The stigma of mental health illness is slowly being broken. If you’ve ever suffered with mental health, you know how debilitating it can be. Maybe the Covid19 pandemic helped people speak out about their mental health challenges.

Growing up, I’ve also struggled with my mental health and I’ve come to realize just how important protecting my peace is. It is a game-changer.

Years ago, I started protecting my peace without even knowing what protecting my peace meant. I did it unconsciously.  I never cared much about external validation but the person I was with, was the polar opposite of me. Because of this, I found myself being in the company of people I didn’t really want to be around.

I started distancing myself from those who drained my energy. This created some backlash against me. I started asking myself if I was the problem but now, I know that the problem wasn’t me.

What does protecting your peace mean?

It might sound silly but I wasn’t even sure if I understood what inner peace meant at the time.

Protecting your inner peace means that you need to listen to your inner voice. You know that ‘gut feeling’ that people talk about? You need to listen to that.

It’s about finding happiness and contentment within yourself, and being aware of what triggers your anxieties and fears. Protecting your peace also means staying away from things that drain you or threaten your state of well-being.

Why do you need to protect your inner peace?

It is important because if you don’t then you will be doing things to please other people regardless of how it makes you feel. Eventually, if you keep putting everyone else’s needs before your own, you won’t be able to take of yourself. You will be drowning in others’ problems.

Instead of focusing on what makes you happy, your focus is placed on other people. It can become a dangerous cycle and your life can take a downward spiral.

Stress, Anxiety

Earlier I mentioned that people are speaking out about their mental health issues. Sometimes, the stress and anxiety we fell might have nothing to do with our own issues. Often, it is the actions of others that trigger stress and anxiety within us.

If we allow the actions of the others to make us anxious and stressed, we are cheating ourselves out of our own happiness. It doesn’t matter who the other person is, our well-being must always be our priority.

Time, money, effort

Sometimes, helping others takes a lot of time and effort. Other times, you might also be spending your hard-earned money on them. These actions eventually become draining or worse, detrimental to your mental health.

I have been guilty of this, but protecting my peace is becoming my main priority. Sometimes we need to take a step back from our actions to gain a different perspective.

Recently a friend of mine reminded me that I needed to stop trying to help everyone. Even though I knew others needed help, I wasn’t in a good space to offer the help they needed. I was helping others but hurting myself in the process.

When people come to you with their problems but can see that you are in a bad space, they should not place additional pressure on you. If those people cannot acknowledge your well-being, then you need to re-evaluate the people you surround yourself with.

As much as you would like to help the world, just remember that you need to help yourself first.

How to protect your peace

Hire and fire people in your life

In the past, I was ridiculed for not wanting to be around certain people. I wasn’t exactly vocal about how I felt, but my actions spoke louder than my words. I stopped allowing people to mistreat me.

People get comfortable disrespecting you if you allow them to. I wasn’t aware of my own emotions or state of mind so I didn’t pay attention to my external environment either.

I kept some people in my life longer than necessary when I didn’t pay attention to my inner voice. I would get annoyed when I was around them but didn’t do anything to stop spending time with them.

When I gained enough courage to distance myself from those that drained me, my life began to change for the better. I replaced people that drained me with people who uplift and inspire me.

Time-off from technology

A habit most of us have formed today is checking our phone as soon as we wake up. Sometimes, we are still in bed but going through our messages. Before setting our intentions for the day, we allow our thoughts to be controlled by what’s on our screens.

If we receive bad news, then our whole day might be ruined. Protecting our peace means controlling our intentions and actions. By reading and responding to what’s on our screens before focusing on our own needs, we are allowing our thoughts, actions and day to be controlled by others.

Limiting our time with technology helps us refocus on the things that we want to do without interruptions. There is no pressure to respond if you haven’t seen the messages. Also, the negative stories in the media cannot affect you if you didn’t see it.

Learn to say NO

When we do things that make us uncomfortable, it triggers stress and anxiety. In the end, we are the ones that have to deal with our mental health. Making others happy should not be to the detriment of our mental health or peace.

You don’t have to say yes if you don’t want to. Those that love you will understand if you cancel plans or don’t want to do something.

Stop running back to those who broke you

Remember that person who hurt you? That person is not in your life anymore for a reason. Although people change, old habits also die hard.

Just because you are growing as a person, it doesn’t necessarily mean that others are also working on themselves. If they hurt you before, the chances of them hurting you again are high.

Forget about those that drain you because you will find people who add value to your life instead of dragging you down.

Don’t allow others to distract you from protecting your peace.

Things will fall into place

Be aware of what brings the most peace in your life. Others may not understand or agree with the things you do, but if it makes you happy, then do more of it.

I’ve just turned a year older and I couldn’t be happier. There was a point when I was worried about getting older and having certain expectations for my life.

But as I get older, the opposite is happening. I have accepted that things will happen at the right time and no matter how hard things may seem now – in a year, these problems probably wouldn’t matter.

When you have nothing to prove to anyone, you have reached a new level in your life and this will elevate you even further. Don’t ever stop protecting your peace.