Sometimes it can feel like there is negativity everywhere you look. From stress at work to nerve-wracking headlines in the news to rude comments from strangers online. It can all get really overwhelming when you want to protect your peace.
While you can't rid your life of negativity entirely (after all, that's life!), you can take steps to reduce their impact on your state of mind.
What does it mean to protect your peace?
Protecting your peace is all about caring for yourself—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
It's a personal journey
Above all, it is a personal journey. It is up to you to define what peace looks like for you and your life. You get to set the rules, and you get to make the decisions.
Importantly, you must remember that you can't get the answer to peace or happiness from other people. Instead, take the time to ask yourself: "What does it mean to me to protect my peace?"
It takes time
Not only is learning to protect your peace a personal journey, but it's also a lifelong journey!
This is not something you can accomplish in one day.
Rather, it's about developing the skills to make yourself feel more at ease with your own life. And as you grow and change, your own definition of "protecting my peace" will likely grow and change with you.
Why protecting your peace is important
Fundamentally, protecting your peace is about protecting yourself—your mind, your emotions, your body, and your soul. And it goes without saying how important that is!
Your life is more positive and healthy
When you develop the skills to protect your peace, you will learn how to keep your mental and emotional state free from negative influences.
In turn, this will help you feel safe and respected, which contributes to overall healthy well-being. Notably, a new study from the Journal of Happiness Studies even reports that peace of mind is associated with life satisfaction and contributes substantially to one's subjective well-being.
11 Ways to protect your peace every day
Consider this your new daily mantra: "Protecting my peace is a lifelong journey. There is no reason to put pressure on myself to learn how to protect my peace all at once."
Instead, it's all about being mindful and deliberately making choices to limit your exposure to things that make you feel bad and increase your exposure to things that make you feel good. It's that simple!
1. Set boundaries
The word itself can sound intense, but boundaries don't have to be intimidating. Instead, you can think of them as guidelines to live by.
Boundaries help you honor your needs, feelings, goals, and values. Like your definition of peace, they will likely evolve as you do—and you can change them whenever you want.
There are many different kinds of boundaries that you can use to work on developing your peace of mind.
Boundaries with friends and family
For example, if your family doesn't get along with your partner, you can set a personal boundary when it comes time for holidays or family events: "If you can't be polite and respectful to me and my partner, then we will leave."
You can also set boundaries for yourself, like financial boundaries.
For example, maybe you like eating out with a friend, but she always insists on splitting the bill—even when she orders three cocktails and an appetizer, and you only ate one entrée.
Set a boundary. The next time she invites you to go out, you can say, "I want to go out to dinner with you, but I cannot split the bill 50/50."
2. Distance yourself from unsupportive people
Whatever way you slice it, there are some people who just bring you down in life.
Of course, having to be around people you don't necessarily like or agree with is just part of reality sometimes. While you can't always avoid these people, you can set limits for yourself to protect your peace.
For example, maybe you can't always avoid a co-worker that can be a bit of a know-it-all. But that friend of a friend who's always bragging about her latest vacation and low-key criticizing your clothes? You don't have to put up with her.
The next time you're invited to one of her parties, don't feel the pressure to conform: You simply don't have to go if you don't feel like it. That protects your peace (and your night!) from being ruined.
Learning to distance yourself from unsupportive people can help reduce your stress and make you feel happier overall. After all, life is too short to deal with unsupportive people.
3. Don't take things too personally
As you take daily steps to protect your peace, don't forget to give yourself this healthy reminder: "It's not all about me."
This statement is not only humbling but empowering.
Consider: We all say or do things now and again that hurt others by mistake. Did we mean it? No. Do we feel bad? Yes.
Then we can remember this and also cut other people some slack, too.
Every time you feel hurt by something, it doesn't mean someone was actively trying to hurt you. Sometimes, the best thing you can do when feeling hurt is just to learn to shake things off and move on.
This doesn't mean that your feelings aren't valid. Because they are.
But it's also important to remember that the world doesn't revolve around our feelings and that we can take the time to take care of ourselves without taking everything so personally.
4. Learn to practice stoicism
If you're having a hard time learning to shake things off and not take things too personally, consider exploring stoicism to help protect your peace.
Stoicism is a philosophy founded in the Hellenistic period founded on four virtues: courage, temperance, justice, and wisdom.
Essentially, this philosophy is all about acknowledging that change will happen—and learning to stay resilient in the face of change.
Learn more about how stoicism can help you cultivate a newfound peace of mind at the Daily Stoic.
5. Find peace of mind through meditation
Do you feel like you've been reading about the benefits of meditation everywhere lately? There's a reason! According to the Mayo Clinic, "Meditation can wipe away the day's stress, bringing with it inner peace."
Sound too good to be true? Why not give it a try?
You don't have to meditate every day to experience its benefits, nor do you have to meditate for a long time.
But by making meditation a regular habit, you can unlock some pretty powerful consequences, like increased self-awareness, reduced negative emotions, and increased patience and tolerance.
6. Set limits on social media and news
Does reading the news make your blood pressure rise? Do you feel bad about yourself after getting caught in a social media scroll? You're not the only one.
According to Penn Medicine News, "social media use actually increases depression and loneliness."
Moreover, the American Psychological Association reports that "more exposure to the latest headlines—whether through traditional news outlets or highlighted on social media—can undercut mental health."
Of course, you probably don't want to cut out social media and the news entirely. After all, they do have their benefits.
But taking breaks from social media and reading the news can offer you some respite and help you feel more at peace in your own life.
7. Know that you can't change the way that others act
This goes hand in hand with stoicism and learning to set boundaries. No matter how hard you try, it isn't possible to change what other people will say or do.
What you can change, however, is how you react. Once you learn and accept this phenomenon, you can unlock a whole new level of peace.
For example, if a family member always makes unkind comments at every family gathering ... stop fighting it. Know that this person is (likely) not going to change. And there's nothing you can do about that.
But you can set healthy boundaries and protect your peace. And you can change the way you respond to your family member's comments—and how much you expose yourself to that person.
Ultimately, you have to learn how to find peace on your own—instead of waiting for others around you to change.
8. Avoid unnecessary conflicts
You can't control what others say or do ... but it does take two to tango. And it does take two to fight.
In other words, a colleague's, family member's, or anyone else's nasty comment can only turn into a conflict if you let it. Fair or not fair, it is up to you to be responsible for your own peace.
So instead of giving into the drama and the provocation, learn to walk away and consider, "how do I protect my peace in this situation?"
You don't have to respond to your colleague's negative comment. You don't have to give attention to your family member's criticism. Instead, you can turn the other cheek.
And fewer conflicts mean less stress (and more peace!) in your life.
9. Remember to be grateful
Whatever hardships you're currently facing in life, remember that there are always things to be thankful for. But life happens, and sometimes we forget this.
That's why it's essential to take the time to practice gratitude.
You can take big or small steps to practice gratitude. For example, you can start a gratitude journal and write in it every day.
Or you can just turn to your gratitude journal when you're feeling stressed or depressed and need some help to get a little perspective.
Believe it or not, these small steps can go a long way in helping you build and protect your peace of mind. According to Harvard Health Publishing, "gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness."
10. Focus on your financial wellness
A really smart thing you can do for your peace of mind—for both today and the future—is to focus on your financial wellness.
After all, when you know that you have the financial means to take care of yourself ... that peace of mind is priceless.
Whether you consider yourself a personal finance maven or you feel totally lost when it comes to saving and investing, it's always a good time to work on your financial wellness.
And no matter how little you think you know about finance, know that it is never too late to start educating yourself and taking steps to improve your finances.
Get started with these 11 financial wellness tips!
11. Take time for self-care
You might wonder, "how can self-care help me with protecting my peace?" There's a reason self-care is such a hot topic right now. It has big mental, emotional, and physical benefits—and it sure feels good, too!
For example, according to Mental Health First Aid, in a national survey, 64% of Americans said self-care enhanced their self-confidence, 67% said self-care increased their productivity, and 71% said it increased their happiness.
The best part about self-care is that there are so many ways to treat yourself. Better yet, it doesn't have to cost you a lot of money—or any at all.
To practice self-care, you can:
- Go for a walk
- Take a bath
- Watch your favorite TV show
- Browse your favorite bookstore
- Call a friend
Check out more inspiration for a self-care Sunday.
Protect your peace a little bit each day!
Protecting your peace is a life-long journey. But once you start, you can feel the benefits every day.
Mentally, physically, emotionally, and even financially, there's so much you can gain when you take the time to work on your peace of mind.