Why do we struggle so much in our search for peace?

What I have found in my own life, and by talking to people in my work as a psychologist and yoga teacher is that most people are on the search for happiness and the search for peace. It is what we all ultimately want in life. Very often we think if we reach some sort of milestone, we will find this sense of everlasting happiness and peace. We hear people say so often – your childhood, school years, 20’s, 30’s, and so forth are the “best days of your life”, yet in this same respect they can also be the most challenging. Why is it that we are so addicted to this search for peace? Ultimately it is what we all want, right? To be happy, healthy and feel at peace. Yet so many of us live in a way that is in stark contrast to this due to this belief that if I get to certain place then I will find peace. If I have a certain job, dress a certain way, own a certain house on a particular street, travel to an exciting destination once a year, then maybe I will find peace. We spend our childhood wishing for adulthood for the privileges it brings. We spend our adulthood wishing away the week for the weekend, our next holiday, or sometimes even retirement. We seem to have the expectation that the grass will be greener on the other side, yet when we get there we often realise that it isn’t all we dreamt it to be, and the feelings of peace are only ever fleeting.

The way we relate to and manage our daily stressors can be a contributor to this “wishing life away” trap that we can find ourselves in. As humans we are predisposed to avoid things that present a danger, and this system has developed so well, that often we cannot tell the difference between real danger and perceived danger. This “wishing life away” trap can develop as a result of the relationship we have with our stress response. If we fantasise about the future and how much better it will be, it almost makes the present stressors more bearable. This can be an effective way of managing stress and discomfort in the short term, but in the long run it means we run the risk of missing out on the moments of bliss that are already right in front of us. Avoiding discomfort is a normal part of being human, yet the more we do it the more attractive it becomes, and we can start to do it without even realising! What we need to realise is that happiness and peace is not an everlasting feeling. We as humans need to feel all emotions, and unfortunately society tells us that we need to feel happy all the time to be considered “normal”. Marketing is great at trying to sell happy to us in the form of a product or service, but again this is always fleeting.

What I would like to suggest to you instead of getting stuck in the “wishing your life away” trap, is to spend some time getting to know yourself and your stress response. We cant banish all stress from our lives (as much as we wish we could), but if we can learn a new way of responding to our stressors, it may mean that we no longer need to wish our lives away for a short term sense of comfort. This is where yoga and meditation can become tools to assist us in becoming aware of our stress response as it arises on the mat, learning from it rather than fearing it, and taking all of this off the mat into our day to day lives. Evidence has proven that daily practice makes a difference in the way we can perceive stress. We cannot make change without shining the light of awareness first. I suggest you start with a beginners yoga or meditation course, like the ones offered at Manic Organic, or if you are not ready to join a group of people, perhaps consider free apps such as “Smiling Mind” to start your meditation journey.

If you are interested in learning more about the research and the science behind our stress response and how this take us away from our sense of peace and happiness, join me at my up and coming three part series at Manic Organic on Friday 23rd Feb, 2nd March and 9th March from 7-9pm. I will be teaching you evidence based practices that when practised frequently will assist you in finding a new way to manage your stress response, which will leave you with more moments of peace in your day to day life. Bookings available at manicorganic.com.au