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Karen Nimmo: 8 Traits of Enviably Peaceful People

Summary:
I want more peace.I want to stop the noise.I want to get rid of my anxiety.I want to be able to feel fully relaxed.Therapists hear these lines every day. And in a jacked-up world, one that’s wrestling with a global health crisis and all its brought with it, we’re hearing them more often.Anxiety is rife. That’s fair: there’s a lot to worry about. But how do we address it? How do we help people turn the worry dial down and find a comfortable way to live amidst the noise?If you ask people what they most want from life — beyond winning the lottery — they say a sense of peace. To feel okay with themselves, their people and their place in the world.It sounds like a simple ask — but it’s not, especially with uncertainty rattling all around us. Here’s how the truly peaceful do it.“Peace is the

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I want more peace.

I want to stop the noise.

I want to get rid of my anxiety.

I want to be able to feel fully relaxed.

Therapists hear these lines every day. And in a jacked-up world, one that’s wrestling with a global health crisis and all its brought with it, we’re hearing them more often.

Anxiety is rife. That’s fair: there’s a lot to worry about. But how do we address it? How do we help people turn the worry dial down and find a comfortable way to live amidst the noise?

If you ask people what they most want from life — beyond winning the lottery — they say a sense of peace. To feel okay with themselves, their people and their place in the world.

It sounds like a simple ask — but it’s not, especially with uncertainty rattling all around us. Here’s how the truly peaceful do it.

“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” — Wayne W. Dyer

A lot of people say they’re “active relaxers”; they don’t like to sit around in their down time, they like to Do Stuff. Run. Play sports. Move. Really, it’s just code for “can’t sit still” which means you have some internal angst going on. Peaceful people can adjust their speed dial. They can sit still. They don’t feel driven to fill every day with movement; they don’t beat themselves up for not being #productive. They can truly relax.

Peaceful people are not last-minute-people. They don’t have to pull all-nighters to meet deadlines; they don’t turn up for flights breathless, with underwear hanging out of their half-closed bags. They know what rushing does to their blood pressure and stress levels, so they allow plenty of time for whatever they need to do.

Peaceful people express their views clearly, but succinctly and at a volume that doesn’t have others reaching for ear plugs. They don’t wind themselves into a frenzy over things they can’t control, like politics or sports results or the sometimes bizarre actions of other people. They don’t fire off tweets without thinking about how they’ll land or who they’ll hurt. When they speak it’s intentional — they say what they mean to say, which means they don’t suffer the angst of regret over things they wish they hadn’t said.

They are okay with not knowing where things are going to land. They’re not critical or judgmental, they accept that other people have a right to make their own choices. Because they hold life lightly, they can adapt fluidly to changing circumstances — a highly prized skill in uncertain times.

It’s impossible to live 100% in the present, because our past informs who we are now and everyone worries at least a little about the future. But the most peaceful people are able to see — and deal with — life as it is, rather than as Wayne Dyer said, “as it should be”. Besides, the present is where the fun happens.

Peaceful people use their time on what matters. If their family matters to them, they don’t give all their best energy to work. If their work matters to them, they don’t waste their best energy on nights at the cocktail bar. They’re strategic with their time. They know intentional choices lead to better outcomes — and way less guilt.

Peaceful people screw up like the rest of us. But when they do they don’t internalise it; they don’t let those little voices inside their heads work up a chant. They either take action to make up for what they’ve done or let it go — or both. Then they give themselves a break. They’re good at forgiving themselves.

When you’ve spent time with a peaceful person, you know it. Your heart-rate will be on cruise-control, you’ll have lost that tight thrum in your chest, those racing thoughts will be taking a nap. You’ll start to breathe deeper, all the way down to your stomach, and easier. That’s their gift to you. Accept it with grace. And do whatever it takes to keep them in your life.

Miles Kimball
Miles Kimball is Professor of Economics and Survey Research at the University of Michigan. Politically, Miles is an independent who grew up in an apolitical family. He holds many strong opinions—open to revision in response to cogent arguments—that do not line up neatly with either the Republican or Democratic Party.

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