How to Have Peace of Mind: Counseling and Life Coaching Tips for Conquering Worry and Anxiety

Peace of mind? “Yeah, right … ” you might be thinking. These days, finding peace isn’t exactly easy. After all, we have a million reasons to stress. Just think about it …

An uncertain economy

Rising unemployment rates. Monstrous national debt. The possibility of financial ruin.

The threat of terrorism

Tension in the Middle East. A war against terrorism that never seems to end. Fear of nuclear weapons. Political drama.

Crumbling families

Conflict. Arguments. Defiant kids. Falling out of love. Divorce.
Who wouldn’t stress out thinking about life in today’s world? Anxiety. Worry. Fear. For many Americans, these attitudes have become the norm. Many of us live as victims of our circumstances. But we don’t have to. Counselors and life coaches point out that peace of mind is not some strange, mystical reality. It’s the ability to not “freak out,” even when life gets crazy. Peace of mind enables us to relax and enjoy life in spite of the uncertainty and stress that comes with being human. It’s experiencing serenity. Contentment. Joy. Satisfaction. Inner calm. Sound appealing? Sound impossible? If you find yourself anxious and worried, try these tips:

  • Unplug Unless you are pro-active against busyness, the daily grind will steal your peace. Take a few minutes every day to sit…and do nothing. (Sounds crazy, I know!) Otherwise, information overload will fry your brain. So turn off the i-Pod, the cell phone, the TV, and the computer…and just relax. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Meditate on the good in your life. Enjoy the silence.
  • Roll with it Don’t sweat the small stuff. A rude cashier. Spilled coffee. Rush hour traffic. Little annoyances in your day will happen, but you have a choice. Will you get stressed out over every little thing that doesn’t go your way? Or will you choose to step back, take a deep breath, and see the big picture? Remember, the world doesn’t revolve around you. Rather than getting an attitude, try to make someone else’s day better.
  • Forgive easy Face it: conflict will happen in your life. There will be days when you want to stay angry. Don’t do it. Choose to forgive. Holding on to your bitterness will only destroy your relationships and steal your joy. Forgiveness isn’t easy, but it sets you free to live your life, rather than being stuck in the past.
  • Let go of unrealistic expectations Free yourself from the approval of others. You don’t have to make everyone happy. It’s impossible, and if you try, you’ll go through life torn, stressed, and insecure. So quit being a perfectionist. Trying to be perfect may seem noble…even fulfilling … but in reality it’s a bondage.
  • Learn to say “no” Don’t bite off more than you can chew. You are one person…and that means you can’t do everything. So be realistic in what you commit to. Every time you say “yes” to something, learn to say “no” to something else. Counselors and life coaches point out that it’s better to do a few things well than to spread yourself too thin and live in perpetual stress.
  • Seize the moment. Pursue what you’re passionate about today. Don’t wait. Don’t procrastinate and don’t make excuses for yourself. Take responsibility for your decisions and schedule your time wisely. The decisions you make today will determine who you are tomorrow. So set goals … and start running after them. Pursue your dreams.
  • Find joy in little things. Rather than focusing on the negative things in your life, count your blessings. Let’s be honest: you can’t control everything…as hard as you might try. So take life as it comes, and choose joy over anxiety. Simplify your life, and take time to invest in relationships. It’s worth it. Peace of mind … or worry … can be the defining reality in your life. Which will you choose? As one writer puts it:
  • Peace It doesn’t mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things … and still be calm in your heart. Counselors and life coaches have found that peace of mind is cultivated one moment at a time. Rather than living in bondage to worry and anxiety, choose peace today. You won’t regret it.
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Dr. Anthony Centore

Anthony Centore, PhD

Anthony Centore, PhD, is Founder and Chair at Thriveworks — a counseling practice focused on premium client care, with 340+ locations across the US. Anthony is a Private Practice Consultant for the American Counseling Association, columnist for Counseling Today magazine, and author of "How to Thrive in Counseling Private Practice". He is a multistate Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and has been quoted in national media sources including The Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, and CBS Sunday Morning.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."