Peace is the antidote to anxiety. Peace is freedom from a state of agitation, fretting, and worry. It is freedom from the fear of not measuring up.
Even the most confident people I know experience anxiety, pain, or fear. Sometimes weeks disappear from memory because of it.
But there’s a problem in our methods to achieving peace. Peace is weakened if we define success as objects, image and accomplishment. I’m not saying outer success and accomplishment are bad. I’m suggesting we alter where we place emphasis. Let’s see outside success and accomplishment as a sign of a healthy inside. In other words, outer success is a reflection of internal freedom from anxiety.
When you look into a mirror, your real self is standing in front. You are complete. The reflection is an image of you. Visualise the reflection in the mirror as your outward image, achievements and material success. That image is reflected by your real self.
Imagine standing in front of that mirror with happy eyes. You are looking at a person you take care of. You like who you are and the reflection of outer success is an extra benefit.
But this reflection is not your true self. You are the one standing looking at your outer accomplishments. Let’s look to the you standing there.
Your internal peace matters. But I don’t mean just speaking in a nice voice and avoiding conflict. I want to define peace as how you see yourself. How do you see yourself?
In an article published on Huff Post  the author looked at 12 habits of calm and happy people. They attribute calm, or let’s say peace, to happiness and the author lists 12 things to focus on for calm happy living such as; exercise, mindfulness, honesty and congruency, expressing emotions, being grateful and looking for opportunities in the messes of life.
I agree with these principles and I wanted to add something to this. How you see yourself, your innate self-esteem, impacts on your ability to use these habits. If we are depressed based on an unhealthy relationship with ourselves, it’s going to be harder to express emotions safely, or go for a run.
I found a research paper this week from the University of Salzburg, Austria in 2014 . The researchers looked at self-esteem and the association of high self-esteem on grey matter density in various parts of the brain. They called this the “self-liking brain”. They differentiated between two types of self-esteem:
The researchers found, if you are depressed, there is a bigger gap between actual self-esteem and ideal self-esteem. In other words, how you feel about your innate worth as a human doesn’t measure up to how you want to be.
If you want to be less depressed, actual self-esteem is important.
They also found that people with high self-esteem had greater density of grey matter in regions of the brain that help us to regulate our emotions. Regulating our emotions helps us to stay peaceful and there’s a greater chance our families will like us more.
So what can we do to build actual self esteem, which will help us pursue our ideal self and stay happy?
To sum up, the view you have of yourself impacts on the habits you choose and the outcomes of your life. When you choose to believe “I am good”, you are building your innate self worth, sometimes called trait self esteem. When you go for goals and achievements, the gap between where you are now and where you want to be will be closer together. Then you can enjoy your life now as you work towards your future.
 Agroskin D, Klackl J, Jonas E (2014) The Self-Liking Brain: A VBM Study on the Structural Substrate of Self-Esteem. PLoS ONE 9(1): e86430. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086430
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I’m the creator of Minutes to Happy and your go-to counsellor and wellness coaching companion.
I’m here to guide you in becoming your bravest self (no matter what wellness worries and chronic health challenges are plonked in your path).