Column: 10 ways to find peace this year


Commentary by Alicia Woodward

Most of us enter the new year wishing for peace on Earth but realize our world peace-making powers are frustratingly limited. Let’s narrow our lens and focus on a few things we can do to bring more peace into our lives and the lives of those around us. I bet the ripple effect will be felt throughout our families, communities, nation and world.

  • Think peaceful thoughts: We can all be guilty of letting our minds dwell in fear, anger and worry. Shakespeare wrote, “For there is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
  • Speak peaceful words: The American vocabulary has made its home in the gutter. Rude, crude and sassy talk litters nearly every conversation. Vow to banish ugly words from your vocabulary. If it isn’t thoughtful, helpful or kind, it isn’t worth saying (or typing).
  • Slow down:  Busy, hurried and stressed have become our battle cry, giving us an excuse to push and shove through our day. Try moving through life with more grace and ease.
  • Just be: Find a quiet place to meditate, pray or just be still for several minutes each day. My dad always liked the saying attributed to “Winnie the Pooh” author A.A. Milne, “Sometimes I just sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.”
  • Ease your mind: Music, movies, television, books and social media can be entertaining and informative but also can fill our heads with noise, push our buttons and leave us feeling restless and over-stimulated. Fill your mind with what eases your mind.
  • Make home a haven: Our homes should be the most peaceful place on Earth. Make yours a calm refuge from the outside world.
  • Seek nature: Being in nature reduces blood pressure, lowers heart rate and produces natural chemicals that lower stress.
  • Stop arguing: I used to think I should always speak up for my beliefs, but I have learned that arguing is pointless. If you feel strongly about an issue, peacefully do something. I love the phrase, “Don’t talk about it. Be about it.”
  • Help somebody: Mother Teresa said, “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” Imagine if each of us did something, every day, to help someone else.
  • Find forgiveness: We must learn to forgive others, as well as ourselves, for past mistakes and imperfections. Forgiveness doesn’t excuse bad behavior, but it can bring serenity.


Alicia Woodward lives in Carmel and is co-author of “Lessons in Loveliness. Learning to Live a Lovely Life” and a lifestyle blog at, Facebook, and Instagram. Email her at

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