How To Understand Addiction And Find Inner Peace

understand addiction

To understand addiction is a complex condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Many of us struggle with addiction at some point in our lives. Understanding addiction as a disease that is treatable gives us a sense of inner peace, even if we don’t fully understand why it happens. This article explores the disease concept of addiction, and some of the causes, symptoms, and treatments of addiction.

Is Addiction A Disease?

The first question that needs to be addressed is whether addiction can be classified as a disease. There is some debate among experts as to whether addiction should be considered a disease. Some argue that it is not because it does not cause long term damage to the body. Others say that it is because people who suffer from addiction often experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking drugs.

There are many definitions of disease, but for the purposes of this article I will use the World Health Organization’s definition: “a broad category that includes any disorder with harmful consequences for an individual”.

Addiction has harmful consequences for those who are struggling with its use: it can destroy relationships and marriages; lead to homelessness; result in loss of employment and income, and even lead to death. Recent scientific research has shown significant and detrimental effects on brain chemistry and function, so it’s safe to call addiction a disease.

To Understand Addiction is Important

Our understanding of addiction and recovery has evolved tremendously in recent years. Today, we know that addiction is not a choice and that achieving long-term sobriety is an extremely difficult, but attainable, goal. To understand addiction we can better understand those suffering from the disease, allowing us to find inner peace in knowing that the person can recover with the appropriate treatment.

Yes, the use of a substance, regardless of its legal status, is a choice and the person’s personal responsibility. Yet, that choice is not unlike the choice of those whose chronic illness demands daily exercise, medication, proper diet, etc. All choice ends in a consequence, foreseen or unforeseen, healthy or unhealthy. The choice to not abide by my doctor’s prescribed diet could lead a person with cardiovascular disease to suffer a heart attack, or a person with diabetes to lose a limb. The choice of a person with an addiction to using an addictive substance could lead to unhealthy consequences. 

So yes, the use of a substance is a choice, not unlike any other life choices we make on a daily basis. The difference, however, is that once the brain chemistry is changed and altered by the addictive substance, the physical impulse to continue to use is now automatic. 

The person who uses a substance does not do so in an attempt to become addicted to it, just as the person who chooses to eat red meat and fried foods does not do so in an attempt to suffer cardiac illness. Therefore, the choice lies in the use of a substance (drug, food, etc), not in the resulting bodily changes manifesting in disease or illness. 

“Addiction involves craving for something intensely, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences. Addiction changes the brain, first by subverting the way it registers pleasure and then by corrupting other normal drives such as learning and motivation. Although breaking an addiction is tough, it can be done.” (Source:

Today we recognize addiction as a chronic disease that changes both brain structure and function. Addiction damages the brain in a similar way to how heart disease damages the heart and diabetes impairs the pancreas. This occurs as the brain undergoes a series of changes, starting with recognizing pleasure and ending with an urge to repeat the experience.

“It’s common for a person to relapse, but relapse doesn’t mean that treatment doesn’t work. As with other chronic health conditions, treatment should be ongoing and should be adjusted based on how the patient responds. Treatment plans need to be reviewed often and modified to fit the patient’s changing needs.” (Source:

According to research, the rate of relapse for those struggling with addiction is not more prevalent than that of other medical illnesses. Those who relapse with an addictive substance do so at the same rate as people suffering from other chronic illnesses. This means that addiction should be treated like any other chronic disease, with a focus on long-term management and prevention of relapse. 

Addiction is a serious disease that can cause great harm to sufferers and their loved ones. However, with the right treatment, recovery is possible. By understanding addiction, we can better support those struggling with this disease and find inner peace by knowing that they can overcome their daily suffering.

The Brain and How It Changes When Addicted

There are many factors that contribute to addiction, but the most common cause is a chemical imbalance in the brain. This can be caused by a person’s genetics, childhood trauma, or even environment. Like other chronic diseases, addiction wreaks havoc on the brain. It impairs cognitive functioning and decision-making and can lead to changes in brain structure and chemistry. Over time, addiction can cause serious damage to the brain, making it difficult, yet not impossible, for people to recover and live healthy, productive lives.

“Substance abuse affects many parts of the body, but the organ most impacted is the brain. When a person consumes a substance such as drugs or alcohol, the brain produces large amounts of dopamine; this triggers the brain’s reward system. After repeated drug use, the brain is unable to produce normal amounts of dopamine on its own. This means addicted people may struggle to find enjoyment in pleasurable activities, like spending time with friends or family, when they are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.” (Source:

Addiction, therefore, is a brain disease that alters the way the brain functions, causing changes in behavior, thought, and emotion. The effects of addiction are not always permanent, but it takes time for the brain to heal and return to its normal state. Our thoughts and emotional reactions are mainly learned, so when an individual stops ingesting substances, the body physically adapts while the brain needs time for the person to learn new healthy thoughts and emotional responses to life. 

It’s true that addiction has a personal responsibility component, but once the person’s substance use has chemically altered their brain, professional care and treatment are needed for long-term recovery. This process is not unlike that of any other chronic medical disease. Most diseases require personal responsibility and professional treatment for sustained recovery.

Addiction Treatment & Prevention

There are many different types of addiction treatment programs available, including outpatient, residential, and intensive outpatient. Some programs offer both short-term and long-term options. Since we know that addiction is a medical disease, treatment needs to address the holistic person, including their physical needs along with the psychological issues, adapting to healthy thoughts and emotions, along with the social aspect of utilizing new learned social skills.

Like other chronic diseases, addiction to alcohol or other drugs can be managed successfully so that you can live a full and rewarding life. Most people who go to treatment programs not only stop using alcohol or other drugs but also improve their occupational, social, and psychological functioning. Having a chronic disease means you will never get rid of the disease, but you don’t have to suffer daily from the disease.

Millions of people around the world are proof that recovery is stronger than addiction. I have been a counselor and administrator involved in addiction treatment since 1994. Decades of knowing people who have recovered to live healthy lives are proof that treatment is effective.

If a person is unwilling to seek treatment, be patient and continue to encourage them. One’s motivation to enter treatment does not have to be the motivation that keeps them in treatment or recovery. In other words, why they start treatment does not have to be “perfect”, they simply need to start the process.

In Summary

It is important to understand that addiction is a chronic disease that is treatable. With proper holistic treatment, people can and do recover, living fulfilling lives. Understanding addiction and recovery lead to inner peace, which is an important goal for many of us.

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Being Hopeful For Mental Peace: Is it possible in Times of Crisis?

mental peace times of crisis

How to CARE and COPE at the same time?

Mental peace is something that everyone wants. Unfortunately, it seems that we don’t always get it. In times of crisis, we tend to become anxious or depressed. What can we do to achieve mental peace?

Optimism is what I strive for in life. However, I think I end somewhere in the middle between optimism and pessimism. This middle space I call “realism”. Overall, I’m basically fine with being a realist because it keeps me grounded. The problem with being a realist, though, is that there is little space left for making changes to the events in the universe as the realist deals only with the given reality; he can’t deal with any other reality.

Optimists see potential to change things for the better, while the realist simply sees what is.

As I write this my area of the world is concerned with the effects of the coronavirus, rising inflation, supply chain issues, and record-high gas prices. Of course, most of the world’s general attention is focused on Russia and Ukraine. How that conflict will ultimately affect the rest of the world is only an educated guess. Hence our lack of mental peace as we struggle through these times of crisis.

The more I hear and read the news, the stronger is my desire to escape from it all! But there’s nowhere to go! In a previous article, I wrote about how to work on a healthy news consumption strategy, that’s a start for obtaining mental peace. Wanting to escape from these times of crisis is the realist in me talking. My sense of realism has no regard for coping with or changing my current reality, only in fleeing from the crisis so as not to have to deal with it at all.

As I continue to feel the need to flee these times of crisis, the realist in me leans more toward the pessimist as I realize, deep inside of my thoughts, that there is no escape. There is nowhere for me to physically flee, and the more I feel trapped the more anxious and stressed I become. Amidst the barrage of news and opinions, my inner struggle spirals the more I hear of despair, economic worries, and violence in our world.

The optimist in me wants to join the inner thoughts and conversation with my inner-realist. (As I previously said, I do try my best to be an optimist.) But even if the realist allows such a dialogue, what might it sound like? In light of the tensions in the world, what can my inner-optimist say without sounding either naive or like a quote from a greeting card?

How can we be realistic AND optimistic?

The optimist views the world from the mindset that every challenge can be overcome, and believes mental peace and joy always prevail, even in times of crisis. Optimism motivates us to strive to overcome even if we can’t imagine a positive outcome. Deep within our thoughts we know, without a doubt, that without at least trying, a future full of hope will never be realized.

The joint inner dialog of the optimist with the realist must take into account the difficult realities we face while avoiding naive “answers.” What we need is hope fulfilled through practical, effective action.

My inner optimist, in its desire to make a change instead of fleeing, reminds me to turn to my spiritual life. And I suggest the same for you, the reader. It doesn’t matter the nature of your religion, or the lack thereof, but what does make a mental peace shift is the knowledge and belief of something/someone greater than myself. “Religion and belief are now seen by many researchers and clinicians as an important way to cope with trauma and distress thanks to research over the last three decades.” (Source:

A Spiritual Viewpoint

That research identified positive and negative forms of religious coping as well as evidence that how people experience and express their faith has implications for their well-being and health. “People who made more use of positive religious coping methods had better outcomes than those who struggled with God, their faith, or other people about sacred matters” ( Dr. Kenneth Pargament, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology at Bowling Green State University)

In a compilation book of reflections written for the 9/11 attacks in the USA titled “Franciscan Voices on 9/11”, we find this quote which I use to this day:

“In despair, we give up on our relationship with God. Doubt, on the other hand, is a sign that our faith is alive and kicking; it is part of the rhythm of faith itself. Lament is not a failure of faith, but an act of faith. We cry out directly to God because deep down we know our relationship with God counts; it counts to us and it counts to God. Even if we do not experience the closeness, we believe God does care. Even if God seems not to hear, we believe God is always within shouting distance. In the Scriptures, God does not say, “Do not fear, I will take away all the pain and struggle.” Rather, we hear, “You have no need to fear since I am with you””

7 ways to help face times of crisis in the world as both an optimist AND a realist

1. Remember, you’re not alone.

The daunting task of coping with times of crisis is not ours to struggle with alone. Seek out others who feel the same as you and, instead of complaining or despairing, work together on practical local solutions to the crisis.

2. Know that you are not a victim.

A victim is a person who suffers as a result of events happening to them that they can’t control. You may say that according to that definition we are victims of what’s happening in the world. But, if we change our perspective on how we define “world”, not meaning the entire globe, rather, defining my world as consisting of my local community, we can create reasonable expectations. Creating reasonable expectations allows us to actually do something to affect change locally. For example, it is unreasonable to make our personal goal that of world peace. However, creating a peaceful home, work, or local community is a reasonable personal goal.

3. Empower yourself and others.

Educate yourself about the struggles we’re facing (from multiple sources and points of view) and solutions tried in the past. Learn what worked in the past and what didn’t work. Figure out why it didn’t work and what you can do differently now to make positive change more likely. Seek out and obtain the resources needed to carry out your goal.

Our ability to work with others to find a solution to shared problems removes the label of “victim,” replacing it with “survivor.” Although we need to educate ourselves about the issues, it’s also important to keep a balance, allowing for some news-free periods.

4. Reclaim your power.

Once we realize that we are not powerless, our desire to implement change brings about renewed strength and optimism. Recognize the power and strength that you individually have, and that we as a group have, and find creative ways of using your power for the common good.

Do not let the power itself take over. Even if we feel invincible, in reality, we won’t always make the proper decisions. Learning from our mistakes is a sign of strength, for the knowledge gained from the mistake will help you to avoid that, or similar mistakes, in the future.

5. Focus your effort and your energy.

As I previously mentioned, our power and abilities are limited, so wisely focus your time and energy on those tasks which can be completed, and not on tasks you know are impossible for you to complete. No one person, or one group, can do everything.

6. Show empathy for others.

As we learn about the issues affecting our world, we begin to realize that many of our problems originate with people not understanding each other. We tend to view the world from our own perspective and only validate our own history, failing to recognize that those with whom we may disagree also view their world from their perspective and history.

Finding solutions to problems presupposes that all parties agree on the nature of the problem. Empathy, placing ourselves in the shoes of another, provides us a deeper understanding of the concerns of others. By viewing the world through their perspective, we become better informed and thereby better prepared to find and carry out real solutions. Empathy does not mean agreeing with another’s opinion. It simply means you see their perspective as they view it.

7. Don’t forget self-care.

The realist in me recognizes that to accomplish all of this, I will end up draining and wearing myself out. But in the union of the realist with the optimist, I recognize the need for self-care. Take time for yourself; keep up bonds with your family and friends; find activities or hobbies which do not relate to the work at hand; spend time in meditation and quiet to focus yourself.

Obviously, I do not propose these steps as absolute solutions to the current times of crisis of the world. But I do offer them as guides to keep us grounded in reality and keep us hopeful and passionate enough to experience mental peace make a lasting difference.

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How To Create A News Consumption Strategy For Mental Peace

news consumption

Inner peace and contentment are possible, no matter what happens in the world around us. Of course, we can’t control everything that goes on, but we can control our own reactions and how we let the news affect us.

Now more than ever, you need to stay informed about what is happening in the world. The news never stops, so you might be exposed to it constantly, whether you are watching a 24-hour news channel, receiving notifications on your phone, or scrolling through Twitter.

When you click on a shocking headline, there is always something new and scary to increase your anxiety, ramp up your stress, and inflame your anger. The toll the constant barrage of news updates has on your mental health is significant.

It is essential to stay informed, but don’t let the news consume us. Instead, find ways to stay positive and focus on the good things in our lives. For example, strengthen our relationships with the people we care about, do things we enjoy, and be kind to others.

We can’t change the world, but we can make a difference in our own corner of it. When reading a news article, take time to recall the information you just read. Write a note about what you just learned and how it is relevant to your daily life.


Yes, it is possible to have inner peace and contentment


To have inner peace and contentment, developing a personal news consumption strategy is vital. Here are a few tips to help get started:

1. Determine what is important to you and focus on the news that matters most.

2. Limit the amount of news you consume each day.

3. Be selective about the sources you rely on.

4. Take some time to reflect on the news you’ve consumed.

5. Be mindful of how the news affects your mood and emotions.

6. Make time for yourself each day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Developing a personal news consumption strategy can be challenging, but it’s worth it in the end.


Tips for developing a personal news consumption strategy

1. Decide what news sources you want to rely on and stick to them. This will help you develop a sense of trust in the information you’re getting and make it easier to verify the accuracy of stories.

2. Set aside time each day to read/watch the news. This will help you stay informed without feeling pulled in every direction and allow you to focus on individual stories.

3. Balance your news consumption with other activities. This will help you stay informed without feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

4. Take breaks from the news. This will help you avoid getting stuck in a news cycle and allow you to come back to stories with a fresh viewpoint. 

Figuring out your primary sources for news is the first step in creating a personal news consumption strategy. Once you know where to find the news you’re interested in, you can start to think about how much time you want to spend on it each day. It’s essential to be realistic about how much time you have and set boundaries.


You don’t have to consume the news in the same way everyone else does. Instead, you can develop your own strategy that works for you and helps you stay informed without feeling overwhelmed or stressed.


The goal of developing a personal news consumption strategy is to identify the most important topics to you and find the most reliable sources of information for those topics. Remember that not all sources of information are created equal. Some sources are biased, while others are simply inaccurate. Therefore, it is vital to find sources that you can trust to make informed decisions about the issues that are important to you.  

Constant news exposure can have adverse effects on our mental health – it’s crucial to find a balance between staying informed and healthy. Make sure to take breaks from the news, and don’t forget to take care of yourself! 

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How To Find Peace Of Mind During The Holiday Season

holiday season find peace of mind

There’s no denying that the holidays can be stressful, taking away our peace of mind. Whether it’s family gatherings, shopping for gifts, or planning parties, there are plenty of things to worry about. This article covers the ways that you can find peace of mind during this busy holiday season.

This is the time of the year when I reflect upon my own childhood memories; memories filled with awe and wonder as the child-me viewed the world as a magical place. Unfortunately, this time of the year is also one of increased holiday season stress due to all the activities we feel we need to attend and accomplish. Our wish to make this time of the year “perfect” increases our expectations, many of them unreasonable, causing us to stress and lose peace of mind in our planning efforts.

Childhood Idyllic Perfection

As a child, I fondly recall watching the animated Christmas specials and reading all the Christmas books I could find. Those stories not only have positive endings, but most of them also depict perfection. In these stories families gather and get along with each other, the house is majestically decorated, the dining room table is set to rival the fanciest of restaurants. My favorite American painter, Norman Rockwell, painted scenes of American life; some showing pain and suffering, others idyllic life scenes. Rockwell’s holiday paintings are among my favorite as they depict a fictional world I wish existed, although knowing that a perfect world will never exist.

This longing of mine for an idyllic perfection of the holiday season, unlike the desire and longing of many other people, is part of the cause of our holiday season stress and lack of peace of mind. This view of a perfect holiday season is formed when we tend to focus our attention on the memories of the past, coupled with fictional idealisms of the holiday, producing a desire to re-create what never was, nor most likely ever will be. The holidays, as we perceived them in childhood, cannot now be reproduced through our adult perceptions, nor can we expect to create an experience depicted in the controlled environments of scripts, actors, and a stage.

The issue many of us encounter during the holiday season is one of the unrealistic expectations which creates the holiday season stress that takes away our peace. Trying to re-create a “perfection” that actually never existed means that we will fall short in our attempts. Not achieving our expectations is self interpreted as failure.

Find Peace of Mind Living In The Moment

We have control over our feelings only as experienced in the current moment. We need not lose the experience of what is happening at the moment by living in either the past or the future. Experience the present moment for what it is. As I recall my childhood memories of the holidays, I try to keep them focused in light of my experience of the current moment.

Don’t let an expectation of perfection cloud the beauty and the feelings of the moment. Enjoy the recollection of your memories without doing anything. Instead, live the moment without expectation and you will find that the holiday season stress for perfection will fade.

Tips To Find Peace Of Mind

During this holiday season, here are the steps I encourage you to work on to keep yourself as stress-free as possible:

· Refocus your expectations: Take time to reflect on your expectations, considering what is realistic and what is not realistic. For example, we may want a house decorated as we’ve seen in advertisements, but, no matter how hard we try it never looks as it does in the pictures. If you reframe your expectation and perception, you would recognize that you haven’t failed, actually, you created something unique, something that reflects you, not an ad.

· Change your perception: Changing the way we perceive ourselves will change our perception of our world. Therefore, changing our view of this time of the year will change our expectations and so reduce our stress. For example, if you are hosting family, and the reality is that your uncle always makes a fool of himself at these family gatherings, keep your perspective focused on that reality, not on how you wish he would act. Plan for what you can in expectation of your uncle’s shenanigans, for when your uncle acts as he always acts, don’t let it stress you; he is only doing as expected of him to do (at least he’s consistent).

· Learn from your past: It’s important to spend time reflecting on our past, honoring the memories for what they are, and sharing them with current family and friends. Our past has shaped who we are today. Use the lessons of the past to create a present moment of peace of mind. The purpose of the past is not to be recreated in the present, but to be incorporated with the present. Take what was positive for you in the past and use that in the present. What wasn’t positive for you in the past, modify it now in the present for it to be positive. Our past was not perfect; don’t expect the present to be perfect either.

· Simplify your life: Easier said than done, I know. But if you think about it, our material goods, although useful, can be a source of our stress when our focus emphasizes “things”. Living simply means keeping a proper focus, or perspective, on what is truly important in our life. Keep your expectations and perceptions rooted in who you are, not on who you think you should be.

During this holiday season, take the time to enjoy the wonders, joy, and magic of the season. Keep your perspective and expectations reasonable to reduce your holiday stress. Most importantly, focus on what is truly important to you!

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How To Help Others Find Peace Of Mind While Coping With The Holiday Season Blues

holiday season find peace of mind

“If one were to devise an experimental set of circumstances which would test the integrity of an individual’s mood control, one would invent the year-end holiday season.” Jonathan Himmelhoch (Psychiatrist, Western Psychiatric Institute, and Clinic)

If you are feeling down during the holiday season, there’s no need to worry. There are ways to cope with the holiday blues without having to resort to unhealthy habits. In this article, I’ll give you some helpful tips on how to get through the holiday season and find peace of mind.

Stress Depression and the Holiday Season

The holiday season blues are real, and according to at least one study, about half of us experience the holiday season blues (the survey reached 786 adults, 18 years or older Fall of 2006). But some people can’t find peace of mind so suffer the holiday season blues because they entered the holiday season already feeling sad, depressed, anxious, etc. The seemingly joyous time of the year enhances their depression and anxiety. As a result, many people feel more sad, depressed, anxious during this time than at any other time of the year.

What causes these feelings? Is it something in our genes that makes us susceptible to the holiday season blues? Or is it something we do, like spending too much money on gifts for family and friends? Are there ways to avoid getting into the holiday season blues?

I don’t think there is any other time of the year, which evokes such strong emotions as does this time of the year. For some of us, we are excited, joyous, filled with wonder and anticipation! We visit family and friends, host parties and gatherings, spreading joy everywhere we go! But yet some of us feel quite the opposite this time of the year. I think of those who recently lost a loved one, are suffering from physical or mental health issues, are separated from loved ones, and even estranged from the family. There are those whose past experience of the holidays wasn’t pleasant, and those who feel trapped in life situations.
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” While these song lyrics may be accurate for some, they’re not necessarily right for everyone. I’m not writing this to bring down the mood, but what I am saying is that we need to be mindful of people around us who may be suffering while we celebrate. Some of my current clients are dreading these next few weeks, while other clients are looking forward to a new beginning!

Embrace Peace of Mind to Combat Holiday Season Blues

Regardless of how we feel about the holiday season, this time of the year finds many of us feeling the burden for perfection, and so a lack of peace of mind. As joyous as we may be, the expectations for a “Rockwell Christmas” haunt even the best of us.
While we still have our day-to-day tasks to complete, we must also decorate, buy gifts, and attend social functions. These expectations, especially if we feel obligated, can cause stress and anxiety even in those who enjoy the holiday season. Now imagine the stress and anxiety felt by those who are merely trying to cope with life itself, let alone the added expectation of the season.

How To Help Others Find Peace Of Mind While Coping With The Holiday Season Blues

What can we do to help someone who is suffering from finding peace of mind during this holiday season?

· Create awareness within yourself and your children that not everyone feels joyous this time of the year. This awareness is not meant to place a burden on us but as a recognition of the reality of others.

· Create an environment where all people feel open to honestly sharing their feelings. While attending or planning parties and gatherings don’t encourage everyone to participate. Be respectful of those who are having a difficult time participating. Try to plan activities that would allow a person to participate in the degree to which they feel comfortable.

· Be mindful that your expectations of what makes up a holiday celebration may not be the expectations of others. Allow yourself the flexibility to be open to the traditions of others as well as to how others may be feeling. For example, if you are organizing the family dinner, take into account any family members who have had a challenging year. Allow them space or the time to speak, or not speak, if they wish. Be aware that their showing up may have been a difficult task in and of itself.

· If you know someone struggling with a mental illness, or otherwise emotionally struggling, be a supportive friend. Allow time in your holiday schedule to be present to them, even if words aren’t spoken. Never underestimate the positive effect and healing quality of presence. If possible and appropriate, encourage them to join you at small gatherings and surround them with people who have their best interests at heart. Isolation, especially during the holidays, is not healthy.

· Encourage them to do activities focused on taking care of themselves and their emotional health, regardless of the expectations placed upon them by themselves or others. Help them to understand that It doesn’t make you a selfish person when you prioritize yourself, it is actually essential toward your well-being.

· Take time from the busyness of this season to be an active listener to those who wish to share their feelings. Encouraging and allowing others to share how they feel may be the most helpful thing you can do for them. If they are reluctant to share, lovingly help them by letting them know that you will listen without judgment regardless of what they wish to talk about and share.

During this holiday season, as many of us join together with our families and friends, let’s be grateful and joyous in our traditions and fellowship. But let’s not forget those who are emotionally suffering during the holiday season. Being respectful, understanding, and lovingly present is the best holiday gift a person can receive.

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Find Your Peace On Thanksgiving? Learn How To Find Peace of Mind

find your peace Thanksgiving

“Don’t spoil what you have by desiring what you don’t have; but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for.” —Epicurus

Find your peace on Thanksgiving? Is that even possible given the chaos, all that needs to be done, and family gatherings? Yes, finding your peace is possible. Let’s now learn how to find peace of mind.

Thanksgiving is a holiday begun in 1789 by our first president, George Washington. In Washington’s proclamation, the president stated: “… this is a day of national thanksgiving and prayer.” It’s a day we gather in remembrance and gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon us and, in prayer, to unite with our Creator as the one who bestowed these blessings we now celebrate.

Thanksgiving traditionally begins that time of the year when we celebrate family, joy, peace, and traditions as we head down the road to Christmas Day and later to New Year’s Eve. But, unfortunately, all of the planning and expectations involved tend to take away our peace. This is why it’s so important to figure out how to find your peace and peace of mind.

This festive time leads me to reflect on those special moments I shared as a child. Now, as an adult, I again see that same joy, wonder, and amazement through the eyes of my grandchildren!

Learning to find peace of mind through the chaos is possible by remembering our past (good, bad, or otherwise) and viewing the present through the eyes of children. This perspective returns us to a time when, in our innocence, we had a sense of awe and wonder about our life. To once again ignite in us an already existing yearning to believe in things we may no longer feel as adults.

On Thanksgiving Day, many of us will experience a spirit of joy, peace, and thankfulness. We recall all that we have and cherish those with whom we have gathered. All is right in the world.

To find your peace, it’s necessary to examine your expectations. In many situations, our expectations are unreasonable, not for us, but for those on whom we place the expectation. For example, if we know certain people will act in ways that bother us, expecting them not to do so is an unreasonable expectation to place upon them. Live reality as it is in the moment. In so doing, you’ll find peace of mind.

This Thanksgiving, challenge yourself to have faith in family and your God, foregoing the materialism of the season. Discover how you can spread a sense of wonderment and awe you had as a child. During this holiday season, live in a sense of wonder, joy, and peace. At the moment, be “child-like,” and then you’ll find your peace.

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inner peace: how to have it when life feels devastating

inner peace happiness

Inner peace can be difficult to have when everything in life seems to be going wrong. If you find yourself in a situation where it feels like everything is going wrong, and you can’t find inner peace, don’t panic. That’s actually a challenge that all of us face once in a while. Instead, try to relax and remind yourself that even if things seem like they are out of your control, maybe it’s because this is the path we were meant to take.

How can you find happiness when it seems like everything is going wrong?

For those who’ve been through devasting life events, life often takes a sudden turn for the absolute worst. It’s hard to remember a time when you were happy and optimistic when all you can think about is the horrors that you were forced to witness firsthand. Shock and confusion are the first reactions that we experience after a devastating event. There is only one question that goes through your head now, and that is why me?

When you have anxiety, it can feel like the whole world is against you. But it’s really not the entire world, but one aspect of your life that’s causing the problem. This is a significant perspective shift to make since it narrows the issue to a manageable size. 

A traumatic event can have a negative impact on your life. However, how you interpret it and how you react to that event will determine how you feel. You have the power to make this worse or better. The way you talk to yourself and interpret the events in your life determines how much emotional pain you will experience. You can choose to see life events as problems or as a way to grow and learn from them.

When I hear about devasting events, how do I maintain inner peace?

In the news, we rarely hear of happy stories, those stories where people do good works or are helping others. Instead, we hear of the divisions in society, wars around the globe, riots, and murders. How can we maintain our inner peace when so much wrong is happening around us which we can’t control?

One way is to relinquish unnecessary control, whether it’s over yourself or other people. In preserving your inner peace, you have to accept what comes, especially when it’s from sources you can’t predict or control. Focus your perspective on those things you do have control over, such as your feelings and actions. Do what you can do, what you can’t do, or what is out of your control; you need to let it go. Holding on to what I can’t control will only produce anxiety because I can’t change it. 

Focus on the positives in life

When things are going wrong, it’s hard to recognize what is going right. It’s easy to screen out the good stuff and only focus on the wrong things. Remind yourself that some things are going right. Purposely look for the positive, even if it is something minimal.

You get what you look for. In other words, if your perspective is focused on the negatives in life, then all you will experience are the negatives. Yet, focusing our perspective on the positives, even the smallest of positives, will help you to see more positives around you. 

Here are perspective shifts you can do … 

1. This Too Shall Pass

2. Some Things are Going Right

3. I Have Some Control

4. I Can Ask for Help

5. I Have Overcome Past Difficulties

Here are positive thoughts you can work on …

1. Be Thankful You Woke up This Morning

2. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

3. Don’t Judge Others

4. Take Control of Your Mornings

5. Focus on the Good Things in Your Life No Matter How Small

6. Look at the Funny Side

Inner peace will stay with you so long as you remain focused on thoughts and behaviors which enable inner peace. 

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How to Keep Your Inner Peace and Hope in Today’s World

hope inner peace

Finding hope and inner peace in life is not always an easy task. Still, a hopeless life can be gloomy, depressed, and anxious. In this article, I write about ways to find hope in life, thus happiness and inner peace.

It is essential to find and sustain hope in order to lead a happy and peaceful life. Yet most of us know what it’s like to live a desperate life. A life where nothing is going towards us and nobody understands. The ‘take him out’, ‘sleep’ or my favorite, ‘get through’ incentive doesn’t help at all. If only it was that easy to overcome the feeling of despair.
Hope is a mechanism of the human brain

Hope is a mechanism developed by the human brain to deal with contexts and situations that are not conducive to survival. Without, where can we find a sense of hope in the future or hope in someone’s talent, our motivation, our will to go forward? In the worst times, it’s hope that keeps me going.

That “knowledge” that says there will be better things in the future. Hope forces me to find the impossible possible because I believed it was possible and therefore claimed that the possible was already real.

Author and evangelicalist Hal Lindsey put it beautifully: “Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air…but only for one second without hope.”

The hope and inner peace of helping others

There are many challenges faced by those who provide care for others. Yet they know the inner peace and joy that comes with helping others.

“Studies have shown that even simply volunteering can change a person’s health and outlook. A United Health Group study stated that ‘We now know people who volunteer feel better physically, mentally and emotionally better. And our volunteers tell us that they are convinced their health is better because of the things they do when they volunteer.’” (

It’s natural to care for others’ suffering, and we’re reminded of this important attribute by recognizing how we can heal in our own lives. It’s important to be patient with ourselves and others in this process. If we all contribute to this healing process, then we can break through those walls of self-sabotage and start to see changes in ourselves that are positive and significant. These changes will lead us to inner peace.

What’s the best way to deal with your fear and anger when witnessing other’s suffering? Stop to consider what else is going on, what message the suffering is trying to convey, and what you can do to help the sufferer heal. Their healing may teach you about yourself, giving you the gift of healing yourself.

… “(W)henever you feel overwhelmed, go back to the basics: pause, ground yourself, take a few very deep breaths, exhaling negativity, inhaling calm. Take the time to notice what you are feeling, holding the pain of the world with compassion, … breathing in Peace and Hope” (

My suggestions for finding hope in life

Do what you know you can do. Move forward by doing the things you know you can do. Maybe you can make the bed or get out of bed, celebrate small victories, as these will eventually become the necessary lessons for finding hope.

Take some kind of action. Helping someone else not only shows that there are good people in the world, but it also gives you the success and external pride of supporting another person. This feeling of pride that makes you feel healthy will lead to a sense of hope knowing that if you can help someone else, you can help yourself too.

Surround yourself with optimism. The attitudes of those around us affect our mood. Surrounding yourself with positive and hopeful people makes you positive and optimistic. Find out who are the positive people in your life and follow them.

Allow inspiration. Read inspiring books or quotes, strengthen your faith, return to your place of worship, do whatever it takes to believe and feel the existence of something greater than you. Knowing that a prayer community wants to help you and believe that something is higher than you gives us hope that we are not alone.

Spend time in nature. It is great to see and feel the depth of nature’s beauty. Look for the tiny insects and creatures. Think about how they survive and even thrive in their environment, given their size and lack of intelligence. If the insect can do it, you can too!

How you find hope in life is essential to finding the motivation to move forward, grow, and be the best person you can be. Do not lose your hope. Hold on and enjoy the ride.

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Anxious About Reentering Society After The Pandemic? Here’s Your How To Guide

Anxious about reentering society COVID-19

Anxious feelings are understandable when returning to everyday life after the pandemic. There will be a process of readjustment. There are bound to be thoughts or worries about the changes that are happening in your life. It is natural for people to want to stay in their comfort zone. Entering the unknown is what causes our anxious feelings. However, there are several benefits to returning to everyday life, so it is crucial to fight those thoughts.

Many states are relaxing the pandemic restrictions allowing us to “freely move about the cabin.” We’ve been physically away from people for over a year, communicating primarily through the computer. Interacting with people after so long of a time can be anxiety producing. We’re either unsure of the safety of our health or uncertain about how to interact with people again. “So, as more people get vaccinated, and we accelerate toward a new normal, is it any wonder that some people are feeling hesitant to let go of precautions?” Source: NYTimes

Nearly half of Americans say they feel uneasy thinking about in-person interaction once the pandemic ends, according to the American Psychological Association’s 2021 Stress in America report. (USAToday) These anxious feelings happen most often when we feel out of control in a situation, or when the change is unknown. As humans, we prefer to think that we are in control of our life. 

We spent many months adjusting to a “new way of life,” so it will take some time to again adapt to another new way of life, even if that life is what it used to be. Your lifestyle may return to what it used to be, but you aren’t who you used to be. You have been affected by living through a pandemic. Your mindset and outlook on life are different from what they used to be. 


What is normal? Typically, normal is referred to anything we sense as a known or an expectation of a way life is to be. In other words, normal can be fluid, changing as we change. So, why be anxious about going back to normal? Let’s create a new normal!

In June 2020, I wrote an article, “The New Normal – 7 Valuable Lesson Opportunities To Learn Now” suggesting that we take the positive changes the pandemic caused in us, keeping them as we return to “normal.” My suggestion of almost a year ago remains valid. An LA Times article reports that some 46% said they do not feel comfortable going back to living life like before the pandemic. (LATimes)  

How to cope with the anxious feeling:

1. Take it slow – No one is forcing anyone to immediately jump back into society. As you feel comfortable, start slow. Join a group of close friends, branching out from there. 

2. Don’t wait for the anxiety to go away – A strong reason for your fear is the unknown. Until you venture into society, it will remain unknown. Therefore your anxious thoughts will remain. It’s only by venturing out of your comfort zone that you’ll reduce the anxiety. 

3. Let go of resentments – We can’t control other people. There is no reason to hold resentment about other’s actions or the government’s actions. Control what you can control, your emotions, and your responses to what is happening. If you’re blaming others, let it go. Don’t let someone else dictate your happiness.

4. Change your perspective – Look at the world and those around you in a positive manner. We get what we look for. In other words, if all I see is negatively, then all I’ll experience is that negativity. So look to the positive, and you’ll get positive experiences in return. 

5. Teach others – As you’re learning to cope and feel less anxious, teach others how you are doing it so that they too can move forward. Not only will you help another person, but altruism is proven to make the giver feel positive and more at peace. 

If you’re feeling anxious, know that you aren’t alone. You can do things to reduce your anxiety, but the key is not to go through this alone. Reach out to others for support and camaraderie. And if you need a professional, find one of those, too. 

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Why Happiness is So Important for Your Health and Wellness

happiness happy

Happiness has more importance than just feeling good. Happiness is also essential to your health, longevity, success, and relationships. This is all proven by research and science. Happiness is healthy!  

We’re seeking something more out of life, and happiness is what we think will solve our issues. Yet happiness comes and goes; it’s a fleeting emotion. As I’ve written in previous articles, our goal should not be happiness. Instead, our goal should be inner peace. 

Therefore, happiness is not the end; it’s a means we use to get to the end, inner peace.

The importance of happiness is often discounted in a culture obsessed with material success. Still, it’s hard to purchase something that will make you happy in the long term.

Your happiness isn’t just important to you. It’s also important to your friends, family, and your employer.

Consider these ideas:

  1. Happy people are healthier. Happier people get sick less frequently and less severely on average. Happy people visit the hospital less often. A bad mood is bad for your immune system, too.
    1. Happy people are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. Your physical and mental health are at greater risk when you’re not happy.
    2. Healthcare is costly. Happiness can be a great way to save a lot of money.
  2. Happy people live longer. Several studies suggest that the happiest people live up to 10 years longer than those that are the least happy. Since happy people are healthier, they also tend to live longer too. Happiness can do more to boost your lifespan than just about anything else. It’s free, too.
  3. Happy people are more resistant to stress. Unhappy people are more easily overwhelmed when stressed. Happy people are better able to handle stress, and the effect that stress has on them is decreased. Being happy makes you more capable.
  4. Happy people are more successful. It’s worth asking if successful people are successful because they’re happy. Or are they happy because they’re successful? It’s likely a little of both. Happy people are more productive, have better relationships, and handle stress better.
  5. Happy people enjoy more robust relationships. Would you rather be around someone that was happy most of the time or someone that was not? Being happy can boost all of your relationships, including those with your partner, family, friends, and coworkers.
    1. Think about the happiest people you know. They tend to have great friendships and intimate relationships. They are close to their families, too.
    2. Unhappy people are often alone and have challenging relationships when they do have people in their lives.
  6. Happy people get more done. Happy people are more productive and are better employees. Think about how much better you take care of your home when you’re happy versus those times you’re unhappy. If you have an open position at work, consider happiness as a factor when hiring.
  7. Happy people have more friends. Of course, they have more friends. Happy people attract others. We enjoy being around people that are in a positive emotional state. We avoid those that aren’t. If you want to have more plans for the weekend, be happier!
  8. Happy people are more creative. A happy mind is more open to new ideas and concepts. A happy person is more likely to have a sound creative idea than someone unhappy.
  9. If you’re struggling to find a solution to a problem, put yourself in a happy state first. You’ll be much more likely to find the answer you need.

We often postpone happiness for a later date. We decide that we’ll be happy after we finish school, buy a house, save a certain amount of money, or find the person of our dreams. This is a mistake. Being unhappy harms yourself and everyone else in your life.

Do yourself and everyone else in your life a huge favor and make your happiness a priority!

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