9 Ways to Find Peace of Mind in Tough Times

9 Ways to Find Peace of Mind in Tough Times

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass,
it’s about learning to dance in the rain.
―Vivian Greene

Over the past decade Marc and I have dealt with several personal hardships of varying degrees, including the sudden death of a sibling, the loss of a best friend to illness, and an unexpected, breadwinning employment layoff.

These experiences were brutal.  Each of them, unsurprisingly, knocked us down and off course for a period of time.  But when our time of mourning was over in each individual circumstance, we pressed forward, stronger, and with a greater understanding and respect for life.

Here are some vital lessons we learned – ways to maintain peace of mind in tough times:

1.  Learn to trust yourself.

“It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is.  As you heal and grow, it will all work out.  Relax and trust yourself.”

Repeat that in your mind every morning.  Because the truth is, it all works out in the end.  Put your full trust in yourself by following your intuition and doing your best, and then move forward one step at a time with faith and confidence in the future.  Life will not forsake you.  Love, persistence and hard work combined rarely lead a person astray in the long run.

If you have faith in your abilities, if you stay true to the path that feels right, if you channel your passion into action, you will ultimately achieve a breakthrough.  In other words, as soon as you trust yourself you will know how to heal and grow.

2.  Focus on what you’re learning.

Mistakes and setbacks are simply a form of practice.

If the road is easy and free of bumps, you’re likely going the wrong way.  The bumps in the road teach you what you need to know to progress down a path that is all your own.  Sometimes things have to go wrong in order to go right.  Sometimes you need to change a flat tire or two before you can move on.

Bottom line:  Your journey isn’t supposed to be easy, it’s supposed to be worth it.  To never struggle is to never grow.  There is no perfectly smooth road to anyplace worth going.

3.  Ease your expectations.

Life is under no obligation to give you exactly what you expect.  Whatever it is you’re seeking will rarely ever come in the form you’re expecting.  Don’t miss the silver lining because you were expecting gold.

You must see and accept things as they are instead of as you hoped, wished, or expected them to be.  Just because it didn’t turn out like you had envisioned, doesn’t mean it isn’t exactly what you need to get to where you ultimately want to go.

4.  Open up to someone you trust.

You aren’t alone; let someone special in when you’re in a dark place.  You know who this person is.  Don’t expect them to solve your problems; just allow them to face your problems with you.  Give them permission to stand beside you.  They won’t necessarily be able to pull you out of the dark place you’re in, but the light that spills in when they enter will at least show you which way the door is.

Above all, the important thing to remember is that you are not alone.  No matter how bizarre or embarrassed or pathetic you feel about our own situation, there is someone in your life who has dealt with similar emotions and who wants to help you.  When you hear yourself say, “I am alone,” it’s just your insecurities trying to sell you a lie.  (Read Daring Greatly.)

5.  Use hope to drive positive action.

Only in the dark can you see the stars.  The stars are hope.  Look for them.

The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for.  And the most you can do is live inside that hope as you work for what you want.  Do not admire what you hope for from a distance, but live right in it.  Get deeply involved with the thoughts and activities that keep your hope alive and your intention possible.

No, hope alone will not save you from despair.  Hope empowers you to strive and grow even when your circumstances are in shambles.  The road that is built with hope is more pleasant than the road built in despair, even though they both may seem to lead you to the same place in the short-term.  But it is the positive growth you attain on your way to this temporary place that will benefit your final destination.

It’s all about balance – accepting reality without giving up on what needs to be done to reach your desired destination in the long run.

6.  Move TOWARDS something instead of AWAY.

“Don’t think about eating that chocolate cookie!”  What are you thinking about now?  Eating that chocolate cookie, right?  When you concentrate on not thinking about something, you end up thinking about it.

The same philosophy holds true when it comes to freeing your mind from a negative past.  By persistently trying to move away from what you don’t want, you are forced to think about it so much that you end up carrying it’s weight along with you.  But if you instead choose to focus your energy on moving toward something you do want, you naturally leave the negative weight behind as you progress forward.

Bottom line:  Instead of concentrating on eliminating the negative, concentrate on creating something positive (that just happens to replace the negative).  (Read Learned Optimism.)

7.  Take a few steps back.

Everything seems simpler from a distance.  Sometimes you simply need to distance yourself to see things more clearly.

You are more than whatever is troubling you.  A very real part of you exists beyond your worries, beyond your doubts, independent from the troubles and frustrations of the present moment.  Step back and observe yourself as you experience each moment.  Be present.  Watch yourself as you think, as you take action, as you experience emotions.  Your body may experience pain, and yet that pain is not you.  Your mind may encounter troubles, and yet you are not those troubles.

Think of the most difficult challenge you face right now.  Imagine that it’s not you, but a close friend who is facing this challenge.  What advice would you give her?  If you could step back and, instead of being the subject, look at your situation as an objective observer, would you look at it any differently?  Think of the advice you would give your friend if your friend were in your shoes.  Are you following your own best advice right now?

Don’t allow your current troubles to cloud your thinking.  Take a few steps back and give yourself the benefit of this distance, and then give yourself some great advice.

8.  Give yourself time.

Take all the time you need.  Emotional healing is a process; don’t rush yourself through it.  Don’t let others force you through it either.  Moving on doesn’t take a day; it takes lots of little steps to be able to break free of your broken past and your wounded self.

Take today breath by breath, one step at a time.  Never let trouble from the past make you feel like you have a bad life now.  Just because yesterday was painful doesn’t mean today will be too.  Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us.  Today you have a choice to explore these parts of yourself.  Give yourself the needed time and permission to explore and heal.  (Marc and I discuss this in more detail in the Adversity and Growth chapters of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

9.  Look for the beginning in every ending.

A wise man once said, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”  Today is a new beginning; treat it that way.  Stop thinking about what might have been and starting looking at what can be.

Say to yourself: “Dear Past, thank you for all the life lessons you have taught me.  Dear Future, I am ready now!”  Because a great beginning always occurs at the exact moment you thought would be the end of everything.

The floor is yours…

What’s gives you peace of mind when times are tough and stressful?  Please leave a comment below and let us know.

Photo by: Martina Photography


  1. rajeev says

    All i can say with my resent experience is …When one door of opportunity closes, God gives another and definitely the better one …. I do agree life is not about a smooth ride, it is indeed your Karmas that get you places …

  2. Shrey Gupta says

    Thanks for this wonderful article. I feel burdened in life because of the huge emotional baggage I am carrying on my shoulders. I think a lot about could have beens. But that past is not coming back. I took some ugly decisions some bad ones and some crazy ones too. After reading this beautiful article I have come to realize how much I reminisce my past. My presents good too. I think I should not forget how blessed I am in my present moment. To hell with the Past.

  3. Vin says

    A very nice article. I really needed this post with all that I am suffering today. All the 9 points mentioned above are so good and I am going to adopt them in my life. Thank you so much.

  4. Arvind Saraogi says

    Very well written. The teachings of Lord Buddha and The Gita also talk on the same lines. Embrace change as ‘Change’ is the only constant in this universe. We alone our own masters and our own slaves. We are the absolute owners of our mindrabnd soul. If we think in a peaceful and positive manner then we will emit peaceful and positive vibrations. Its all in our hands.

    Creation and then destruction and then creation is the only truth. Birth and death, Day and Night and then day again etc…

    We must understand that life is short so let us try and give love love and love

  5. Prathap Raj says

    At first, I was imagining myself with my loved ones during bad times. But, as a matter of fact it is like I’m scared of reality & in seek of imaginary person taking care of me. Later, I learnt that sitting in a garden & preparing yourself for the worst actually makes your worries look easy to solve and that’s not all, you even get to smile with ease. The article here is just one thing that helps us. Thanks guys.

  6. Louiji says

    I am unaware of myself ever being in a state of peace of mind, however I believe if you remain who you are, ignoring every negative aspect people imply, you will obtain a state of peace. This article helped quite much. Thanks for this. Negative things do not exist, their just the absence of something positive.

  7. Ben Owilli Oyunu says

    Thank you so much for this advice. Just by reading what you guys have written here is making me feel so much stronger in this current pathetic situation I am in. I wish you all the best.

  8. Shamira says

    Hi Angel, thanks for the words. They really did rekindle something positive in me. Yes, every thing is going to be alright…

  9. says

    Thanks this is great information. I am struggling with loneliness as single dad of great 10 year old son but been alone most of my life . Hit about each biz goal I have set but personal life has been a wreck.

  10. Sumit Thakur says

    Thank very much for such a great lines. These lines inspire me to do something fruitful in my life.

  11. Geetanjali says

    It is not that I did not know these things, but that part of my consciousness has been deeply buried. Thanks for waking it up!

  12. chris60 says

    Thanks for this article as it is most reassuring to rediscover ways to regain peace in the midst of agitated feelings. Peace and light will always rise again once you sit with the pain and sift through the debris to arrive at a point of deep calm and inner bliss. It is so true that most of us struggle to regain a sense of who we originally are beneath all the wounds and disturbing interactions that form a cloud over our perceptions of self. To uncover the original self is akin to sand-blasting all the faulty programming that has marred and scarred access to our true self. At our core we remain pure light and pure love and only we can regain this oceanic feeling by sifting through the rubble that has blocked access to this fact. Breath in and regain connection to this inner point of serenity: to me it appears a serene ocean with a sun slowly rising to engulf the sky.

    Muse on what you love, find a quiet place to reconnect with yourself and ground yourself, absorb yourself in nature and memories of who and what you love, and feel free to express whatever rises until you find the body feels lighter and freer. Learn to trust that there are others on a similar path who you will find along the way who can serve as anchors and mirror your potential to both love and be loved without shame or fear. Soak up the memory of such encounters and use them as precious gems to rid your sense of being all alone and abandoned by the world. Slowly we shift from dark moods and dark places to an expansive understanding that all of us are connected with a higher source of consciousness that provides grace and a reservoir of inner peace. Forgive the past to embrace the future with greater clarity and ease.

  13. Mals says

    I’m going through a very difficult time right now, but after reading these steps, it is really helping me. I feel very very far away from my husband, connection is going away, but he won’t make any attempt to regain anything. Last night was the first time I stayed up all night crying my eyes out bc I was in so much pain. At about 4a.m., I started reading the steps and everyone’ comments. It really helped to put my mind at ease, everyone has such great comments. I woke up this morning and read everything all over again. The thought of someone not caring about you who you love can really bring someone down. But I’m a big girl and I can get through this.

  14. Flybynight says

    “Whatever it is you’re seeking will rarely ever come in the form you’re expecting. Don’t miss the silver lining because you were expecting gold.”

    Such true words, especially when it comes to having children. When we have children we expect them to be “normal” and healthy and we project all these dreams and expectations on both them and the life we expect we will lead with them. Then some of us have a “not normal” child and the whole thing is constantly a challenge and often painful. Thank you, I appreciated reading your words today as I searched for some inspiration on a difficult day. Now I am going to spend some time thinking about and finding the silver lining brought to my life by my unique child (now a teenager) instead of focusing on what he will miss out on, have difficulty with, what I have lost or adapted to.

  15. Denice says

    I have read your posts on Facebook for a while now. I recently lost my soul mate and I have depended on your daily posts the past few weeks, but this one has been the best. I just Thank you for helping me thru this most difficult time and want you to know how much I appreciate you.
    Thank you again,
    Mrs. Denice Hord

  16. says

    I’ve been reading this blog over the past two months or so while I deal with my own issues. Not many people relate to my difficulties, leaving me feeling lonely. Most of the times I feel so unloved and uncared for. So I turn to the web to find inspiration and comfort. I already knew these things but reading something like this when you’re alone and in tears of distress brings unexpected support. I know I will make it. This too shall pass.

    Thank you Marc and Angel for the inspiration!

  17. Angeline says

    Thank you so much. . . this article really helps to lesser the pain that I feel. . .it’s true that every event has a purpose.

  18. MKV says

    I guess during any stressful event at my personal or professional space… the thought that makes me move or switch my mind is the wonderful time I have everyday with my child… She makes me forget by simply making me fully involved in her playful work.

  19. S.D.Roy says

    The article is extremely good. I m passing a difficult relationship. I want to end it. Every time a inner fight and conversation with self is going on like a CD in a player. This gives me pain make me angry sometimes frustrated. I prayed sincerely for peace and end of all relation. I don’t know the result. Then just I was looking for any solution. I read the article. I shall try to go about it.May God bless all and me.


  1. It’s all about mastering the feeling of impermanence! Nothing is permanent and this too shall pass. It’s not easy, but it seems to keep things in perspective. To consider the alternative – that everything is permanent includes every thought, feeling, bodily sensation – is too awful to consider.

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