SYF: Looking for Peace in 2008?

Overscheduling, overeating, family tensions, major credit card debt for gifts we often do not need . . . ‘tis the season to be jolly! What ever happened to the spirit of peace that traditionally is sung of during this holiday season? Making a few small changes can help you recover this sense of peace in the New Year.

Ask yourself a few questions:
1. Looking back over the holidays, what is one cause of stress you would like to eliminate next year?
2. What would you really enjoy adding to next year’s celebration?
3. Name one reasonable thing you could do daily that would bring more peace into your life.

Peace is an inner state of calmness; harmony with people and one’s surroundings. True peace is not dependent on the behaviors of others, or the absence of illness. It is the ability to accept with composure whatever challenges come your way. Here are a few suggestions for cultivating a spirit of peace into your life:

• Examine what helps you feel peaceful. Maybe it’s having fun with a good friend, listening to music, meditating, exercising. Whatever works for you, build more of those experiences into your daily life.
• Build more free space into your life. Learn to say, “No.” Keep your life simple. Let go of non-essentials. Do less and you’ll enjoy it more!
• Reach out to ease the way for others. Lending a helping hand, spreading cheerfulness is good medicine for everyone.
• Cultivate the companionship of calm, happy, peaceful people. In a subtle way, you’ll find it easier to bring that sense of peace into all your relationships.
• Spend time in nature with your eyes and ears and heart wide open. Even brief moments here and there can make a big difference.
• Say no to worrying about the past and fretting about the future. Live fully in the here and now. Embrace the wonder of each day.
• Avoid dividing your attention. With peace as your companion, do one thing at a time. Give full concentration to the task at hand, and you’re likely to do it correctly!

Use your creativity to schedule in some relaxed periods for being quiet and having some solitude. Remember that sometimes a lack of peace is an inner call for a change in lifestyle, the mending of a relationship, or forgiveness. If this is the case, you’ll know it and can take the necessary action. What a great way to begin the New Year!

Additional information is available from your local office of Penn State Cooperative Extension. In Clearfield, the office is located in the Multi-Service Center, or by calling 765-7878. In Brookville, the office is located at 180 Main Street, or by calling 849-7361. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce.

(Reference: University of Kentucky.)

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