to help you accept a situation that you cannot change:

Put aside some quiet time to be by yourself when you will not be disturbed. Promise yourself you will stay with it even if you begin to feel anxious or overwhelmed by the flood of worrisome thoughts. You may want to put on some soothing music or do some deep breathing to calm yourself down.

Once you are feeling calmer, write down your thoughts about the troubling situation. Writing helps to lighten your mind and organizes the worrisome jumble of thoughts into smaller, more manageable chunks. This makes it easier for you to see things for what they really are.

The next thing is to calm your emotions. Place your hand on your heart, take a deep breath in and as you exhale, say slowly and deliberately, “I accept. . . I accept. . . . I accept . . .”

Now, you may feel that you are lying to yourself. You don’t accept; you’re just mouthing it. In this case, invoke the presence of the divine higher power for help.

woman praying for acceptance so as to maintain a peaceful mind.You may call this higher power God, the angels, the Universe or by any other name. The idea is to call on something higher and more powerful to help you.

Close your eyes and say, “Please help me accept . . . (say the problem).”

Pause for a few minutes, take a deep breath and repeat, “I accept. . . I accept. . . . I accept . . .”

If emotions start rising up, say to yourself, “I am at peace. I choose to accept”.

It’s amazing how this simple exercise can calm you down.

Finally say, “I now open to receiving help in dealing with . . . (your problem)”

Stay hopeful and positive. Give the universe a day or two to organize some help for you. The divine is infinite, and it can use any number of ways to bring you the help and support you need to accept peacefully.

An idea for a solution may pop into your mind, you may receive an email, you may hear from someone you haven’t heard from in a while, or you may catch a message on TV. Anything can come as an answer to your call for help.

For a peaceful mind, make peace a priority

A peaceful mind is a happy mind. Make peace of mind your highest priority.

Promise yourself that you will do your best to stay peaceful regardless of what is happening around you.

You can implement the suggestions in this article:

Put in efforts to stay positive through meditation, prayer, spiritual study and reflection.

Learn to detach from expectations, insistence or demands.  This will help you enjoy and appreciate the circumstances and people in your life.

And finally, cheerfully accept what the universe brings you that you cannot change.

While cultivating a peaceful mind isn’t easy, the rewards of a happier mind and life are well worth the efforts.

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Manisha Melwani

Manisha Melwani is a teacher and the author of, "Your Spiritual Journey" She offers spiritual and wellness solutions for life and stress management. She teaches classes in personal growth, stress management and meditation. Contact her for more information or to have her speak to your group or organization. She also offers private counseling sessions on-line.

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