10 Simple Tips & Shortcuts to Inner Peace & Joy

Guest Post by Ashley Davis Bush, LCSW. Scroll to the end for a chance to win a copy of her book Shortcuts to Inner Peace: 70 Simple Paths to Everyday Serenity. Winner chosen on March 19th.

Does your life feel “crazy” and “nonstop”?

Is your mind always busy?  Does it feel like stress is your constant companion?  Do you long for some quiet, for just a little inner peace in your life?

Opening to Joy

Although stress and anxiety seem to be caused by our circumstances, in reality, stress is caused by our response to our circumstances.  The good news is that we can learn to change how we respond to challenging situations. We can learn healthy, easy exercises that will calm our stressful thinking and redirect our experience to one of gratitude, acceptance and joy.

What are Shortcuts to Inner Peace?

But who has the time for lengthy exercises, right?  That’s the beauty of the Shortcuts.

Shortcuts are simple, brief mindfulness exercises that are easy to integrate because they are prompted by ordinary, everyday activities and experiences.  You’ll find that they are daily stepping stones to access your innate inner peace no matter how busy or hectic your life.

Shortcuts are designed take us off autopilot

Shortcuts to inner peace create a restorative pause in our usual fast pace.  They quickly become new habits and, through repetition, actually change the way our brains respond to stressful situations.

So use these 10 Shortcuts to experience more peace and less stress in your life . . . starting today!

Shortcuts to Quiet the Busy Mind

1) Freeze Frame  To do when you drink your coffee or tea in the morning:

As you take your first sip, pause for a moment, take a deep breath, freeze the frame (make a mental camera click sound), and think, Life is good. Notice, breathe, absorb, and savor the tastes as well as the moment. Develop this happiness habit with every drink throughout the day.

This tool creates a “pause” which momentarily stops the physical and emotional spiral of the day.

2) Go with the Flow  To do when washing your hands:

Whenever you’re at a sink and touch water, let the stream of liquid cue you to say, “I go with the flow” or “I trust the universe” or “I have faith in the flow of what is.”  This exercise reminds you to let go and flow with the current of life.

With this tool we remember the peaceful power of acceptance.

Shortcuts for Gentle Transitions

3) Shakedown  To do when you come home at the end of the day: 

Before you walk through the door, spend a moment “shaking down” your body, as if you are shaking off water. Shake your right and left legs and feet. Shake your right and left arms and hands.  Finish by gently shaking your head and letting your shoulders relax.  Take a deep breath and heave a hearty sigh.

When we clear or shake off energy from our days, we restore ourselves to a place of calm so that we can be present at home.

4) Rest in Peace  To do when your head rests on the pillow at night

As you rest, review your day and think of three things that happened for which you are grateful.  Actively recall each instance and re-create the experience of it.  Hold the feeling and imagine yourself as a sponge, letting the memory sink into you.

By reflecting on moments of joy during your days, you create a habit of positivity and you become increasingly more joyful and more peaceful.

Shortcuts to Open Your Heart

5) Stop, Drop, and Roll  To do when stopped at a red light.

Stop,” “drop” down into your heart, and “roll” out a little goodwill and open heartedness to those around you. Look at the pedestrians and the people in other cars all around you, and recognize that each one of them is just like you: They want joy and they want to be free from suffering.

Connect for a brief moment and wish them well. Focus on one person at a time and say or think something like:  May you know happiness. Peace be with you. I hope you have a nice day.

Warm feelings toward others activate the calming aspects of our own nervous systems and offers us a deeper sense of inner peace.

6) Remember This  To do when you’re stuck in a line or have an unexpected wait 

Ask to yourself, “what do I need to remember”? Keep asking yourself this question until you get a substantial answer like “I need to remember what really matters in life,” “I need to remember how lucky I am to have healthy children,” “I need to remember that on my deathbed, none of these worries will matter.”

When the answer comes to you, feel the emotions behind the remembrances and let them flood your body. Redirecting our thoughts to life’s big priorities helps snap us out of patterns of stressful thinking.

Shortcuts for Reactive Relationships

7) Take 5  To do when you find yourself getting angry or frustrated with someone

Breathe in through your nose to the count of five. Feel the air as it comes through your nose and expands into your lungs. Hold your breath to the count of five and then purse your lips and exhale long and slow through your mouth.  Repeat several times.

When you redirect your mind to an awareness of our breath, you create a moment of calm in which inner peace can bloom.

8 ) Cheesecloth  To do when you’re in a crowded, loud environment or when you’re being faced with a hostile encounter.

Breathe in deeply and imagine yourself becoming a porous fabric, and let the fluid world—all sights and sounds—pass through you. Breathe out slowly and observe as words, insults, and emotions float through and around you while you remain unattached and nonreactive.

Watching that energy wash over us without consequence trains our brains to be nonreactive and lets us move into a place of peace.

Shortcuts to Connect with Spirit

9) Daily Dose  To do in the morning just before getting out of bed. 

As you lie in bed, state an affirmation as a form of mindful intention. Begin with a deep breath. As you breathe out, say, “I am peaceful today” or “I experience inner peace throughout my day.”

Say it in the present tense as if it is already happening and let yourself feel that peace sink down deep inside you.  Think of this Shortcut as a morning “peace pill.”

When we take a moment to set our intention on calm, we set the day off on a trajectory of peacefulness and we break the cycle of automatic morning thoughts.

10) Big Sky   To do when you get in the car or before you get on public transportation.

Look to the sky . . . contemplate the vast space, the details in the clouds and imagine beyond the blue sky to our solar system and beyond. “Breathe” in the sky, “breathe” in the spaciousness, and as you exhale slowly, say, “The spaciousness above is mirrored within me.”

When we remind ourselves that we are a tiny and vital piece to the puzzle, our worries become pretty “small stuff.”

Ashley Davis Bush is a psychotherapist and the author of three self help books including Shortcuts to Inner Peace:  70 Simple Paths to Everyday Serenity and Transcending Loss

She facilitates and posts daily on three Facebook support sites, one for grievers, one for those seeking inner peace and another for couples looking to increase their emotional intimacy.

Find her on Twitter, Youtube, & LinkedIn.

What’s your favourite shortcut to peace? Tell us and you could win a copy of Ashley’s book!

For additional chances to win, tweet / like / pin / stumble this post & let us know you did in the comments below. A winner will be chosen on March 19th.  

** Want MORE BLISS and less stress in your life? Inner Sparkle: The 21 Day eCourse is made for you. Click here to get inspired. Happy. Sparkly. **


SPARKLE FLIGHT CLUB: WHERE DREAMS TAKE FLIGHT & FEARS GET GROUNDED. 30 day purpose + passion finding digital experience. Starts October 1st, 2012. CLICK FOR DEETS.


About Tia & Your Life YOUR Way:

Life Coach / Awesomeness Inciter + Inner Sparkle Activator Tia Sparkles offers tips, advice, community hug-a-thons to ignite your Inner Sparkle — that shimmery part of your spirit that says YES to courage + connection, and NO WAY to ‘shoulds’ + restrictions.

She loves Nutella, New Zealand, Yoda, & Sparkles.

Enter your FIRST name + email for SPARKLING weekly inspiration, occasional shimmery updates & exclusive product offers, Sparklepants!
Bonus gift: Instant access to "120 most inspiring, motivational quotes of 2012" eBook.
We hate spam just as much as you

Facebook comments:



  1. Rebecca L.S. says

    I took Tia’s advice and found a symbol to get me centered. I have a key charm that I wear all the time. Whenever my stress level gets high, I touch it and remind myself that I am the only one with the key to my success (or failure!) so then I put everything into perspective!

    • says

      Oh yay, Rebecca! That’s from the Inner Sparkle course, right :D? Awesome!! I LOVE that – you have the key to your success! In fact, you ARE the key!

  2. says

    meant to add that what’s perfect about these is that there’s no place to go, or something else you need. We have it all with us. Wonderful to be remind of this! Thank you.

  3. says

    Thank you for sharing this to us. These shortcut advices are a great help especially if your stressed and needed time to find your inner peace no matter how busy our day is. Keep up the good work in inspiring us! Thank you again.

  4. Jerry Downing says

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. It was peaceful reading your post. And I love those pictures (the peace dog is the best one).


  5. says

    Nice list, the thread that seems to run through most of this is breathing and controlling our breath. Deep breaths and we become calmer, rapid breath patterns and we become tense. I believe that this is the most important. Breathing in and out is so automatic, sometimes we just forget the power of our breath.

    Thank you for the post.

  6. says

    Wow! This is a one of a kind post! Thank you so much for sharing these awesome tips on how to find your inner peace and joy. I love everything about this post, it reminds me how important finding your peace and joy can shake off stress that have accumulated from all the hustles and bustles of our daily busy life.

    For me, spending quality and quantity time with my family always give me the peace that fuels to move my life and work forward. Thanks again for sharing. Cheers to you Tia and Ashley. Keep posting :)

  7. Jen says

    Tia and Ashley -

    Thank you for these tips. I just wished I would have found this yesterday. It was to say the least a super stressful day, to the point I wanted to find a corner curl up and simply disappear. I will be sharing these tips with my hubby so that we both can find peace. We spend a lot of time in prayer and while that helps us, I think adding these simple 10 steps in our days will further our peace. This article was truly a blessing for me this morning. Thank you so much.

    • says

      Oh honey, at least you have it for future now :) You’re so welcome, thank you for letting me know it was helpful! Sending love & peace xoxo, T

  8. Andrea says

    I have a few ‘techniques” that I use to help me remember my truth- who I really am- and to not identify myself with my thoughts…or to believe all of the stories my ego tells me incessantly.
    -Deep breathing- the kind that makes your stomach swell. If I pause in between the inhale and exhale and try to feel my own heart- my own essence and wellspring of love- I am filled with this amazing, peaceful energy.
    -Remembering that I am the witness, the watcher, and not trying to resist my thoughts, nor to accept them as truth, but just to watch them the way you would watch children playing- or clouds passing acrss the sky…completely unattached.
    -Letting go of resistance. Any time I feel myself resisting anything, a thought, perspective, idea, person, circumstance, or anything- I have found that as soon as I become concious of my resistance and make the decision to let go of that resistance, the world seems to actually align with me- and my stress and worries dissipate.
    -Remembering that we are all connected and that everything is temporary (this too shall pass)…
    -Being the love that I want to see in the world- smiling genuinely as much as possible at everyone I encounter.

    • says

      LOVE all your tips!! I use all these too, often after I’ve been antsy for a while and suddenly find myself frowning or with a headache, ha! It’s a daily practice, practice, practice ay. Thank you for the reminders! xo, Tia

  9. Anzmo says

    First I want to thank you for all the wonderful tips.. my favorite is #5, I feel so warm hearted when I wish people well.. I will be using most if not all the pointers you have given us.

    Thank you!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>