I’ve been reading a lot of things lately on happiness and eventually came to the conclusion that what we really all want when we speak of mood and happiness is what some people call “inner peace.”
Hopefully that statement above does not stir a debate.
So how do you quantify inner peace? There must be some type of criteria and perhaps we could begin with looking at how yogis, zen meditators, psychologists, philosophers, etc. describe inner peace. Surely it is a state of happiness and when we get “moody” we have lost our inner peace.
BTW some of the books I’ve been reading lately are:
“How to Be Happy No Matter What” by Richard Carlson
“Clarity” by Jamie Smart
“Inside-Out Revolution” by Michael Neill
and anything by Sydney Banks
Most of the books above give an idea of what is meant by inner peace as a state where you don’t have a bad mood or complicated thoughts or dialogs running through your mind.
Other than those books, I’m open to any suggestions on the subject.
Zen has a concept of “beginners mind”. It involves being always open for looking at things a new way.
That’s not very compatible with having fixed criteria. In my own meditation practice I frequently discover new things I perceive. It’s changes to much to get it into a good quantifiable variable.
Having an idea in your mind of what inner peace should look like you got by reading books and then trying to force that state to happen via meditation is a recipe for disaster.
If you want to measure something Heart Rate Variance is a good variable.
Low brainwave rhythms are also associate with a certain kind of inner peace.
Inner peace is (to me) a very qualitative term. Have you tried any sorry of meditative practice yourself to get an idea of the particular experience, physical and mental changes, you’re looking to track? I’ve done yoga for years and been a fairly serious Zen practitioner for just over a year, but I’m genuinely not sure how I would break down the changes I’ve experienced into numbers. (Which is not to say it can’t be done, I’ll keep pondering.)
Maybe take a look at the literature on mindfulness based stress relief and see what metrics those studies use?
This may not be feasible yet, but you could find EEG patterns that correlate with when people self-report experiencing inner peace and use that as a measurement.
Heart rate variability (HRV) is a good measure of mental and physical stress. EEG works too. Using devices such as the emwave2, it’s definitely possible to quantify - and understand - the path to inner balance (mental/physical coherence).
Edit: and although everyone’s experiences are gonna be different, I think it describes what you seek: http://zenhabits.net/mind-like-water/
You may also want to check out www.heartmath.org
I myself use rtracker to ask questions about my stressors like how i feel about them.
This is an old topic, but what the heck! Hopefully someone will find my answer useful
So I’m a researcher looking at just these sorts of questions. How can we quantify psychological states so we can track and measure them? My own work focuses on compassion, empathy and mindfulness, which seem very related!
I think you’re right that the answer to this question is heavily dependent on how we define “inner peace”. So let me float a couple of definitions by you and how we might measure them:
Inner peace is a lack of distress or upset. If by inner peace we mean something like “calmness”, we can measure that by tracking our levels of negative emotions either individually (“anxiety”, “anger”, “fear”, etc.) or in general (“How distressed or upset am I right now?”). This would give us a sense of just how out of control our moods are and what effect other variables in our life have on our sense of “calm”. There are existing measures of mood that measure negative affect. I believe there are some single-item measures.
Inner peace is the extent to which we are satisfied with or accepting of our self or circumstances. Under this definition, inner peace is not as much about being calm as it is about being “okay” with ourselves and life in general (which might have the secondary effect of calmness but the two are not the same). We could measure this by asking ourselves how much we accept who we are and our current circumstances or by asking the opposite - how critical am I being of myself or the world right now (might be better to separate these questions)? Where the self and other people are concerned, we are now talking about something similar to compassion. There are existing scales of self-compassion, self-criticism, and life satisfaction. They might need to be adapted for “in the moment” measurement.
??? (is there another definition I’m missing?)
The measures I’m suggesting are self-report measures and are as much about our perception as they are about what is “really happening”. If anyone would like to get into specifics, let me know.
This link doesn’t seem to work? Could you check? Thanks. Danielle.
Sorry for new users the link is not available. The app is part of a potential commercial deal.
I feel, if there has been an improvement in the way your perceive yourself, things you do, how you react to environmental factors, your overall personality and of course, how closer you are to achieving something you want (or don’t)
yes. Do some research on the Finders course, Sam Harris, Search inside yourself, Meditation using the headspace app, liberationunleashed (gateless gatecrashers), gateless gate. It’s all connected. I have to write up a post about it. And whatever you do, don’t take 5g of Citrulline Malate a day for six months. It’s a pill to enlightenment but I would not recommend it. Comes with a side effect of lack of motivation, bad memory and desire to not do things.
(also vipassana meditation, mental noting, mantra meditation, body scan and any other broad “type” of meditation that you find.)