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I can still hear George Costanza’s father on the classic comedy Seinfeld declaring “Serenity Now!”. At the time, in middle school, the manner in which he spoke and body language threw me into an immediate bout of laughter and I have not much more thought to what he was seeking, but what if we can give ourselves serenity, right now, in this very moment simply by doing a few simple things?
Well, the good news is, we can.
1. Focus on helpful thoughts
We are the navigator of our thoughts, we are the permission wielding orchestrator that allows or denies thoughts from continuing to bounce about in our minds. Knowing this and doing it are not always in alignment, but they can be and when they are, our lives benefit as serenity soars. A simple habit is to refrain from dwelling on the realities that increase your stress.
In other words, the truth about the interview you are about to have is that they may award the job to someone else. That is the reality, but you don’t have to fixate on it. There is no guarantee that not fixating on it will make the hope of a job offer a reality; however, it frees up energy that is serving no purpose by worrying about realities beyond your control. Focus on what you can do and get busy doing those tasks.
2. Invest in an external hard drive
If you are someone who spend their days on your computer for work or you have endless photos, documents, files that if lost would be hard to replace or expensive to retrieve, choose to be preventative and invest in an external hard drive. There are many options, and many for fewer than $100. As someone who is on my computer for my livelihood, knowing I have a secure backup makes me breathe immensely easier at night. (If you are an Apple user like myself, these are the external drives I perused before making my decision to purchase 2TB of storage space on a LaCie Mobile Hard Drive).
3. Insure yourself adequately
Every individual and family will have different aspects of their life they need or wish to have insured in order to ease their mind. The financial ramifications can be astronomical if one doesn’t insure themselves, and while there are certainly some types of insurance I don’t purchase (extended warranties, car rental, etc.), there are others that are not only required by law (car insurance), but common sense to have. Ultimately, when you insure yourself and those in your household adequately, you sleep well and you can live fully.
4. Save for a rainy day
A handful of years ago with one of my first Money posts, I talked about the three baskets of savings as introduced to me by David Bach. Read more about those three baskets here.
5. Invest in your health – exercise, regularly, eat well, meditate and stretch
Read all of the posts dedicated to each of these ways to invest in your health in TSLL Archives here.
Clear house, clear mind. Clean closet, simple decisions. Clear desk, productive work sessions.
7. Have debt? Create and stick to a plan to eliminate it.
Read this post about how to get out and stay out of debt.
8. Be truthful and thoughtfully express your feelings
One of the simplest, but seemingly most difficult ways to reduce stress and heighten serenity is to be truthful to those you love and work with as well as learning how to express your thoughts and feelings effectively and clearly. I say “seemingly” because often fear builds up within us if we think we are going to say something the other person may not want to hear. But what we forget in that scenario is the type of relationship we want to build and the people we want to work and live with. Sure, nobody wants to hear negative feedback or discover you are upset with something they did, but the only way to grow within a relationship or trust that you are able to be yourself and demonstrate your values honesty is to practice it. Knowing you’ve done so brings a sigh of relief and a restful night.
9. Do something fun with a friend or loved one
Find something you love doing, and share time doing it together with a friend that enjoys it or would like to be introduced to it. Remind yourself to be present and after the experience you will experience a wealth of endorphins and good feelings.
10. Enjoy regular time for solitude
Each individual’s need for solitude will vary, but all of us can benefit of regular moments or days of solitude. Why? To listen, to be grateful, to gain clarity, to catch our breath, to calm our worlds down.
11. Find a healthy outlet
When our worlds aren’t calm, knowing what a healthy outlet is for you individually is crucial. Perhaps it is an intense workout or maybe a calming restorative yoga class. Whatever it is, go there when you need to and perhaps before you need to.
12. Invest in healthy, supportive relationships
Selecting healthy individuals and choosing to invest time and our energy with these people is an investment into our serenity. Letting certain individuals go is also a part of making room for those people who elevate our lives and we them. Be discerning. Don’t be afraid to say no. And disregard the unhealthy excuses that do you and your life’s health no favors (related, long-term relationship/friendship, etc.)
13. Reduce your priority list and be prepared
Life can become exhausting and stressful when our priority list becomes too long. The difficult but most helpful thing to do is to be honest with yourself. While your priority list may change over the years, the reality is you only have so much energy and time in a day. Be thoughtful but truthful with yourself and say no to responsibilities that no longer serve the life you are trying to build. Remember building a life of quality over quantity requires conscience living and just because you let something go that you used to love, doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate it. It simply means your life is evolving in another direction that is more satisfying and in alignment with your values.
14. Journal it out
One of the simplest ways to work through uncertainty is to journal out your thoughts. Often we do not know exactly what we are feeling, but when we ask ourselves to write it down, we can make better sense of it. Even writing down your worst fears reveals how absurd our thoughts are and thus makes it easier to not hold on to our angst.
Serenity right now, in this moment, can be ours if we choose to examine what we have direct control over. And even if we aren’t able to save as much as we would like or purchase as much insurance as we’d prefer, we can at least know what we want and put a plan in place. More often than not, peace of mind in our everydays is fairly simple, and by cultivating a life that allows us to practice the above tips daily, we elevate the overall quality of our lives.
Photo by Gabriel Pangilinan