Want to find peace with yourself? Want to nurture a positive sense of self? It’s easier than it seems. For instance, you can cultivate a positive trait over the coming weekend. You can see yourself as your ideal, take one characteristic of that ideal persona and work toward making it a reality for you. Discipline yourself. Through that steadfast discipline you groom yourself to experience repetitions of the positive behaviours you cultivate. Ultimately, through cultivating positive behaviours, peace of mind and positive self-esteem becomes your mainstay.
Rick Hanson exposes the route toward a peaceful mindset in his book Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time. He reveals a number of strategies that, when implemented, serve to not only improve your level of inner peace, but also increase your sense of self-worth.
Make Your Body Your Dear Friend: Treat It Well
I often disparage doing little things that otherwise benefit my body. For instance, I dread the morning shower as sometimes anxiety, not water washes over me. Yet, I feel elated after a shower, soothed by the hot steam and the refreshing feeling of cleanliness.
I resented shopping for clothing, too. As I tended to shop at stores I disliked, I avoided buying new clothes like the plague. Industrial clothing stores just didn’t speak to me, even after all of the years purchasing at such outlets. Recently, I discovered a new store where all of the clothing seems to have been altered just for my body type, awaiting my purchase exclusively–and the clothes look very stylish. Now I shop to make my body look fashionable.
I also like to eat a little junk sometimes, although not often. Recently, I powered down on coconut ice cream in a huge waffle cone and some donuts. While it all tasted good, my body packed on the pounds momentarily and my face broke out. My body cried for me to stop the junk invasion.
After reading Rick Hanson’s views on treating the body as a dear friend, my attitudes toward eating, showering, and grooming completely changed: Ask yourself how you’d treat your dearest friend and treat your own body in a similar fashion. Treat your body to a hot bubble bath, healthy foods, exercise, a nice teeth scrubbing, and lots of love. List out a number of different ways you can be kinder to your body. Your body needs your love just like your truest friend does. When I shower now, I think of myself doing something kind for my body. By doing something nice for someone or something else, our selflessness makes us enjoy the activity even more.
Unleash Your Strength
Every time I commuted to my workplace on the bus, I cringed at the sound of a cough or sneeze. You see, every time someone would sneeze or cough, without fail I would come down with the cold. At work, I constantly had sniffles and often came down with bronchitis.
I tried to treat someone as a cold as a Tibetan Buddhist would: I would pray that I could take away their suffering and take the suffering onto myself instead. Sure enough, the cold would overwhelm me, and I’d be stuffed and coughing for two weeks at a time. While my intentions seemed positive, sneezing and sniffling constantly did not sit well with me.
I read in a Wayne Dyer book how some people say they always get colds and sure enough they do. The problem was framed as something that people’s frame of mind can lead to. I thought there must be a psychological way to beat this defeatist attitude in which I always, without fail, would come down with a cold whenever someone sniffled.
And, true enough, a solution presented itself. I never get colds anymore. The solution wasn’t entrenched in my psychology. The solution surfaced in my physiology. When I constantly came down with colds, I wasn’t getting enough rest. Now that I get an extra hour and a half sleep at night, I never get colds.
I went from always getting colds to never getting colds by one simple adjustment.
Rick Hanson talks about how to unleash our strengths and health by taking adequate dosages of vitamins, by getting sufficient sleep, by exercising regularly, and by eating good helpings of protein in our daily diets. Recall how strong you felt when you stood up for someone you love, when you withstood the winds of travesties, and let those feelings of strength cement your recognition of your inner giant.
Rev Up Your Excitement Gauge
I get pumped with energy every time I think about writing, creating a venture, or engaging in some project. I always loved crafting projects that absorb me for hours on end, from setting up charity events to helping my loved one with his business ambitions. Excitement and enthusiasm can curtail any doubts, fears, or inhibitions we face with endeavours, strengthening us to take the plunge, to take that risk, and to try something new and refreshing.
Some people fear success. Just recently a book by T. Boone Pickens stated how a group contributed approximately ten million in cash just to try to run him out of business. After reading that, my own fear of success skyrocketed, but I also love to take that plunge into a project, to take that risk. After all, It’s through the risks that we come to grow, that we gain our share of life’s goodies.
Rick Hanson encourages us to rev up our passion as excitement fosters creativity, positive relationships, and even entrepreneurial success. Consider everything that thrills you, whether that thing be a mundane task or something quite climactic. Try to spice up doing the dishes, for instance, by singing at the top of your lungs the Canadian anthem while you dry your plates. Try to make the mundane enjoyable. Let your sparks fly for the tasks that truly rev your engine.
Groom Your Patience
The topic of patience in Rick Hanson’s book has probably had the biggest impact on me of all of his write-ups. Ever since reading the chapter on patience, I’ve aimed to develop greater patience with other people. Instead of judging others, I feel a sense of patience and accept others for whatever state they may have entered at the moment. If someone stares my way uncomfortably, I smile and feel patience and warmth towards that individual. If someone takes too long in line, I patiently look around for things in the environment that can captivate me momentarily. If someone gets my food order wrong, I speak to the waiter in a kind voice and await the correct order.
Truth be told, I feel so good demonstrating patience that I feel like the benefits outweigh the alternative by a long shot. I can hardly imagine how everyone hasn’t yet adopted the virtue of patience because it just feels so good and the people around you relax and become more inviting. Everyone benefits.
Rick Hanson says that impatience drives other people away from you. Instead, we should avoid letting minor problems impact us. Just let those issues fall off your shoulders. Try to find ways to tolerate the negative bodily sensations that arise, and toughen up your patience level in any opportunity that presents itself.
In demonstrating patience, you do both yourself and others good. People around you will respond, your relationships will improve, and you will feel much better on a daily basis.
Say Yes More
Why fight things? Why should we go through life, tension-prone, fighting the realities that we have little control over?
We now have an NDP government in Alberta, and although people wanted a change, the reality is that some people came to this province for the employment and stimulus provided by the PC government, having left their prior provinces because of the havoc reaped by NDP governments. Now, the entire Canadian population may be planning on voting NDP. Why fight it?
Rick Hanson outlines the value in saying “yes” to things that occur to us, whether we like them or not: Say yes to things you love. Then, say yes to things you feel neutral toward. Lastly, say yes to things you detest, allowing yourself to feel a sense of resignation. Say yes to all of your past, to your future, to your current state. Say yes to your ailments, to your enemies. Say yes to things you previously said no to. Sometimes, it feels better to say yes than to resist. Say yes to the beauty of your grandmother’s passing. Say yes to the goodness you bring this world. Say yes to that feeling of resignation. Say yes to peace of mind.