8 Ways to Bring Peace to Your Life

8 Ways to Bring Peace to Your Life

You can bring peace to your life by first becoming mindful of the thoughts you think, the words you speak, and the actions you take. 

Peace of mind isn’t something you find by looking Out there, but rather by looking Within yourself. And today I will share with you a few simple ways in which you can return to your Center and bring peace to your life.

8 Ways to Bring Peace to Your Life

1. Walk in Humility

Humility isn’t about thinking less of yourself nor is it about allowing those around you to walk all over you.

No! That’s not humility.

Humility is this peaceful remembrance that we are all in this together and that none of us is better, or worse than another. We are all ONE and the same.

To walk in humility is to return to your Sacred Heart – the Center of your Being, and realize that we are all moving in the same direction. We are all striving to return Home. 

“The truly humble cannot be humbled. They are immune to humiliation. They have nothing to defend. There is no vulnerability and, therefore, the truly humble do not experience critical attacks by others. Instead, a truly humble person sees the critical verbalization by another person as merely a statement of the other person’s inner problems.” ~ David R. Hawkins

2. Offer yourself to those around you

I have always loved this quote from my mentor, Wayne Dyer:

“When you seek happiness for yourself, it will always elude you, if you seek happiness for others, you will find it for yourself.” ~ Wayne Dyer

We live in a world where people are starving for love, peace, and affection. A world where more and more people are feeling alone and disconnected from themselves, the ones they love and the world around them. And by offering the gift of our presence, time, love, and affection, we can help ease, not only their pain and suffering but also our own.

3. Be okay with not knowing

I know you want to know everything about everything. And I know you want to understand why certain things are the way they are. But you have to be humble enough to accept that certain things are beyond your human comprehension. 

There are things in this world that are far too big for your limited mind to grasp and comprehend.

And that’s okay.

There’s nothing wrong with not knowing.

“In seeking wisdom thou art wise; in imagining that thou hast attained it—thou art a fool.” ~ Lord Chesterfield

4. Surrender to a Higher Power

Believe it or not, we are not alone in this world nor do we have to do all of it alone.

We have help. 

We have guidance.

We have love and we have support.

But we have to surrender first.

And we do this by humbling ourselves before our own Hearts and Souls, and putting our faith and trust in a Power Greater than ourselves.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” ~ Isaiah 55:9

5. Simplify your life

According to the 80/20 rule, we only use 20% of the things we own. The rest is just clutter.

And the same goes for everything else.

We clutter our lives with thoughts, things, people, and experiences that take the life out of our lives, and rob us of our peace. But thankfully, we can escape this trap by removing the clutter and by simplifying our lives.

6. Forgive them all

Forgiveness is not just a verb, but also a great revenge.

When you forgive, you prove to those who have harmed you that your happiness and peace of mind are a lot more important than clinging to the poisonous memories of the past.

To forgive is to be FREE.

Forgive them all and let yourself be free.

7. Let there be Thank You’s 

If we look back in history at some of the greatest men and women who walked this Earth, we will discover that both their joys and their sorrows were necessary to craft their inspiring and grand lives.

Since we can’t really know what each event – painful and not so painful, will play in the grand scheme of things, it is wise to get into the habit of saying ‘Thank You’ for all the pleasant and not so pleasant gifts life sends our way.

In the end, they all play an essential role in our growth, evolution, and spiritual awakening.

“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.” ~ Khalil Gibran

8. Bathe in Love

When you open your eyes in the morning, ask your heart to bathe you in Love. Ask your heart to open itself as wide as it possibly and ask it to bathe you and the whole world in its Love. Ask it to transform you and everyone you come in contact with.

And it will!

What about you? What can you do right now to bring peace to your life? You can share your comment below 🙂

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10 questions you must ask yourself to discover your life’s purpose

We all need to engage in self-reflection every now and then. It helps us maintain a conscious awareness of where we are, where we have been and where you intend to go.

Through self-reflection, we are able to see, organize and plan our steps to reach our desires and dreams.

While it can be difficult to ask yourself the tough questions, once you do, you’ll have a clearer idea of who you are and what you really want in life.

So, if you would like to maximize the benefits of self reflection, ask yourself these 10 questions to provoke your mind and force you to reconsider the way you live and see the world.

1) What is worth suffering for?

If you want the benefits of something in life, you have to also want the costs. If you really want the 6 pack abs, then you have to be prepared to the go through the blood, sweet and tears at the gym.

2) Based on my daily routines, where can I expect to be in 5 years?

Our habits define us and ultimately determine what we’ll eventually achieve in our lifetime. If you really want to achieve your big goals in 5 years,then you need to make incremental improvements every single day. And it all starts with your daily routines.

3) What do I need to spend more or less time doing going forward?

What’s really important in your life? So many of us get distracted with day to day tasks that we forget where our main priorities are. An important mantra to keep in mind is: Productivity is not just about getting things done, it’s about getting the right things done.

4) What’s my real purpose?

As Viktor Frankl so eloquently put it: “Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it.

For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued, it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than one’s self.” So think bigger. Be a part of something greater than yourself.

5) What I am pretending not to know?

A lot of people think that happiness comes from thinking positive all the time. But it doesn’t. Happiness comes from embracing reality and accepting life as it is. When we stop deceiving ourselves, more possibilities open up to experience the beauty of the present moment.

6) What old rejections are still holding me back today?

We’ve all had scars and rejections in our life. And too often, they affect our future decisions. But we don’t need to be scared anymore. Don’t let old rejections take up permanent residence in your head.

7) What do I not want others to know about me?

We all have problems and flaws. If you try to hide them, you don’t give anyone a chance to understand you for who you are. Be open about your problems and move on. The people in your life will see your flaws as signs that you are just as human as they are.

8) Are the people around me helping me or hurting me?

The people around us hold a huge influence on our life. You simply cannot expect to live a positive and fulfilling life if the people around you are negative. As hard as it may be, it’s something you need to address.

9) How are my “shoulds” getting in the way of my “haves”?

The desire of our ego are often in conflict with the emotions of our heart. You must be prepared to let go of what you have planned to appreciate the moment and what you have right now.

10) What is worth smiling about?

We all have something to smile about. Take a second to think about what you can be grateful for right now. You might realize that you can be happy in the present moment, right now.

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FDA to Lower Nicotine in Cigarettes

The FDA has issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to explore lowering nicotine levels in combustible cigarettes to non-addictive levels, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, announced Thursday.

“This new regulatory step advances a comprehensive policy framework that we believe could help avoid millions of tobacco-related deaths across the country,” Gottlieb explained in a written press statement.

The proposal to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes is the centerpiece of a comprehensive tobacco regulatory strategy announced by FDA officials last July.

The FDA will conduct a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence involving nicotine’s role in cigarette addiction and seek input from the public. At this time, however, no specific nicotine limit has been set.

“We’re interested in public input on critical questions such as: What potential maximum nicotine level would be appropriate for the protection of public health? Should a product standard be implemented all at once or gradually? What unintended consequences — such as the potential for illicit trade or for addicted smokers to compensate for lower nicotine by smoking more — might occur as a result?” Gottlieb said in the statement.

He added that the FDA will soon issue two additional ANPRMs: one to seek data and comment on the role that flavors — including menthol — play in the initiation, use and cessation of tobacco products, and another to further explore the regulation of premium cigars.

The FDA commissioner also vowed to jump start efforts to speed development and regulation of novel nicotine replacement therapies to give smokers who want to quit more options to help them do so.

“When I returned to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year, it was immediately clear that tackling tobacco use — and cigarette smoking in particular — would be one of the most important actions I could take to advance public health,” the statement said.

“With that in mind, we’re taking a pivotal step today that could ultimately bring us closer to our vision of a world where combustible cigarettes would no longer create or sustain addiction — making it harder for future generations to become addicted in the first place and allowing more currently addicted smokers to quit or switch to potentially less harmful products.”

In an early afternoon press briefing, Gottlieb discussed finding from an analysis estimating the public health benefit of lowering nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels, published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine in conjunction with the FDA announcement.

The analysis suggested that about 5 million additional adult smokers would kick the habit within a year of reducing nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels. By the year 2100, according to the model, more than 33 million people — mostly youth and young adults — would have avoided becoming smokers and smoking rates would drop from the current 15% to 1.4%.

“All told, this framework could result in more than 8 million fewer tobacco-caused deaths through the end of the century,” Gottlieb said. “These estimates underscore the tremendous opportunity to save so many lives and forge a new path forward to combat the overwhelming disease and death caused by cigarettes.”

Roughly 40 million people in the U.S. smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use is estimated to contribute to more than 480,000 deaths each year.

FDA Center for Tobacco Products director Mitch Zeller, JD, said establishing a maximum nicotine level that would make cigarettes non-addictive has the potential to get adult smokers to quit and keep future generations of kids who experiment with cigarettes from becoming addicted.

A spokesman for tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds vowed to work with federal officials as they move forward.

“As this process gets underway, we look forward to working with FDA on its science-based review of nicotine levels in cigarettes and to build on the opportunity of establishing a regulatory framework that is based on tobacco harm reduction and recognizes the continuum of risk,” said R.J. Reynolds executive vice president James Figlar.

But Erika Sward of the American Lung Association said the FDA can expect challenges from tobacco companies.

“We can expect to see them put forward illegitimate and faulty studies during the fact-finding process,” she told MedPage Today. “An immense amount of political will will be needed to get this across the finish line.”

Sward called on the FDA to consider reducing nicotine levels to non-addictive levels in all combustible tobacco products.

This sentiment was echoed by Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids president Matthew Myers in a written statement.

“For this proposal to have maximum impact, the FDA should reduce nicotine levels in all combustible tobacco products and not just cigarettes, to prevent switching to other harmful products,” he said. “It is encouraging that the FDA recognizes this concern, noting in today’s regulatory notice that ‘if a standard were to apply to cigarettes only, it could be substantially less effective.’”

American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown called the FDA action “a commendable move in the right direction.”

“We encourage the agency to not stop here but move forward quickly with a proposed rule on nicotine levels — not just for cigarettes, but for every combustible tobacco product on the market.”

Fecal Profiling May Predict Dietary Response in IBS

Fecal profiling of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may provide a low cost, non-invasive tool to predict the responses of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients to probiotics and diets low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs), according to British researchers.

Modeling baseline fecal VOCs, and using key features of VOC profiles, correctly predicted response to a low-FODMAP diet in 100% of patients and in 89% of patients receiving a probiotic, reported Megan Rossi, PhD, RD of King’s College in London, and colleagues.

This approach can potentially shed light on the pathophysiology of IBS, and advance its clinical management with more precisely personalized nutrition regimens, they wrote in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Multiple randomized trials have indicated that the low-FODMAP diet is effective in 50%-80% of IBS patients. “However, predicting response is clinically important because the diet requires intensive dietary counselling and impacts on both the gut microbiota and nutrient intake, and, therefore, avoiding this intervention in the 20%-50% who are unlikely to respond would be an important clinical advance,” Rossi’s group noted.

New approaches are definitely needed, according to William D. Chey, MD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

“Only about half [of patients] get better on the diet, which has associated shopping costs and inconvenience to the patient, plus input from a dietitian and an extended three-step period of time to work through its stages,” Chey told MedPage Today. “This often gets glossed over but it’s not a trivial thing.”

Chey, who was not involved in the study, further explained that little is known about the long-term nutritional and microbiotic downsides of this restrictive diet. “By excluding prebiotic carbohydrates, you are very likely to have effects on the microbiome, so it’s important to identify strategies that enrich the likelihood of response and maximize choosing the right treatment for the right patient,” he said.

Rossi’s group used data and samples from patients with IBS-diarrhea, IBS-mixed, and IBS-unsubtyped treated at two major London hospitals and participating in a previous clinical trial. A total of 95 patients (majority white), whose age ranged from early to late 30s, completed the study. Of these, 93 (63 women) provided sufficient fecal sample for analysis and were randomized for 4 weeks to a low-FODMAP diet (n=46) or a sham diet plus dietary advice (n=47).

In 2-by-2 factorial fashion, patients in both dietary groups also received either a multi-strain probiotic supplement (n=49) or a placebo supplement (n=44).

Gas chromatography assessed VOCs in fecal samples at baseline and at study completion. The clinical endpoint was the IBS Severity Scoring System (IBS-SSS), which records abdominal pain, distension, stool frequency and consistency, and interference with life over a 10-day period.

All 93 participants were deemed compliant with diet, and 86 were classified as compliant with supplementation. At the end of the study, those in the low-FODMAP arm had a significantly lower total FODMAP intake (20+8 g/day) compared with those on the sham diet (33+16 g/day, P<0.001).

In terms of response, more patients reacted clinically to the low-FODMAP diet (37/46, 80%) than the sham diet (21/47 45%, P<0 .001), with a mean change in IBS-SSS score of –130 and –49 (P<0.001), respectively.

There was no difference in clinical response between patients given the probiotic (31/49, 63%) versus placebo (27/44, 61%, P=0.850), with no synergistic or antagonistic effects observed with supplementation. In addition, there was no difference in the mean change in IBS-SSS score between recipients of probiotic (–88) and placebo (–90, P=0.921).

The researchers found that baseline VOC profiles contained 15 features that explained 25% of response variation to the low-FODMAP diet with a mean accuracy of 97% (95% CI 96%-99%), as well as 10 features that explained 30% of response variation to the probiotic, with a mean accuracy of 89% (95% CI 86%-92%). At end of treatment, nine observed compounds explained 31% of variation in response to low-FODMAP and 11 compounds explained 27% of variation with the probiotic.

As to how VOCs predict response, the authors pointed out that many of these compounds are created from indigestible food substrates in the colon through both microbial metabolic activity and diet. VOC patterns at baseline may reflect the pathophysiology of an individual’s IBS and eating a high-FODMAP standard diet may, in the presence of IBS-associated dysbiosis, generate fermentation products that cause symptoms. Once the normal diet has been replaced, there is less substrate for bacterial metabolism and gas production and associated symptoms are reduced.

Study limitations included the relatively small sample size, its exploratory nature and the lack of data to inform a power calculation. Also, since the device that assessed fecal VOCs identified patterns of VOCs, not individual VOCs, detailed investigation of the potential mechanisms of individual VOCs could not be done. Finally, the 2-by-2 factorial design may have clouded the results.

Chey noted that, in his experience, about half of patients improve on the low-FODMAP diet, a remarkably high rate of success for a dietary therapy. Also, some of his patients have been following a reduced-FODMAP diet since his institution began introduced it in 2008.

“And up to 85% can move to a less restrictive diet after the phase of determining sensitivities,” Chey said.

Birth Defects in 7% of Zika Pregnancies in French Territories

Stats in line with U.S. numbers, but not Brazil’s

Neurological and ocular birth defects possibly associated with Zika virus infection were present in 7% of fetuses and infants of pregnant women who had symptomatic, confirmed infection in France’s territories in the Americas, researchers for the prospective ZIKA-DFA-FE study reported.

Birth defects occurred more often in fetuses and infants whose mothers had been infected early in pregnancy, reported Bruno Hoen, MD, PhD, of the University Medical Center of Guadeloupe in Pointe-a-Pitre, France, and colleagues, in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Zika virus infection during pregnancy has been identified only recently to cause severe birth defects, including microcephaly, other brain defects, and the congenital Zika syndrome,” Hoen told MedPage Today. “However, the magnitude of this risk was not clearly defined, with discrepancies between observational data from Brazil and the U.S. Zika pregnancy registry.”

In Brazil, birth defects from Zika virus were estimated to be higher than 40% according to a prospective observational study. In the United States, percentages have ranged from 5% to 10%.

In French territories of the Americas — French Guiana, Guadeloupe, and Martinique — the Zika virus epidemic began in early 2016. ZIKA-DFA-FE used several recruitment methods to enroll women whose pregnancies overlapped with the epidemic period. In each territory, pregnant women with suspected infection went to a prenatal diagnosis center for Zika infection testing and were asked to join the study.

Only pregnant women with clinical symptoms consistent with acute Zika virus infection and laboratory confirmation of recent infection with a positive result on a molecular testing of blood or urine samples were included. The researchers considered the date of the first Zika virus-related symptom onset as the date of infection.

Of 555 fetuses and infants in the 546 pregnancies included in the ZIKA-DFA-FE study, 28 were not carried to term or were stillborn, and 527 were born alive. Neurologic and ocular defects possibly associated with Zika virus infection were present in 39 fetuses and infants (7.0%; 95% CI 5.0%-9.5%). Microcephaly was detected in 32 fetuses and infants (5.8%), of whom 9 (1.6%) had severe microcephaly, and congenital Zika syndrome was identified in 17 (3.1%).

“Whichever endpoint was considered — neurologic and ocular defects, microcephaly, or Zika congenital syndrome — abnormalities were more common when Zika infection occurred during the first trimester than when it occurred during the second or third trimester of pregnancy,” Hoen said. For example, neurologic and ocular defects were 12.7% when Zika virus infection occurred in the first trimester, 3.6% when it occurred in the second trimester, and 5.3% when it occurred in the third trimester.

These findings are remarkably similar to ones in the U.S. Zika Pregnancy and Infant Registry, wrote Margaret Honein, PhD, MPH, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta in an accompanying editorial. In the U.S., approximately 5% of pregnancies with possible Zika virus infection and 10% of the subset of pregnancies with laboratory-confirmed Zika virus infection resulted in a Zika virus-associated birth defect, she noted; the risk estimate was 15% when the confirmed infection occurred in the first trimester.

“Although there is growing clarity about the magnitude of the risk of serious birth defects associated with Zika virus infection detected during the newborn period, the full range of disabilities, including the possible effect on neurodevelopment, remains unknown,” she noted.

And while studies of pregnant women with symptomatic Zika virus infections are important, they don’t provide information about the estimated 80% of pregnant women with Zika virus infections who have no reported symptoms, she added: “Population level increases in Zika virus-associated birth defects are unlikely to be recognized without ongoing timely and comprehensive surveillance of birth defects that captures all affected fetuses and infants regardless of whether maternal Zika virus exposure or infection was identified.”

The difference between these rates and those observed in Brazil is not attributable to the percentage of infants and fetuses with microcephaly, but to the percentage with wider neurologic birth defects, Hoen and colleagues noted. The clinical implications of Brazil findings are not yet known and may be determined through longer-term follow-up.

“The Zika virus should definitely be added to the list of infectious agents that can cause severe birth defects, as are rubella virus, cytomegalovirus, and others,” Hoen said.

To protect fetal health in the future, Zika virus serology should be included in initial pregnancy work-ups for women in endemic areas, and fetal ultrasound monitoring should be enhanced when Zika virus infection has been diagnosed, he added.