In these articles, I explore the wide realm of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and delve into how our thoughts shape our inner worlds, external behaviors, and moods.

Peace in Greek means the opposite of war. War is division, dissention, discord, hatred, factions, fighting. Peace, on the other hand, comes from the Greek verb to join. Peace is harmony, unity, cooperation, collaboration, everything back together, all in concord. The ancient, common greeting of “Peace to you” is a wish that a state of harmony would rest upon that person. 

As you strive toward peace in your heart, therefore, do not war with your neighbor. Your neighbor is anyone, close to you or far from you. Now, in modern times we usually do not pick up arms and march across the street and stake a flag in our neighbor’s lawn as if claiming their territory for our own. We are not so obvious in our war campaigns these days.

How do we war today? We usually war in our thoughts. Our thoughts determine our quality of life. Our emotion and behavior flows from our thoughts. This thought war results in war-like emotions of anger, anxiety, fear, and hate. Behavior includes social media skirmishes or criticism, arguing, yelling, or withdrawing and stonewalling.

Strive for peace in your heart. Do not war with your neighbor in your thoughts. Do not war with the world in your thoughts. And just here is the secret of the matter: The root of being disturbed is in the thoughts. This is true despite our neighbor’s actions, despite negative circumstances thrust upon us. In truth, we disturb ourselves.

Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica taught

Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture. If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like. If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility.

Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives, p. 63

Treatment follows diagnosis. So, a practical therapy to address the “whirlpool of thoughts” first must identify the specific toxin for the right antidote. A good start is to nurture the opposite of what you think, feel, and do. Angry from impatience? Practice patience. Stonewalling your spouse? Practice being more open. Withholding tips out of spite? Tip more generously. Getting into social media skirmishes? Take a 24-hour or longer dopamine reset by total abstinance from social media.

This isn’t rocket science. It’s common sense virtue therapy.