1. Moderate your convictions.
Thinking in absolutes and holding to convictions without ever considering the viewpoints and perspectives of others is counterproductive to peace. While this may be convenient because it allows you to act with the confidence of absolute conviction, it blocks other realities in the world and can easily lead to conflict and divisiveness. It is hard work to remain open-minded but far more rewarding because it transforms you and promotes a lightness of being.
- Moderate your absolute convictions by always being ready to question and to reflect. Accept that your beliefs, faith, passions, or opinions are but some among many other beliefs, faith, passions, and opinions in the world.
- Find a variety of things to do in your life if you’re finding yourself slipping into immoderate stances about other people. It’s hard to be immoderate when you’re busy doing a range of things and seeing a wide range of people from all walks of life.
- Cultivate your sense of humor. Humor is a peace-lover’s disarming charm; few fanatics are ever humorous because they’re too busy taking themselves and their cause too seriously. Humor allows you to release tension and to show up the repressive tendencies of extremist thinking.
2. Be tolerant.
Tolerance in all that you think and do will make a difference in your life and in the lives of others around you. Tolerance for others is about appreciating diversity, the plurality of modern society, and being willing to live and let others live too. When we fail to tolerate others’ beliefs, ways of being, and opinions, the end result can be discrimination, repression, dehumanization, and ultimately violence. Practicing tolerance is at the heart of living peacefully.
Rather than jumping to negative conclusions about other people, change your own perspective and nourish the good in others. Seeing others as interesting, special, and caring beings underneath their bravado, anger, and torment, can bring about a great change for the better.
3. Practice happiness.
- Avoid violent movies and news reports of violence.
- Surround yourself with peaceful images, music, and people.
- Embrace healthy eating habits.
- Spend time enjoying nature – from a window, a park bench, a walk in the woods, etc.
- Exercise regularly.
- Look for opportunities to be in the silence.
- Be mindful in what you do, how you do it and what you speak.
- Practice speaking pleasant words in pleasant tones – avoid vulgarities.
Practice reflective listening. Spoken language is imprecise, and people under stress often say things that mask the real things they’d like to say. John Powell said that “In true listening, we reach behind the words, see through them, to find the person who is being revealed. Listening is a search to find the treasure of the true person as revealed verbally and non-verbally.” The importance of reflective listening to living a peaceful life is that you stop seeing people purely from your perspective and start trying hard to dig down into what another person is really saying and meaning. This can lead to effective give-and-take rather than reacting according to what you think you hear by inferring and guessing.
5. Be mindful and present.
Dwelling on what should have been and reliving past hurts, conflicts and annoyances will keep the mind frozen in a state of unrest. For there is no “outcome” that satisfies. Seething about the matter does not resolve . . . it only aggravates. Take long deep breaths, breathing in the negative and breathing out the peace.
6. Find inner peace.
- Make conscious decisions about what improves or beautifies your life while discarding the rest.
- When you’re angry, find a nice quiet place to stop, take a deep breath, and relax. Turn off the TV, stereo, or computer. Get out into nature if possible, or go for a good, long walk. Put on some soft music or turn down the lights. When you feel calm again, get up and get on with your life.
- At least once a day spend ten minutes in a peaceful place, anywhere where you can just sit quietly without distractions.
- Living in peace means more than living in the absence of violence. Try to cultivate peace in all areas of your life by reducing stress as much as possible.
7. Be the change you wish to see in the world.
- Change yourself.
- Be part of the solution.
- Talk to other people about their views of peace. Share ideas about ways to help create a more peaceful world and ways to embrace differences without falling into conflict. You might like to make videos to place online, or write stories, poems, or articles to share with everyone about the importance of peace.
- Help others.
8. Broaden your understanding of peace.
You’re free to choose your own path. Everything you’ve read on this list is a suggestion. It is not seeking to impose itself on you, At the end of the day, living in peace will be your of yourself and your response to those around you.