How to Find Inner Peace and Happiness – Practical Steps You Can Take Now!

Inner Peace and HappinessWriting an article on how to find inner peace and happiness is quite a challenge to take on! But, that really is what this website is about. As someone who suffered with major depression and low self-esteem for over 40 years, I want to help others find victory and live their best lives! My mission is to help people find inner peace and happiness!

Obviously, I won’t be able to exhaustively cover the topics of inner peace and happiness in one article. But, I can discuss several key changes that I made in my life that have helped me move from a generally sad, discouraged and depressive state to a state of well being, positivity and happiness most of the time. As I suggested in the article title, I will focus on actionable and practical steps you can start taking right now!

I will touch on a number of topics in this article, including understanding and getting control over your inner thought life, self-love and compassion, mirror work, reflective movement, meditation, gratitude, breathing exercises, and the process of taking charge of your mind and getting well.

The Typical Way We Approach our Inner World is Not Conducive to Inner Peace and Happiness

First, we will take a brief look at how most people approach their inner thought life, and how that approach makes it very difficult for most people to find inner happiness and peace. As you have probably heard before, the external circumstances that we experience in life do not make us happy or sad. No, it’s our reactions to them. Happiness or lack thereof comes from within – from our thoughts and mindset. Most people go through life somewhat on autopilot. We react to circumstances with our conditioned responses. This is based on our childhood programming and interpretations of our life experiences up to this point. This usually happens in the background of our minds without much conscious thought. So, at the most fundamental level, by default, we go through life having this unconscious inner dialogue with literally thousands of thoughts a day. And sadly for most people, this unconscious inner dialogue does not serve us well.

Frustrating ApproachSo, the problem is an inner thought life that does not serve us well. And, we are largely unaware of this inner world. Even if we are aware of some recurring negative thoughts, we don’t really know why they are there or how to change them. What is the first step towards finding inner peace and happiness? Self awareness – discover how and why you think the way you do. This does not come naturally and will take effort and discipline.

Understanding What and How You Think (Self Awareness) is the First Step in the Journey to Inner Peace and Happiness

Keeping a Journal Improves Self Awareness

I will tell you what has worked for me to increase my level of self awareness dramatically. First, I developed the habit of journalling every day. I set a simple rule for myself that I would journal at least one sentence every day so that I would not get overwhelmed with feeling like I had to write pages every day. My journal is a digital journal that is in the cloud. So, I can add to it on my phone or any computer. I have found that convenience is important! I also like to start every morning with a journal entry. If I wake up feeling anxious, I write out what is bothering me in detail. This helps me see more deeply into my thinking and it also acts as a therapy session to work through issues. I wrote more extensively about journalling in my Emotional Freedom Techniques article. So, check that out for more.

Observing Thoughts Without Judgment

The other habit I have developed for self awareness is the habit of observing my thoughts without judgment. This means that rather than getting upset with the way I am thinking, I approach it with an attitude of curiosity, almost like a third party observer. Of course, when you combine this with the journal, you get great insights into your thinking and tendencies. If you then study your journal over time, you really get to know yourself and are able to start making conscious changes to how you think in a variety of situations. You start to make more empowering choices.

A Personal Example on the Value of Self Awareness

Self AwarenessI would like to share an example of how increased self awareness has helped me reduce anxiety and find more inner peace. As I continued to write about what was bothering me or making me anxious in a given moment, I realized that there are many times that I conflate three or four different things that are causing me stress into one huge and unmanageable ball of stress. For example, if I am stressed about one part of my marriage, a part of my career, and this other part of my finances all at the same time, it is overwhelming. But, if I take the time to break the anxiety down into the three individual parts and figure out the best approach to each of them, including mindset and action, I have now made the situation manageable!

How You Talk To Yourself is EVERYTHING on the Journey to Inner Peace and Happiness

Self-Love and Compassion is SO Important

Next, lets talk about the broad topic of self-love and compassion toward yourself. I have a number of suggestions to help you make progress in this. But first, I want to emphasize how important this is. Love is a continuum. When you love yourself more, you will love others more. When you are compassionate toward yourself, you are compassionate toward others. When you learn to love yourself, you will more naturally start to think positive and supportive thoughts toward yourself and the various areas of your life. It’s really hard to over-estimate the importance of loving yourself! I wrote more about self-love and compassion in my Emotional Freedom Techniques article.

Affirmations and Mirror Work

How do we love ourselves better? As I became really attentive to my inner thoughts, I realized how unkind I was being to myself. Really, I was my own worst enemy. This was incredibly destructive in my life. One of the things I started doing consistently every morning is to look in the mirror and tell myself over and over again how much I love myself and that I am worthy of all good things. It was definitely awkward at first. But over time, it became a habit and I started to believe it.

Affirmations and positive thinkingOne of the things that I realized about myself as I started to move from hating myself to genuinely loving myself is that I had spent most of my life trying to please other people. Because I had no self-esteem, I sought validation from others. All of us have things we long to hear from others. Our heart yearns for love and acceptance. What I discovered is that I could speak the words that my heart longed to hear to myself! It’s incredible how powerful it is when you realize that you can be your own best friend and validate yourself! This changed my life dramatically for the better.

So, try the mirror work. Try noticing supportive or self-loathing thoughts and consciously replace them with loving and empowering thoughts. Stick with it. Push through the awkwardness and doubt. It will become a habit and it will change everything! I list some great affirmations in my Dr. Wayne Dyer Quotes article.

Affirmation Index Cards

Another thing that has really helped with motivation, focus and self-esteem is creating a stack of index cards with affirmations and goals on them. So, I focus on self-worth, who I want to become, and goals I want to accomplish. Then, I pull them out as needed for motivation and encouragement.

The Dark Side – Embracing Negativity and Using it For Your Good

This one may come as a surprise to you, but hear me out. One of the traps I see “positive thinking” people fall into is the internal pressure they put on themselves to be positive all the time. This leads to denying their true feelings in an effort to be this perfectly positive person. However, I have found that true self-love can only exist when you are completely honest with yourself. I have learned the importance of being compassionate with myself and loving myself in the weakness and negativity that is part of being human. Allow yourself to be human and imperfect! Love yourself even in the midst of facing the things about yourself that you hope no one ever finds out about!

What are You Doing RIGHT?

It’s so easy to see what your are doing wrong and focus on that. Try asking yourself “What am I doing right?” Be kind to yourself and give yourself credit for progress. I guarantee you are doing something right! I ask myself that question from time to time and journal my response.

Gratitude is Key to Inner Peace and Happiness!

gratitudeThe next habit I want to touch on that will help you find more inner peace and happiness is gratitude. I know this one is talked about a lot, but it is critical. I practice gratitude when I am feeling down or when I am upset with someone I love or upset with a situation that didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. One great general gratitude habit is to make a list of ten or so things that you are grateful for in your life and review it often – whenever you find yourself looking at the negative side of life instead of the positive. If you are upset with someone you love, think of some things that you really love and appreciate about them.

As the old saying goes, what you appreciate appreciates. I have also noticed that gratitude really improves your relationships. If you focus on what you appreciate about someone, they tend to respond positively. When we are critical of others, they tend to get discouraged and live down to your expectations.

Meditation and Breathing Exercises for Inner Peace and Happiness

Obviously, a lot has been written about meditation. It’s a very popular topic. The big thing I want to emphasize here is that using meditation to quiet your mind is very beneficial. We are not going straight to a deep spiritual practice here (Although this is a worthwhile goal!). Start out slow and build a habit of giving your mind some time for peace and quiet. Keep it simple. Try taking slow, deep breaths and focusing on your breath for five or ten minutes once or twice a day. Also, you don’t have to try to get into a spiritual position. Just find a comfortable position, sitting or laying down.

meditationI have found that taking slow, deep breaths as needed throughout out the day is a great breathing exercise for stress. So, if I am anxious or upset, I start breathing slowly and deeply for a couple of minutes. Meditation and breathing exercises help me manage stress, anxiety or sadness throughout the day.

You can check out a meditation and breathing exercise demonstration by Lady Gaga in my Celebrities with Depression – Lady Gaga article. There are two great videos in that article.

I also want to point out an article I did on Brainwave Entrainment technologies. In brief, you can use brainwave entrainment audio technologies to help get your mind into various meditative and relaxing states. I have used this technology for years and still use it every day as a part of my meditation time.

Reflective Movement Helps Bring Peace and Clarity

What is reflective movement? Reflective movement is combining physical exercise, breathing exercises and contemplation into one practice. The way I do it is I take a brisk walk around my neighborhood or wherever is convenient. I breathe deeply and slowly. Depending on the purpose I have in mind, I either contemplate an issue or issues in my life, or I just quiet my mind and enjoy the walk with gratitude. This promotes creativity, peace and happiness. Obviously, exercise really helps with your mood. Walking can also help bring clarity to whatever you are thinking about. And, the deep, slow breathing with the walking promotes emotional peace. I do this all the time and consider it an important part of my routine for inner peace and happiness.

Conclusion

In this article, I discussed a number of topics, including understanding and getting control over your inner thought life, self-love and compassion, mirror work, reflective movement, meditation, gratitude, and breathing exercises. In conclusion, I want to talk a little about the process of taking charge of your mind and getting well. I want you to understand that at first, when you try to make major changes to your way of thinking, you will face significant resistance. I want you to understand what’s going on so that you can expect it and work through it.

subconscious mindYou’ve been thinking a certain way for probably decades and you want to change. Your subconscious mind is thinking “I don’t understand this completely foreign way of thinking. I don’t want to change. Are you sure you want to do this?” So, at first, you are fighting the momentum of your subconscious mind. There is a period of time where you have to persevere and show your subconscious that you are serious. Gradually, over time, your mind sees that you are serious and that things are going to be different. Eventually, you get to the point where your subconscious mind is fully recruited as your ally. Then, was a cycle of perseverance and frustration becomes a virtuous cycle. It gets easier. So keep at it.

If you have any thoughts or questions on how to find inner peace and happiness, please leave a comment or question below. I would love to interact with you and help however I can. Also, you may have a point that I missed, in which case, I will edit the article to reflect new information.

All the best!

Mark

 

 

 

Comparing the Best Brainwave Entrainment Programs for 2019 and Beyond

Brainwave EntrainmentSince I have used various brainwave entrainment products over the years, I thought it would be helpful to compare some top programs and give you my perspective from experience.

In this article, I will discuss and compare the best brainwave entrainment CDs, MP3s and others, the different types of brainwave entrainment technologies used in various products, benefits and warnings related to brainwave entrainment and meditation in general, and my recommendation for the best brainwave entrainment products for different individual situations and experience.

This is not an exhaustive review of every program on the market, by any means. I will be recommending and commenting about programs that I have personal experience with using, or have come highly recommended by others whose opinions I respect.

I will review Profound Meditation Program 3.0 by iAwake Technologies, Brain Evolution System (BrainEV) and Zen12 by Inspire3, and Holosync by Centerpointe Research Institute.

Benefits of Brainwave Entrainment

Why use brainwave entrainment products? The simple answer is that it can help you experience the benefits of meditation much more rapidly than just practicing meditation by itself. You can experience deeper meditative states fairly quickly that may take years otherwise – if you are ever able to get to it the “natural” way!

Introduction to Brainwave Entrainment Technologies

With the advance in technology, brainwave entrainment has come a long way in the last decade. So, there are very some sophisticated audio technologies that combine the latest in scientific research that go way beyond the basics. However, the most common audio technologies used in brainwave entrainment are binaural beats and isochronic tones. Some companies mix in subliminal messages (Verbal messages spoken below the normal range you can hear – designed to be absorbed by your subconscious mind) as well. My thought on the subliminal messages is that they can work – just make sure you know the exact messages being said and that they agree with what you want!

“A binaural beat is an auditory illusion perceived when two different pure-tone sine waves, both with frequencies lower than 1500 Hz, with less than a 40 Hz difference between them, are presented to a listener dichotically (one through each ear).” (Source – Wikipedia)

The basic goal, without getting too technical, is to tune your brain to the difference between the two frequencies.

“Isochronic tones are regular beats of a single tone that are used alongside monaural beats and binaural beats in the process called brainwave entrainment. At it’s simplest level, an isochronic tone is a tone that is being turned on and off rapidly. They create sharp, distinctive pulses of sound.” (Source – Wikipedia)

Here is what you need to know for practical purposes when evaluating different brainwave entrainment programs. You need headphones to experience the benefits of binaural beats, while isochronic tones can be played over a speaker and still benefit you. (Although, never a car speaker, please. You do not want to be driving while doing brainwave entrainment!)

Introduction to Brainwave States

Brainwave StatesBrainwave entrainment programs are customized to help you achieve various brainwave states for different purposes. Here is a brief summary of states:

Beta is between 14 and 40Hz and is most associates with normal awake consciousness

Alpha is between 7.5 and 4Hz and is a very relaxed but alert state. It can be very restorative and is not typically difficult to achieve with brainwave entrainment.

Theta is between 4 and 7.5Hz. This is most associated with light meditation and the state you are in right before you fall asleep.

Delta is between 0.5 and 4Hz) and is associated with deep sleep.

Gamma is above 40Hz and is associated with problem solving and getting in touch with your intuition.

Other, less commonly discussed states are hyper gamma (Around 100Hz), Lambda (100 – 200 Hz), and Epsilon (barely above 0 to .5 HZ). These are only achieved by very experienced meditators, Tibetan Monks, etc. But, they can be achieved with brainwave entrainment with time and patience.

General Warnings about Meditation and Brainwave Entrainment

In my experience, the same warnings apply to both mediation and brainwave entrainment. While you will almost certainly experience enormous emotional and spiritual growth over time with a regular meditation practice, it will not be a straight line up! What I mean by this is there will be emotional issues that come up along the way as you get to know yourself better. So, you may experience agitation, anger and frustration at times. You should be patient with yourself and expect issues to come up. If you want to read more about how I use journalling and other techniques to deal with these emotional issues, please check out my article on Emotional Freedom Techniques.

Knowing that emotional issues do come up, I place a high value on community support in my recommendations below.

Profound Meditation Program 3.0 by iAwake

This one is great for beginners or more advanced meditation practitioners. I thought I would start with this one first, because this is the main brain entrainment program I use in my own daily meditation practice. Why? Because, in my opinion, it uses the best combination of advanced entrainment technologies and comes with enough tracks to last for a lifetime of meditation. It is also flexible in that you can customize it based on your needs for a given day. For example, I have found that at times, I need a break from advancing my meditation and taking it to the next level. The Profound Meditation Program includes several relaxing restorative tracks that are wonderfully relaxing and allow me to recover from the emotional issues that can come up as I advance in my meditation.

It also includes tracks for the Gamma and Hyper Gamma states, which are great for gaining insights into your life. And, there are several tracks for the Epsilon state. This is typically for people with more experience with meditation. But it’s there when you are ready.

Advanced Brainwave Entrainment TechnologyIt is difficult to even articulate how advanced the technology is compared to the binaural and isochronic tones of most other programs. Here is a partial list of the technologies:

Unique auditory neural entrainment technology

A wide variety of powerful carrier frequencies

Proprietary biofield (subtle energy) entrainment technology

The user manual includes a detailed discussion of the advanced neural and biofield science behind the Profound Meditation Program. I have noticed a profound difference in the effects I experience with these tracks vs others I have used, including Project Meditation/LifeFlow, Holosync and numerous others.

Finally, the documentation and support is excellent with iAwake and the Profound Meditation Program. You can interact with serious and knowledgeable people in a private Facebook group and get a lot of questions answered in the extensive user manual.

Please note that iAwake recommends one hour of meditation daily. But the good news is that all the tracks are 20 minutes long. So, if you only have 20 minutes, you can have a complete meditation experience. You can also customize many different sequences of the 20-minute tracks if you only have 40 minutes or an hour.

I recommend that you check out a free demo of the technology.

Brain EV and Zen 12

BrainEV and Zen12 are both products from the same company, Inspire3. Brain EV has been around for a long time, whille Zen 12 is part of their new product line.

The Brain Evolution System (Brain EV)

Brain EV is an impressive system for users of all levels of meditation experience. The product is endorsed by a number of well-known personal development and business legends, such as Brian Tracy of Brian Tracy.com, Mark Joyner of Simpleology.com, Dr. Joe Rubino of CenterforPersonalReinvention.com, and Kirsten Howe of GoBigCoach.com.

Here is how the program works. There are six different progressive levels that are designed to be listened to once a day for only 30 minutes, six days a week. So, it’s a very manageable time commitment. The idea is to listen to a level for one month, then progress to the next level, until the program is complete for 6 months. So, it’s very straightforward and modeled after the original Holosync program discussed below.

Their tests indicate that brainwaves of listeners of Brain EV go from a scattered, stressful state, to a much more relaxed and peak state after only 15 minutes of listening. Pretty impressive. I think this is a great program to get you from wherever you are right now to a more relaxed and high performing state in a reasonable amount of time and commitment.

Like many vendors of Brainwave Entrainment products, there is a free DEMO of the technology in action. So you can see for yourself how it works for you before buying.

Zen 12

ZenThe idea behind Zen 12 is to be able to enjoy the benefits of meditation in only 12 minutes. So, it serves a really important niche within today’s society. When I contacted Inspire3 to inquire about the differences between Brain EV and Zen 12, they mentioned that the main difference is that Zen 12 will get you to the same end goal as Brain EV. Brain EV will get you there in six months; Zen 12 will get you there in 1 year. So, it’s really a matter of personal preference on the amount of time per day that you want to spend on it.

So, Zen 12 is particularly good for beginners with limited meditation experience or those that just want a quick meditation session.

Zen 12 also offers a free DEMO of the Brainwave Entrainment technology. So you can see how it works for you.

Holosync by Centerpointe Research Institute

Holosync has been around for decades and I have used the product myself. So, I am familiar with it. This really started out as the pioneer in brainwave entrainment technology and offers excellent products and support. The founder, Bill Harris, passed away in 2018. While I think Holosync is an excellent product, I am of the opinion that other companies are now more advanced in the technologies they use. Holosync is also a larger investment than the other programs I mentioned.

Conclusion

In this article, I discussed several top brainwave entrainment products – Profound Meditation Program 3.0 by iAwake Technologies, Brain Evolution System (BrainEV) and Zen12 by Inspire3, and Holosync by Centerpointe Research Institute. In my opinion, the best brainwave entrainment product is Profound Meditation Program 3.0 by iAwake Technologies. Because, it uses the best combination of advanced entrainment technologies and comes with enough tracks to last for a lifetime of meditation. It is also flexible in that you can customize it based on your needs for a given day.

Please comment below with any questions or to share your experiences with brainwave entrainment technologies.

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