If we've learnt anything this year, it's that life has a way of throwing off our inner peace occasionally. But if there was one silver lining that we can take from 2020, it's that we've been afforded the time to look into methods to keep optimistic, relatively stress-free and on top of feelings of anxiety. This International Day of Peace, we've looked into seven practices from around the world that are easy to implement into our everyday lives, that might just remind us to tune in to ourselves and find a bit of inner peace to see us through the tough times.
Laughter Yoga - India
Laughter really is the best medicine, isn’t it? But beyond the popular saying, there are genuine health benefits to be gained from laughing and you don’t even have to be surrounded by hilarious people. Simply forcing yourself to laugh will also do the trick. Originating from an article by Dr. Matan Kataria in 1995, his practice involves a combination of breathing exercises and forced laughter which has the effect of feeling an improved sense of happiness, immune system and oxygen flow to the body and brain.
Inemuri - Japan
Inemuri translates to 'power naps' and the Japanese are big fans of them - anywhere, anytime. It’s not a completely deep sleep, but more like a cat-nap or a daydream, and is seen as respectful because the napper has clearly worked so hard, they needed to take a moment to rest their weary eyes. We all need a moment of peace sometimes and to take some time to clear your mind is a good way to reset and regain some focus.
Plan de Vida - Costa Rica
Plan de Vida is often translated to ‘why I wake up in the morning’ and pertains to one's life purpose. Coming from a ‘blue zone’ country - one of six places around the world with a higher-than-average life expectancy - it obviously works! Simple pleasures and a reason to live is what drives the people of Costa Rica daily. Serving the community and spending time with friends and family are key, as is living a generally healthy, active lifestyle. A simple, but effective, key to living a long and fulfilling life.
Tibetan Singing Bowls - Tibet
Tibetan Singing bowls are used as a type of sound healing. The hypnotic sounds they emit are great for reducing stress, pain in the body, depression and help to prepare your mind for meditation. The idea is that when one's vibrational frequencies are imbalanced due to stress or illness, such as headaches, the sonic waves produced by the bowls balance out the body's vibrational frequencies once again, restoring a feeling of peace and wellness.
Friluftsliv - Norway
Friluftsliv in Norwegian translates to ‘free air life’ and simply means to explore, value a relationship with nature and immerse yourself in the great outdoors for a heightened sense of happiness. Fresh air is great for clearing the mind and to live in the moment amongst tall grass, swaying trees, the sound of birds and all that nature abounds in, couldn't be a more ideal environment to do so. Indulge in a spot of camping or a walking holiday to achieve friluftsliv.
Yerba Mate Tea - South America
A cup of tea does generally fix most things, but this traditional South American herbal tea, made from the leaves and twigs of the Ilex paraguariensis plant, is packed full of health benefits. Rich in antioxidants and nutrients, yerba mate is also a good replacement for coffee as it contains caffeine so can boost energy, improve mental focus and enhance physical performance. Introduce the occasional yerba mate tea into your routine and see if you notice any of these mood-boosting benefits.
Keyif - Turkey
Keyif, a bit like a Japanese inemuri, is all about that peaceful moment to oneself to perhaps sit down, enjoy a quiet space with a hot drink, truly live in the moment and take some time to be mindful. It also depends on having caught up with friends and family and knowing you’ve shown them that they are appreciated and loved. Keyif is having those things in order and then taking a moment to do nothing - happily and with meaning.