The Best Present Is Peace of Mind

 In Better Life, Focusing on the positive, Negative emotions

As I chat with my friends and neighbors, I see so many of them letting their happiness and peace of mind be consumed by things they can’t control.  Some common themes are unfair situations, betrayals by people they trust, frustrations with other people, and, especially lately, politics. It makes me sad as I watch these things hurt the quality of their lives and their relationships. I feel even more determined to let people know that there is another way.

I’ve found it incredibly helpful to understand that most of these reactions are due to our survival instincts and threat responses kicking in.  These natural feelings come over us quickly and can dominate our minds. The exciting news is that we CAN override these instincts.  It’s not easy, but it IS possible.

Most of the time, we don’t CHOOSE our thoughts.  Instead, our brains look for some perceived danger or problem to focus on, without any input from us.  They ruminate on stuff like betrayals, failures, dramas, frustrations, future worries, disappointments, and “things we don’t have but think we should.”  Sound familiar?

I was recently exchanging emails with my wise cousin.  She was telling me that she’s a big list maker.  I instantly assumed she meant to-do lists.  But then she told me that she likes to make lists of things she’s grateful for, things she values most, things she can do right now to make herself happy, things she finds beautiful, etc.  Of course, I loved her lists!  I thought of other lists we could make, like our proudest moments, our successes/achievements, examples of when we’ve helped someone else, and examples of nice things people have done for us.

If we practice training our minds to choose from these lists instead of their default survival lists, just think of how much more peace we could enjoy and how we could take the energy we spend on things we can’t change and use it for things we can.


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Tina Hallis, Ph.D. is Chief Positivity Officer of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping people and organizations increase their positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures. She is certified in Positive Psychology, an authorized partner for Everything DiSC®, and a Professional Member of the National Speaker’s Association.

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