I love music.
Like, love it. I love to play (violin), sing (not well) and listen allllll the time. Forget hoverboards, the radio has been the best invention thus far. Listening to the radio in the car is what makes my daily commutes (and the occasional road trip) not just tolerable but actually enjoyable.
I guess hoverboards are pretty cool too.
In any case, the only time I get a little frustrated with my radio-listening habit is when they decide to play the same song every 10 minutes (or at least that’s what it feels like).
A song that I feel I’ve heard way too recently often is ‘Stressed Out‘ by 21 Pilots. Now, I’m not exactly sure how the radio song-selection process works (I think there are metrics involved), but I know that often songs are played more frequently based on their demand. So essentially, the more a song is requested, the more it’s played.
Although the song is fine to me, I was surprised with just how popular it had become. Until a radio show host explained that the reason this song has risen to such heights in the pop music chart is because people identify with the message.
We’re stressed out.
I shouldn’t have been surprised to hear this. It seems like too often someone is telling me how stressed they are. Or I’m telling someone else that I’m stressed.
It’s hard to determine exactly what the source of this widespread condition is; I’m sure each of us has several contributing factors (work, relationships, finances etc.) that amount to these feelings of overwhelm and tension.
To me, regardless of what the exact cause of stress is, at the end of the day it is an absence of peace.
noun. freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.
What I like about that definition is that it doesn’t say lack of disturbance but rather freedom from disturbance. I think that if peace were reliant on us not having any sort of ‘disturbance,’ (i.e. those contributing factors) we would never ever find peace.
I mean, in what world do you wake up with absolutely nothing that could potentially cause you stress?
I think peace is something we find in spite of those disturbances. Through the rough day at work, during an argument, while you’re in debt…it’s a decision we make regardless of what is going on around us.
This may seem like a tough thing to do…if peace were so easy to choose then stress wouldn’t be a thing! Here are some ways that help you (or at least help me) choose peace.
Stop the thought before it starts.
I used to think that if a thought crossed my mind, it was my responsibility to explore it to it’s full depth until I figured out whether it was true or not. However, this often would just end up in my having close to a full on panic attack. The lesson I’ve learned from this (over and over) is that just because a thought occurs to you, doesn’t mean you need to go down that road. Especially if you know it will cause you a disturbance, just let it go (cue this post’s theme song). Think about something else, start doing something to distract yourself or if you really can’t stop it, immediately find/text/call someone you trust and ask for their help. Our thoughts can be super powerful, and just as there are good thoughts, there are also thoughts that should not be allowed to have power over you.
We all know that one of the major benefits of exercise is the release of endorphins. If for no other reason, going for a walk/run, dancing, swimming… anything that will get you moving even if just for 20 minutes will improve your mood and help you get out of your head. Even just being outside can be helpful too. For whatever reason, it’s a lot harder for me to let my worries get the best of me when I’m at the beach or walking in a pretty part of town.
Develop your interests.
I think joy and peace go hand in hand. When we’re doing something that brings us joy it’s hard to feel uneasy. Think about things that you enjoy doing (cooking, baking, writing, reading, walking, laughing) and make time to do them. I think this is especially important if you are in a relationship. Often it’s tempting to rely solely on our s/o for support and to ease our fears. While they can certainly help, putting that pressure on them to sustain your peace of mind is quite a lot to ask from anyone. Make sure that you have your own thing that you know can help you to relax and experience joy, independent of someone else.
Focus on the good
This probably seems pretty obvious, but I think stress also comes from a lack of gratitude of all the good things we already have. Instead of focusing on where things are going well, we get caught up in the one thing that could use improvement and make it our sole focal point. Every day I write down my daily gratitude, something that I feel especially thankful for that day. Could be the fun afternoon I had with my siblings at the beach, the date night with bf, my new shoes that came in, or even just a really good smoothie I had that morning. Then, when my focus starts to shift or a ‘disturbance’ happens, I start a list of all the blessings I have now. Things like our family, friends, jobs, cars, houses…they may seem like pretty ordinary but they should never be taken for granted!
At the end of the day the most important thing to remember is that peace is a choice. It’s something we already have, but need to decide to use it. No one else can make that decision for you and even though we will continually have disturbances, we’re not here to let them make us miserable (or even stressed). We can choose to have peace and persevere through them to the good in life.
Hope this helps you find some peace today, please email me with any questions or comments! firstname.lastname@example.org.