Small Habits for a Peaceful Day

    Having a more peaceful day doesn't mean we're able to avoid all the hum and buzz of the world. Nor does it mean we have to be silent or utterly still. Being more tranquil simply means we refocus our minds and center ourselves on our mindful intentions for the day.  

    That's where having small, peace-bringing routines or restful rituals near at hand can help us. Even if our heads keep churning or we can't shut out external noise, we can practice focusing on the moment and our inner stillness. We can take a few minutes to pause, be calm, and breathe. We consciously return to our calm, quiet center.

    Having an object can help with distraction, whether that's something tangible like a worry stone or prayer beads, or an idea, like a person we hold in light. Sometimes we need movement to help us, and other times all we need is to stay very, very still.

    The most soothing habits help us re-focus our minds gently and with intention. We shift from thinking about turmoil or stress, to focus deliberately on gratitude, beauty, or stillness. Here are 37 ways to spend 5 minutes or a half hour to rediscover your inner peace and tranquility.

    Peaceful five-minute habits

    1. Remind yourself of the intentions with which you started the day
    2. Choose an affirmation that reflects your intentions and write it continually for 5 minutes
    3. Find different ways to phrase your affirmation as you write, and let it evolve
    4. Write down as many things as you can think of that you're grateful for
    5. Write a thank-you note to someone
    6. Light a candle and watch the flame dance
    7. Give yourself a very slow, gentle hand or neck massage
    8. Look out the window and choose one thing to focus on. Just observe.
    9. Think of one person who has made you smile this week and hold them in the light
    10. Try a 5-minute chair stretch
    11. Invent a secret, sacred space in your head. Visualize every detail about this space, including sounds, scents, textures, and colors
    12. Doodle random shapes in a sketchbook or on post-it notes
    13. Sit and enjoy your favorite essential oil or perfume
    14. Grab a notebook and write free-form for five minutes. Give yourself permission to throw it away when you're finished, if you like
    15. Close your eyes and count backward from 1,000 by threes. 1,000, 997, 994... The minor math keeps your mind from wandering back to your to-do list
    16. Write down funny three things to tell your spouse on your next date night
    17. Make a cup of tea, slowly, with attention
    18. Sit and pet your cat/dog/ferret/rabbit/resident furry animal
    19. Grab some colored pencils, pens, markers, or crayons and color an abstract swatch of today's weather
    20. If it's sunny outside, find a place to sit with your eyes closed, face to the sun
    21. Close the curtains and dance
    22. Eat a piece of in-season fruit. Really pay attention to the texture, flavor, juiciness, and mouth feel
    23. Walk barefoot in the grass, slowly and with attention
    24. Walk in any direction for 2 minutes. Walk back. Notice how the walk back feels different
    25. Turn your walk into a walking meditation. Pay attention to the space around you, the soles of your feet, your clothing brushing your skin
    26. Cut some flowers from your backyard and stick them in a glass. Or a vase. I have some tips for making anything work

    Peaceful habits for a half hour

    1. Yoga, stretching, and exercise all top this list, of course
    2. Carry some pencils and paper outside and sketch the first flower you see. Don't judge, just play with lines and shapes
    3. Hop over to Foxboro Therapy to learn about creating your own Art Journal, if you feel like taking art journals to a more artistic level
    4. Sit with a book of poetry and find something that speaks you
    5. Write a love letter to your spouse. Mail it to your home, or save it for your next date night
    6. Write a letter to someone you haven't seen in a while. Remember that wonderful feeling of getting a handwritten letter in the mail?
    7. Rummage through your kids' stuff and find some Playdoh. See how many animals you can make, or create food sculptures, or make some little clay flowers for your desk at work
    8. Find some crayons or markers and color in a coloring book
    9. Try a recorded, guided meditation if you're not accustomed to being still in your mind
    10. Write a letter to your teenage self about how far you've come
    11. Write a letter to yourself five years from now, describing what's best about this day