People suffer from stress because they have no peace of mind. The first step to regaining peace of mind is to stop thinking unnecessarily. Many complain that their mind wanders a lot, but it is they who lead it astray with waste thoughts and by watching, reading, listening to, and talking about things that do not really concern them.

Secondly, in families, people blame others for all problems: “They cause all the trouble”, “They are always angry”, “They never do anything right”, and so on. We think we will have some peace only when others change. It is not sensible to wait for that, as it may never happen. It is wiser to change the way we respond to others, as preserving our peace of mind is in our hands.

There are a few things we can pay attention to in order to resolve problems within the family, and the first is how we speak. If something right is said in the wrong way, or at an inopportune time, it does not have the desired effect. Parents often give their children well-meaning advice, but if they do it angrily, while berating the kids for being lazy, irresponsible and what not, it will not be accepted. The same thing said with love would make a much better impact.

Secondly, do not make a mountain out of a molehill. Most problems are ordinary, but we overthink them, blow them out of all proportion, and then feel overwhelmed. Once we learn the art of shrinking big issues into small matters, by seeing them the right way, peace and happiness will easily become a part of our life.

Another mistake we make is holding on to old grudges, hurts and opinions. Over time these begin to weigh on our mind, and we cannot feel light and relaxed. It is wiser to let go of the past and live in the present. People and circumstances are changing all the time, and today they may be very different from what we used to think of them ten years ago. The more we hold on to things, the bigger a drag they are on our life, in terms of a psychological burden and the negative vibrations they attract. This will not let us progress or be easy and happy.

It also helps to be careful about the atmosphere we create at home with our behaviour. Do we appreciate each other or keep criticising and correcting? If someone makes a mistake, do we help them do better the next time, or do we condemn them as foolish and useless?

In many families, the moment the father arrives home, the children vanish out of sight the way mice hide on seeing a cat. The men gloat over the fact that their mere presence disciplines the children, and feel that is how it should be. What they do not understand is that the climate of fear they have created in the house harms the psychological growth of their children. Children from such homes often remain unhappy even after they grow up into successful professionals, as they carry resentment at the harsh parenting they have been subjected to.

If the air at home is heavy, stressful, irritating, it will attract further harmful vibrations from all around. On the other hand, if it is light, happy, full of love, it will draw similar vibrations.

Paying a little attention to how we think and behave can go a long way towards improving our life. One practice which helps in this is consciously creating empowering thoughts the first thing in the morning, soon after we wake up. This lays the foundation for how we feel the rest of the day. Once we learn to put ourselves in the right frame of mind at the start of each day, we are better able to deal with challenges during the day, without getting upset or losing our cool. This is a small yet smart investment to make for a happier life.

B.K. Surya is a Rajyoga teacher at the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in Mount Abu, Rajasthan.