Originally Published 08/29/2013 12:32 am ET | Updated Oct 28, 2013
By HeartMath LLC
HeartMath, widely recognized for its science-based solutions for stress, as well as a personal wellness technology innovator, explores the scientific meaning behind internal “Zen” and how people can easily reduce stress while increasing internal happiness.
Often, we define peacefulness by the absence of stress — a neutral, inactive, state. However, is peace really just a passive state? For most people, adopting the life of a “Zen master” and dedicating endless hours to meditation simply isn’t an option. Interestingly enough, science is helping to define an active peace state that is achievable with just minutes of daily practice.
Active peace can be described as an increased inner clarity, a feeling of inner calm, and a deeper sense of inner balance. This state of active peace is referred to psychophysiological coherence. Science has shown a correlation between coherence and our ability to think, act, and decision-make. Cultivating coherence, or a deeper internal peace, can actually make us more efficient and more capable of experiencing a meaningful and connected life. The body responds favorably to the coherence state as well — emotional and mental states are revitalized, and the body’s immune and hormonal balance improves.
The most common obstacle that stands between more inner peace and us is stress. Our mental, emotional, and physical stressors push us further away from experiencing peace or achieving coherence. Many people feel the only way they can get relief from stress and feel more at ease is by taking a vacation, a morning to sleep in, or a day at the spa.
Here are a few active steps that you can use to reduce stress and increase your peace starting right now.
Control What You Can... and Breathe
We all have moments of worry, yet women tend to be bigger worriers than men. People often worry because they genuinely care. Yet our care is most effective when we are in balance — we think clearer, and we’re more creative and intuitive. Worry can become an unhealthy emotional habit that acts like a hole in your gas tank, draining your vital energy and certainly robbing you of peace.
Next time you find yourself in a mental loop of worry, take a time out — stop and sit quietly for a just couple of moments. Take a few breaths, a little deeper than normal. Breathe in an attitude of “ease” and breathe out the feeling of worry. Do this for a few moments with the intention that you are creating a new habit of inner ease while letting go of that old unhealthy pattern of worry.
Is the Noise in Your Head Bothering You?
Inner chatter: It’s surprising how much inner dialogue can run all day long without us even noticing, all the while depleting our inner peace. For many, inner chatter can consist largely of self-critical and self-judgmental comments. Unconstructive self-talk lacks the qualities of compassion, love and care and it creates distance between you peace.
Play a personal game. Start with a 30-minute period of time (you can increase the duration or how often you do it as you desire) for this simple exercise to help build inner awareness. During the time period, pay attention to your inner dialogue. Watch for negative inner self-talk. For example, if the negative thought is, “I’m an idiot, I should know how to do this by now.” Stop that thought and say, “This thought doesn’t serve me. Goodbye thought!” Then replace that old negative view with a new, positive inner message adding a compassionate attitude like you would have with someone you love. A positive replacement message could be, “I’m still learning how to do this. No worries, I’ll get it down soon.”
It may feel a bit superficial to start, but the more you play with this simple practice, the more your feelings and thoughts start to align with a more positive and loving inner dialogue. This practice can help create a powerful and positive change that leads to more inner peace.