We’re living in stressful times. The world is a rocky place to navigate. War, politics, and pandemics can all be enough to weigh us down.
But what affects us more than anything?
The influences in our personal lives.
Whether it’s social media, our closest friends, or our workplaces, the energy we surround ourselves with directly impacts our wellbeing. If you find yourself constantly feeling drained, then it’s time to prioritize seeking inner peace.
Inner peace sounds nice, but there’s hardly a clear pathway to find it.
The best place to start? Taking steps to protect your peace from toxicity:
- What Does Protect Your Peace Mean?
- Why Should We Protect Our Inner Peace?
- How Can We Protect Our Peace?
- Finding Peace Is A Journey
Your spiritual defenses won’t be built overnight. But you can take the right steps today toward a life without burnout.
What Does Protect Your Peace Mean?
There’s not a one-size-fits-all definition. Everyone finds balance in different ways.
Essentially, protecting your peace means creating a healthy environment for your spiritual wellbeing.
It’s guarding yourself against negative influences that drain your energy and drag you down. You’re taking back the power over your inner peace by setting boundaries that prioritize your needs. Protecting your peace means standing your ground now to avoid burnout later.
Why Should We Protect Our Inner Peace?
Protecting your peace isn’t just a mental exercise. Leaving yourself undefended against toxic forces can destroy your long-term happiness and productivity through burnout.
Burnout is a global problem. It’s a syndrome where unmanaged stress leads to feelings of exhaustion, cynicism, and poor performance at work. Depleted energy and low motivation have a major impact on our overall quality of life.
The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t help this issue. Research shows that overwhelmed frontline healthcare workers reported crisis levels of burnout, with more than half of all medical professionals reporting symptoms.
Fortunately, the importance of protecting our peace is getting more recognition than ever.
Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka made headlines in 2021 when she backed out of the French Open to care for her depression. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles made a similar decision that same year, pulling out of the Tokyo Olympics over mental health concerns.
Despite criticism, moves like this are gaining more and more popularity among burned-out professionals. The costs of sacrificing your peace of mind are too great to ignore. Protecting our peace is essential to our physical and mental wellbeing.
How Can We Protect Our Peace?
Knowing you need to protect your peace is one thing. But actually, doing it can be overwhelming.
If you’re spiritually drained and don’t know where to start, try these six ways to take back your happiness:
1. Learn to say no
You’re a good person. You want to be there for people who need help. And sometimes that means dropping everything to do it—even if you don’t really feel like it.
But when this behavior starts becoming the norm rather than the exception, it’s time to reevaluate. Suppose you’re constantly saying yes when you mean no; that creates a ton of stress and anxiety. Eventually, these kind deeds will bring you more resentment than peace.
Setting a personal boundary can take the pressure off. Creating a clear, nonnegotiable rule with people who take too much is the number one way to protect your peace.
If you know that going to bed too late ruins your productivity the next day, then give yourself a strict cutoff on evening plans. Have a friend who likes to borrow money but doesn’t like to pay it back? Refuse to loan more until your past debts are repaid.
Saying no to a friend or family member might feel cold and cruel. But if this person really values you, they won’t try to take more than you can comfortably give.
2. Watch what you consume
There’s a reason they call it a social media “feed.” The content we consume online literally gets absorbed by our bodies and minds, like food.
If we take in wholesome messaging, we feel great. But if we watch garbage, we’re basically poisoning our peace. When we fill our screen time with negativity or triggers, it keeps affecting us on a deeper level, even after we log off.
To protect your peace, take a look at your content exposure. Do you follow pages that make you feel better about yourself? Or do you walk away feeling worse than before? Are the influences on your feed a negative influence or an uplifting one?
If the answers to those questions aren’t positive, it’s time to curate your content. The media we consume has a direct pipeline to our brains, but it’s also under our control. If a page is dragging you down, hit the unfollow button and replace it with something that brings you happiness.
3. Avoid toxic people
Some people have no limits on how much they’re willing to take.
Sucking up time in your already busy schedule, they expect constant attention. There’s no favor too big or too small to ask of you. They are either completely oblivious to the stress they’re causing, or worse: they actually enjoy it.
This type of person is called a peace stealer. They might mean well, but for whatever reason, they don’t see the damage they’re doing. Spending time with a peace stealer leaves you drained. You get nothing in return for your kindness but frustration and anxiety.
If you are in a toxic relationship with a peace stealer, it’s time to take action, whether it’s a family member, friend, or romantic connection; set healthy boundaries that protect you from overextending yourself.
What if they don’t respect your personal boundary?
You don’t need to cut them out of your life completely. But keep some distance to protect your peace. Invest less time in this negative influence and more time in yourself.
4. Find a mindfulness practice
Your thoughts control your life. In a world of social media, we focus so much mental energy on the perception of others. We can easily distract ourselves with constant text messages in a group chat or scrolling aimlessly late into the night.
But a cellphone is a tool. It’s not a path to happiness. If you’re looking for true peace of mind, replacing technology with a mindfulness practice is a great place to start.
This can look different for everyone. If you’re religious, a conversation with God in prayer can center you. Spending time in meditation is another way to ground your thoughts. Even practicing a hobby that brings you joy, like painting, can put you in a state of flow.
And if mental health is a peace stealer for you, then ask for support. Depression and anxiety are no different than any physical illness. If you’re struggling, see a doctor for patient care.
5. Focus on what you can control
A quick way to drive yourself crazy is to obsess over other people’s actions.
Humans are unpredictable. If you put them in charge of your feelings, then your inner peace will surely be sent into a tailspin. Pinning your happiness on something you can’t control will set you up for an emotional rollercoaster.
Don’t waste your time trying to change another person’s behavior. You can’t force anyone to do something they don’t want to do. If you wait for someone to fix their issues before you find happiness, you’ll be waiting for the rest of your life.
Focus on yourself and spend less energy being preoccupied with things outside of your control. Go to the gym and follow a healthy diet. Meditate and listen to music when you’re under stress. Journal and spend time outside to collect your thoughts.
Seeing the results of your hard work fills you with more peace than worrying ever could. It’s far more rewarding to put your efforts into what you can change.
6. Don’t fear change
Change can be scary. But if a single circumstance is wreaking havoc on your peace, then going in a different direction is the best way to protect yourself.
Have you tried to set boundaries and had an honest conversation with a toxic person already, but they still refuse to change? Then they aren’t oblivious to the impact of their behavior anymore. Now, their attacks on your peace are targeted.
If something is no longer serving you, don’t be afraid to walk away. Whether it’s a relationship or a job, know when it’s time to let go and move on.
Finding Peace Is A Journey
When you’ve allowed a peace stealer to cross the line too many times, you might feel too defeated to set healthy boundaries. But with small actions, you can build your defenses back up over time.
The first step is to focus on one little thing you can do in this moment to protect your peace.
Whether that’s reflecting in prayer or picking up a hobby that brings you joy, even a few minutes in your mindfulness practice can set you on the right track.
Finding inner peace is a journey. Your spiritual defenses won’t be built overnight. But you can take the right steps today toward a life without burnout.