Let me start by saying that I am no psychologist. I don’t have the secret formula for how to find peace of mind and happiness. However, I have been around thousands of young people in public education for 12 years. I feel this gives me experience with a multitude of personalities from all walks of life. Peace is always my focal point to set the tone for the entire school year.

Have a peaceful relationship with teachers.

Get along with your classmates.

Make good choices, so bad fortune does not come your way.

I have also been alive 33 years. That is enough time to experience life’s blessings but also enough time for life to punch me in the gut. So this is a reflection and little reminders to hold myself accountable and not so much a philosophical tangent in which I pretend to have my life together because I don’t. There are three types of peace people must strive for to have total peace and happiness.

#1 Personal Peace

Inner Peace

We first must be comfortable in our own skin and confident in our abilities. I think I can. I think I can. This is easier said than done, but overall, peace starts by believing in oneself. This simple picture says it all:

Belief Systems

Do we have a set of principles, values, morals, or common courtesies to guide us? If so, that is great, but do we actually commit to them? When I say belief systems, don’t automatically think religion. This isn’t a post looking to shove a religion down anyone’s throat. If you follow a religion, great! If you don’t, I also respect that. Think of this more as a moral compass or simply knowing the difference between right and wrong. If a belief guides us to a priority in life, hold on to it. The beliefs that distance us from a priority should be tossed to the side. I will use college as an example.

Shooting pool for money was a temptation in college, but classes were the priority. Solution: Play a few games for fun. Leave the money out of the hobby. Leave ten minutes early to make the class on time.

Going to a party was a temptation, but the early class the next morning was the priority. Solution: Attend the party but don’t stay out to three in the morning.

Going to a ball game was a temptation, but preparing a portfolio for an exit interview was a priority. Solution: Study purposefully the first half of the game and catch the second half if the game is close.

While the fear of missing out on a social event might cross one’s mind, do what is right. A skipped class, lost money, too many drinks, or a messy portfolio could mean a missed priority. Having a wobbly belief system would have affected inner peace. An individual would then be in a foul mood and oftentimes follow that up by being irritable to others. This would also be pulling a person further away from his moral compass once again. Said person would would fall deeper into an unsettled place with 0 peace. Simply have a strong belief system that does not waver from top priorities. What are other personal priorities besides education???

Family

One of my biggest fans in life was my grandmother. Read more about the influence she had on me by clicking here. However, as I got older I had more obligations, so I lost touch. She ended up dying suddenly. I had regrets about not reaching out to her more. Peace is knowing you reached out to our “biggest fans” regularly. It doesn’t have to be daily, but those in the family who genuinely care, need the satisfaction of a phone call, text, letter, or visit. Even if it is once per week, 52 times a year is significant.

Parents

Talk to your parents daily. It can be just a simple “Hi!” or “Have a great day.” This establishes that connection. Lately, I have fallen victim to not touching base with my parents as much as I should. Today I got a text from Mom that read…

“Are you all ok? I haven’t heard a peep from u.”

This disrupts my personal peace. I have fallen short and need to do better. Touch base daily. It doesn’t have to be an hour-long conversation. Mom and Dad gave us life. They deserve it.

Spouse

I touch on this one with the point that relationships are construction zones. They are a work in progress. I am not sure that they ever reach perfection. However, that is the beauty of it. Some days may not be good. Other days are wonderful. Husbands and wives may argue or have bad days, but the important thing is to make the next day better. Our society today thinks this way:

“If it seems broken, just get a new one.”

That same sentence should be revised to say this instead…

If it seems broken, with a few tweaks, we can make it like new again.”

The latter provides us more personal peace if efforts are mutual by both parties. Some may argue that a toxic relationship doesn’t provide personal peace. He/She might be more at peace purging themselves from a toxic environment. That may be true, but before quitting, here are a few questions to think about:

Identify the root problems…are they minor or major?

What is the reason you loved the person in the first place? Share that with your spouse.

What does your core belief system, that we referred to earlier, say about relationships? Rid yourself of the temptation. Remember the priority.

Are you seeking council from other couples who have a solid foundation or professionals who can help if problems are major?

Ultimately, we must establish the needs of our spouse and amplify those so that problems diminish. We must be selfless and look to offer help where it is needed. It is then that a wilted flower is watered and the beautiful blossom will appear.

Two great books that can revive relationships that have fallen into a rut are The Five Love Languages and The Love Dare. Click on the titles to be taken to each publication. Both books provide best practices, good deeds, and action plans that will establish peace in a relationship.

Kids

Kids are a blessing. Having three daughters has been so humbling. Kids strive for our approval. My daughter, Dori, is in her first year of basketball. She is learning the game. She is a pleaser and wants to know it all in the first few practices. After practice last night, I asked her if she had fun. There were a few pointers I wanted to give her, but I noticed a look of worry and anxiety on her face. I quickly asked her what was wrong and her statement brought me to tears:

“I just want to make you happy.”

Dori Ballou, daughter

My kids make me happy just being alive. When they inhaled their first breaths, my life was complete. She need not think that a sport or any other “thing” she does will make me happier. All I need is her. All I need is them. They offer me peace that I never had before them.

Having said that, we must be vocal with our kids in that regard. Tell them that they matter. Let them know they will do big things. Make them believers in themselves.

Once that is established, bake cookies with them. Make slime with them. Go kayaking with them. Shoot basketball with them. Be silly will them. Laugh with them. Imagine the floor is hot lava and the pillows are stepping stones. Let their imaginations run wild. Less screen time or watching other kids on YouTube partaking in fun activities. It should be parents interacting with their kids. Interact and have peace in knowing we helped shape our kids’ minds. It is then that we and our kids will have personal peace.

All of these personal priorities and efforts made by us will never work if we let past squabbles affect present actions. Never let a grudge dictate peace with the priorities of life. This simple quote always rings true to me and reminds me of what it takes to achieve personal peace:

‘Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.”

Mitch Albom

#2 Professional Peace

Bosses

There is an expression that has always stuck with me:

“Never fire your boss.

No matter how tough a boss might seem, the captain has the ship’s best interest at heart. Many of the things our boss may ask of us are best practices that will keep his employees in good standing with his boss. As simple as it sounds, there is power is positive thinking. Having an inquisitive mind shows that we care. We must do our best and then we can go to the house with a professional peace of mind. Even if others in the workplace don’t match the same enthusiasm. There is power in doing, and it may become contagious.

Colleagues

Value colleagues. Have lunch with them. Put a drop in their bucket with a note of encouragement. Let them vent, but always end with words of encouragement. Trustworthy colleagues help us keep our sanity during hectic times. At the same time, proceed with caution with those who are constantly critical of others, because more often than not, if a person will talk about about others with us, then he/she will also talk about us. It is like I tell my students. Surround yourself with good people. I happen to work with a building full of great people. Once a person is in a great cultural situation, he/she is more likely to have professional peace.

Obligations

Always stay ahead of deadlines and professional peace increases. Simple as that. One can stay ahead of deadlines with a quality planner. I have had great success with this one in the past. It is good to get in the habit of planning days, weeks, and months. I also recommend a hard copy instead of an app. It provides the impression that we are paying attention at the meeting instead of being distracted by phones. When we are drowning in paperwork, peace is hard to attain. It also has an affect on how we treat others. Stay ahead if possible.

#3 Physical Peace

Exercise: 

Let’s not complicate this one. Just move. Set a rule of 10,000. Get in 10,000 steps and you will be healthier. Don’t grow roots.

Push and pull some weight. Compound exercises that trigger numerous muscle groups are the best bang for the buck. A whole body approach, three days per week, is great for a beginner just looking to get back into shape. For those looking to get more serious, focus on different body parts each day and stretch those workouts to five times per week. Lactic acid/soreness might be unpleasant, but there is a release of peace in my brain knowing that with soreness comes results.

Endorphins

Increased heart rate and more oxygen throughout the body releases endorphins which provide peace of mind. Every one has heard of a runner’s high. The same effect can be achieved with HIIT exercises. Oxygenate and good things are sure to happen.

Get sweaty

My rule is to break one sweat a day.

This can be achieved many different ways, so choose one way and do it. A person will be in a better place mentally from just perspiring. It may sound strange but sweat streaming down my forehead makes me happy.

In conclusion, life is all about balance. Personal, professional, and physical peace must be in balance to achieve full peace in life. If one of the three starts to dwindle, all the others will then be in jeopardy. Peace starts out with one’s inner self and then branches off into many areas of life. Work on your three areas of peace and achieve the best version of ourselves. 🙂