By Dr. Karin Luise

The wise Mahatma Gandhi said, “Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.” But how? How can we find and hold onto a sense of peace within a world that seems to continuously make us afraid?

We hear echoing news chattering around us, being discussed between us and filling our bodies with distress – the world seems to feel more dangerous than ever before. New questions confuse our old sense of stability and make us look around corners with a new fear that our childhoods did not prepare us for. Our minds feel at unrest.

If you are like me, something inside of you is not comfortable here. You truly, deeply, want to feel at peace. We yearn to feel a renewed sense of safety to soften the harshness of the images coming at us – we just want to feel GOOD again. But how are we to find calm amidst a world with so much unrest? The answer lies within Gandhi’s quote: we must look within.

To the logical mind, this seems impossible. Quieting the mind and bringing peace to the soul seem like unreachable tasks. We are so inundated with anxiety that our bodies have learned to react by holding fear and living with heightened levels of stress, constantly releasing cortisol (stress hormones) into our systems. Through logic and cultural messaging, we have trained ourselves to cope in this way. But modern medicine has finally discovered how harmful it is for our bodies to continuously live in a state of stress. It is literally making us sick. So how do we reverse this cycle?

ADK-2016Fall-DrKarin02bWe must put aside logic, stress and fear for a moment and search for something based on higher-level emotions, such as contentment, pleasure and joy. By tuning into a deeper emotional awareness, we can tap into our spiritual sides, where love and peace always reside. Science is finding more evidence that this is the missing link to raising our overall whole body well-being.

Research on the effects of body-brain calming methods, such as meditation, shows that the benefits include more happiness, feeling more empathy toward others, increased gratitude, greater mental clarity and improved immunity. Brain studies show that by resting the mind through turning off the noise and tuning into silence, you are engaging the right hemisphere of the brain – the one that triggers creativity, intuition and positivity. Logic gets turned down, and good feelings get turned up.

With the simple act of disconnecting from the buzz of the world and reconnecting with the quiet of the inner self, you can find a peace that the world cannot touch. Neutrality heals the soul. This peace is continuously accessible and waiting for us to relax ourselves within it. It is divine and part of connecting to a source of love much higher than anything in this world. This can be as simple as walking mindfully amongst the trees, sitting quietly in a sacred space, or closing your eyes softly after you park your car, taking deep breaths for several minutes.

Even if it’s for only one minute, by turning off external noise and taking a few deep, slow inhalations, your body is instantly told to slow down. Consciousness opens up. Stress hormones dissolve. Your metabolic systems respond to this emotional-spiritual shift by lowering your heart rate and opening a more accepting awareness of the self and others.

Here is you: Emotion + Body + Mind + Spirit = the Whole Self. By nurturing these four parts of the self through mindful moments of quiet, the body and soul are drawn back to a place of peace that influences your day, week, and eventually your entire way of being. The body is granted restoration, inspiration and peace. The peace that we are all looking for.