James Ullrich

The Modern Time Crunch

Find Some Peace of Mind in Summertime

The easy-going season offers a great opportunity for finding peace of mind

Posted Jul 13, 2015

The summer is here, and there’s a strong temptation to kick back and put off the “serious” projects until fall. After all, isn’t this the time of year to enjoy ourselves? But many have problems finding that peace of mind so associated with these warm, carefree months. The good news is that, the easy-going season offers a great opportunity for finding that elusive peace of mind if you take advantage of the time. Here are a few ways to do it:

Strengthen bonds with friends and family. Research has repeatedly shown what most of us instinctually know: the quality of our relationships that determines a large share of our happiness and overall life satisfaction. Taking time to re-connect with those close to you in a meaningful way can pay profound emotional dividends.

Create a sense of distance from your challenges. As helpful as creating closer bonds with friends can be, it can be helpful to cultivate a sense of distance from our troubles. Too often, our minds tend to enmesh our troubles with our sense of ourselves. You are not your troubles. You are bigger than them and they only exert power over your emotions and sense of self to the extent that you allow them to.

Try this thought experiment: If you could step back and look at your challenges as an objective observer, would they seem different, perhaps less overwhelming? If you were to give a friend advice on them, what would that advice be? These mental devices can drain some of the power and scope from the problems you’re facing. They are able to be defeated, and they can only dominate and define you if you allow them to.

Create something great. Summer can be a great time to start a project. Whether it’s learning a new language or a crafty endeavor, as long as it’s achievable and enjoyable, go ahead and throw yourself into it. Creativity and productivity are an excellent tonic for the doldrums, able to boost our self-esteem and propel us out of a funk at any time of the year. For every second we are creating, we cannot be fearing for the future or ruminating on the past. If you’re burdened by nagging fears or painful regrets, focus that energy on growing and/or making something great. You’ll feel better.

Be Present. Well that sounds easy, right? Well unfortunately it’s very difficult to do in our fast-paced age. Force yourself to slow down a bit and learn to center yourself. Disconnect. Spend some moments in quiet contemplation.  While you’re at it, cultivate that peaceful feeling of just “being”. Far from a New-Age trend, cultivating mindfulness can really pay emotional dividends in terms clearing your mind and helping you to focus, and will help your physical being by lowering blood pressure and unhealthy stress hormones that can lead to hypertension and cardiovascular damage.

Start planning your work. It’s tough making changes, and if you find yourself halfway through the year with little progress on those New Years Resolutions, all is not lost. Put aside some time and space to outline a sensible, logical plan to begin tackling that list. Just starting can begin to generate that necessary momentum, and sometimes planning how to begin is enough of a plan to begin with.

So take advantage of the summer lull to invest a bit of time trying to find a more peaceful space. Your mind and your body will thank you long after the tranquility of the season gives way to the busyness of fall.

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