In Matthew 5:9 Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” Sometimes it’s the small acts that add peace to your life. As a child of God, be intentional about peacemaking. Here is a sampling of suggestions to bring peace to your life and the lives of those around you.
1. Listen, listen and listen more. James 1:19 encourages us to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.” Listening carefully creates peaceful relationships and harmony at home.
2. Learn to adapt. A recent overseas missions trip with 30 teens adopted the motto “be flexible and adaptable.” Have the mindset that you can handle unexpected situations when they arise and life will go more smoothly.
3. Work off stress. Before you go home, stop by the fitness center or take a walk. Medical experts tell us that exercise releases endorphins that provide a boost to our outlook on life.
4. Review your expectations. Improper expectations often cause disappointment and strife. Add peace to your life by setting realistic expectations regarding situations and relationships.
5. Get lost in music. Listening to soothing music brings down your heart rate and creates a sense of well-being. According to Prevention magazine, Raymond Bahr, M.D., a cardiologist at St. Agnes HealthCare in Baltimore, found that for his cardiac patients, listening to classical music for 30 minutes produced a calming effect equivalent to a 1 mg dose of Valium.
6. Take a 10-minute retreat. Find a quiet spot where you can cut out noise and other distractions. Take time to breathe deeply. A few minutes alone allows you to slow down and recharge.
7. Plan leisure time. Many of us pack as much as we can into our days. Activities, family responsibilities, work and social obligations allow for little rest time. Schedule time for yourself. Planned leisure gives you room to breathe. Check out the book Margin by Richard Swenson, M.D., for ideas on how to create a balanced life.
8. Pray. Lift your concerns up to God. He will help you realize you never have to carry your burdens alone. Read Philippians 4:6-7.
9. Watch your tongue. “Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Psalms 34:12-14
10. Eliminate clutter and disorder. Peace comes when things are in order. It’s frustrating to search through piles of papers for something you need. Get organized and notice how much more calm you become.
11. Plan. Keeping to a schedule helps create order in your life and enhances your sense of control and tranquility.
12. Create a no-phone zone. Turn off the phone or turn down the ringer for a certain time each day. We forget that phones were made for our convenience. God did not create us to be on the phone constantly.
13. Avoid envy. “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30
14. Set e-mail times. Respond to e-mails at a set time each day. E-mail can be a time robber, causing hours to pass by without warning. Schedule a time to respond to e-mails so you don’t feel electronically nagged all day.
15. Walk the dog. Getting away from your daily tasks for a few minutes spent in nature can change your perspective.
16. Find a “procrastination partner.” No, this isn’t someone who helps you procrastinate; he or she will instead hold you accountable to get projects done that keep stealing your peace by hanging over your head.
17. Go natural. Recordings of natural sounds provide a relaxing backdrop for many activities while still allowing you to focus on the work at hand.
18. Read scripture daily. Peace comes by reorienting all of life around Jesus, the giver of life. Reading the Bible every day helps us make sure all our activities reflect the priorities of Christ.
19. Buy a good joke book.Laughing releases endorphins and creates a sense of inner calm.
20. Spend within your means. Debt can rob peace from you and cause strife in your relationships. Try to remain debt-free when at all possible.
21. Take a bike ride in the park. Riding a bike is one of the more relaxing ways to spend an afternoon. The fresh air is sure to improve your mood.
22. Learn a new hobby. Try something new. Take an art class. Sign up for piano lessons. Research the class offerings at your local community college and sign up for one on a topic you’ve always wanted to learn about.
23. Count your blessings. Focusing on God’s blessings puts uncertain times into their proper context. Psalms contains many examples of how the Israelites recalled God’s faithfulness to them.
24. Volunteer. Reaching out to someone in need can be a source of happiness. Select a way to serve that plays to your skills and abilities.
25. Smile. Mark Stibich, Ph.D., reports that smiling reduces stress, boosts your immune system, lowers your blood pressure and releases endorphins. He also says it makes you look younger. Imagine that.
26. Journal. Writing about the events of our lives causes us to see patterns, understand our interactions and gain meaning in life. Our new perspective can help us better deal with people and events and gain a new appreciation of what God is doing in us.
27. Ask Jesus to give you a sense of peace. Pray for peace during the storms of life. “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16
28. Get enough sleep. According to Harvard researchers, lack of sleep can affect learning, memory and the ability to make good choices. Check out www.healthysleep.med.harvard.edu for more information.
29. Learn to say no. We all get requests for our time, money, attention and emotional energy. Learn to say yes only to requests in line with who God has created you to be.
30. Confess a known sin. As believers in Christ, we can be grateful for the gift of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit calls your attention to sin in your life, confess the sin and move on.
31. Be in community. We are social creatures. We need other people. Talk with friends and neighbors around you on a daily basis.
32. Sit around a campfire. Campfires allow us to slow down, removing all electronic disturbances. They promote conversation and reflection. Build a big campfire and roast marshmallows with those you love.
33. Visit a spa with a friend. Nurturing yourself once in a while gives you more energy to be effective in your day-to-day activities.
34. Take food to a neighbor. Share something from your kitchen or your garden with those who live near you. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion—just take them a plate of cookies to be neighborly.
35. Get a sitter. Get a babysitter for the kids so you can window-shop, read a book, grab a cup of coffee with a friend or visit an antiques show.
36. Make comfort foods. Downhome favorites have earned that moniker for a reason. Enjoy some comfort food in the colder months.
37.Sow seeds of peace. “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:18
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