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stress relief

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How to Achieve Inner Peace Despite Life's Challenges

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Over the past few decades, I've heard countless people tell me how stressed they are. They say they feel unsettled, unhappy, frustrated or discontented.

And they say they would do just about anything if only they could feel a sense of inner peace.

I tell them it is absolutely possible to achieve that but before they let me explain, they start listing all the reasons why it is impossible, all the obligations, the struggles, the family problems, the boss who's a demanding idiot, the in-laws that drive them nuts, the spouse who refuses to help with the chores or the children, the health challenges or messy divorce...whatever is going on in their lives, they insist that these are the reasons for their stress and unhappiness.

I'm not going to diminish the significance of any of these or other life challenges or how difficult they can be. Heaven knows I've endured plenty of my own. So I can promise you that I'm speaking not just from my education but also from my personal experience.

First, I will confirm that yes, it is absolutely possible to achieve inner peace despite whatever is going on around you. The real source of stress, unhappiness, frustration and discontent isn't external; it comes from inside you.

Now before you yell at me and stop reading this, let me explain…

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Your perception of the external circumstances of your life is what determines whether or not you feel stressed and miserable. Here’s what I mean: If you choose to adopt an attitude that it's all hard and awful and it hurts, then that's the experience you'll get. If you choose to adopt a positive attitude about being able to handle whatever is happening in your life and you trust that all is well, no matter what, you will get through everything so much easier.

Of course, there are some events that are truly going to throw you, like losing a loved one or dealing with some sort of trauma. Still, there are so many life challenges that will feel a lot less difficult if you learn how to achieve inner peace. Then it won't matter what's going on around you; you'll always manage to stay calm and centred.

The best way to do this is to practice mindfulness meditation every day. Even if you just do ten minutes a day, which is enough to develop discipline for your mind, it will train you to use those same techniques throughout your day and especially when things are difficult. You will keep bringing yourself back to a place of inner stillness, from which you can deal with anything so much better than when your thoughts are left to run wild and create all sorts of havoc.

Mindfulness meditation improves health and longevity when practiced regularly and it's so easy to learn! I know because after struggling to figure it out, I found some simple tips and tricks that made it the easiest thing ever. I’ve been sharing those tips with people for many years and they always see great results instantly.

I've written an award-winning book entitled Meditation Essentials: How to Achieve More Personal and Professional Success and it's loaded with super simple ideas and information to get you started on the path to inner peace. TO GET THE BOOK FREE (just pay shipping, no other obligation), click here.

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Life's too short to be serious all the time

Play. Just drop what you're doing and go and play. Find a puzzle, get some Lego, buy some crayons and a colouring book, go to the park and climb on some monkey bars. Sit on a swing, zip down the slide - and laugh if you don't fit like you used to do.

Bake some cookies and decorate with silly stuff like gummy worms. Find a sandbox, fly a kite, or find some mud. There's something really therapeutic about playing in it; squishing it between bare toes is as delightful as making mud pies.

Make a telephone out of two tins and some string. Squoosh some playdough into ornaments or dopey stuff. Maybe try a hula hoop or get a skipping rope.

Play hopscotch or tag. How about pick-up-sticks or jacks? If you don't have a cartoon channel on the telly, rent an animated "kid film", like Yogi Bear, Winnie the Pooh, or Casper or look for old cartoons on Youtube.

How about blowing bubbles? Or getting one of those huge plastic hoops that makes bubbles as big as the moon?? Well, okay, perhaps not quite that big.

So much of life is about responsibility and "have to" and work and being tired. We feel guilty when we carve out a little time for fun or just relaxing. Well, I'm here to tell you that it's good for you to play, to have fun and some down time.

If you work, work, work all the time, you owe it to yourself to find some play-time amidst your busy life. It's essential to your mental health and to being the best version of yourself that you can be. Keeping yourself topped up with positive input means you'll feel better, do better, and you'll have a lot more to give.

A little play-time will make all the miserable responsible bits a lot more palatable. Life should be about balance, and if you spent most of your time working or doing boring, miserable responsible stuff that feels like work, you're missing the point of being here.

Whether you're having naughty snacks or are out bowling, riding bikes or doing other great 'kid stuff', as long as you're feeding your "inner child", you'll be in great shape. That little child will demand to be heard, especially when things get bumpy as it's so easily ignored at that time.

Cut yourself - and that little child - some slack. A little playfulness and fun are life-giving - life-altering. Go and have a great time! Enjoy yourself!

(Photo courtesy of Chance Agrella at freerangestock.com)