Blog Archives

Keeping Spiritual Wellness In The Midst Of Your Busy Life

 

Spiritual wellness means different things to different people. The most important part to remember, though, is that your life is a journey in which you continue to look for your own meaning and purpose. With our busy lives, it can be difficult to look at the bigger picture of our purpose when we are so preoccupied with taking care of all the small things that need to be accomplished each day.

That’s okay – there are some simple and easy habits you can work on that will help you make sure you are taking good care of your spiritual side – whatever that may mean to you.

Develop A Spiritual Routine

Whether you are religious and pray to a particular God or consider yourself more spiritual in nature, it helps to have a small routine to practice that will give you some spiritual comfort during your day.

You might not have time to go to church regularly, but you may have time to pray together as a family before dinner. If that wouldn’t work with your family’s schedule, you might try a short prayer of thanksgiving by yourself before you even get out of bed in the morning.

If you don’t pray or don’t believe in God but still want to take good care of your spiritual health, think about something simple you can do each day that warms your heart. If you’re an early riser, spend a few minutes enjoying the sunrise. You could also take 10 minutes to meditate or make it a practice to note a few things for which you are thankful each morning, or you can even just sit quietly and focus on your breaths – breathing deeply for a few minutes to get a bit grounded before your busy day.

Learn To Let Go

Another way to move toward inner peace is to learn to let go of things you can’t control. For people who are religious, that might mean understanding and accepting that God has your best interests in mind. Some people who don’t believe in God simply feel that the universe is looking out for them.

If you don’t believe at all in any higher power, think about the fact that the universe is random and sometimes good things happen and sometimes bad things happen. Some events might not seem fair, but they cannot be controlled or predicted, so you have to learn to roll with it.

Whatever your beliefs may be, you have to understand that regardless of how much you may want to control people and events in your life, it’s impossible.

Learning to let go of the things you can’t control allows you to focus on the positive things in your life. And when you are consistently focused on the positive, you’ll be much better equipped to handle the tough times as they arise.

Live In The Present

If you spend a lot of time dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, the one thing you will certainly miss is the present.

You might have regrets about things you wish you had done differently in the past. While it’s good to learn a lesson from regrets, you also have to put those things in the past – learn from them and move on.

Or maybe you are someone who worries about the future. If so, read my article, “4 Ways To Stop Worrying And Build Positive Energy“. You will learn that worrying is really a wasteful activity. It literally accomplishes nothing, and it puts your focus in the wrong direction (negativity instead of a positive solution).

But living in the present allows you to really enjoy whatever you are doing right now, and it also helps you to do it well. When you live in the present, you are better able to see things as they are, and you’re less likely to be being influenced by fears, anger, desires or regrets.

You can practice living in the present by making an effort to tap into your feelings as they unfold. Be more mindful of the specific thing you are doing, and try to limit your tendency to multi-task. Living mindfully in the present means that you pay attention to each individual thing you are doing, rather than doing several things at once.

Enjoy the scent and taste of your cup of coffee, without also reading the paper or cooking breakfast or checking your email at the same time. Savor the five minutes it takes to fix your daughter’s hair, without also talking with someone else, thinking about your To Do list or watching TV at the same time.

Living your busy life might make it difficult to slow down and find the beauty in the now, but if you make the effort to just do one thing at a time – at least occasionally during your day – you are likely to feel a stronger sense of connectedness to the people and the world around you.

Give Yourself 5 Minutes

If you can take just five minutes at the end of the day to tune into yourself, you can set a better path for tomorrow. Do a simple self-assessment before you go to sleep, and ask yourself a few questions:

  • How am I feeling right now? What is my strongest feeling right now?
  • Is it positive or negative?
  • Is this how I want to feel at the end of the day?
  • Is this how I typically feel at the end of the day, and am I okay with that?

This is a method to give yourself feedback about you and your life. It gives you a way to check that you are going in the direction you want. Listen to your answers and think about how you might change things if your predominant feeling is a negative one.

Think about why you’re feeling the way you are, what event(s) contributed to that feeling, and what changes you might make in order to eliminate those types of events – especially if they are regular occurrences.

Your emotions are a great tool to help guide your life, so try not to bury them or ignore them. Instead, take five minutes each day to really pay attention to your feelings, and you will gain insight into what’s working in your life, what isn’t, and where you need to make changes in order to find more peace.

There are so many little things you can do to help yourself find your own meaning and purpose and move toward inner peace, and that’s what spiritual wellness is all about. Take care of yourself, take care of your soul, and remember this is the only life you get, so keep working to find out exactly why you are here!

Meditation: Is It For Me?

 

If you’ve been curious about meditation, but maybe also a bit intimidated by the New Agey vibe associated with it, this article is for you. I’ll give you a simple explanation of mediation, so you know what it is (and what it isn’t), and then I’ll explain the benefits of it, why people choose meditation, and finally how to get started if you think it might be a good tool for you.

What Is Meditation?

Mediation is a silent approach to finding peacefulness. Although it is all about you and your mind, it has nothing to do with God or praying. It is really a state of being where you, in a sense, “empty” your mind. Meditating is a way to clear your mind so that only your consciousness remains. One way to look at it is this – If you have a lamp on, but you remove all the objects in the room, the lamp still goes on giving light. Meditation does the same thing, but in your mind. You remove all the “objects” (thoughts, worries, aches and pains) from your mind, and only your consciousness remains. True meditation is that state you are in when it is just you and your consciousness without any particular thoughts.

This isn’t guided imagery where you picture yourself in a peaceful place, and it isn’t a relaxation technique where you focus on something like your breathing. You aren’t thinking about anything. You are clearing your mind of everything to find a place of peace.

Don’t be scared off by the idea of reaching your “consciousness”. It means nothing more than just clearing your mind completely.

Why Do People Meditate?

People meditate for a lot of different reasons. Usually, individuals are drawn to meditation when their lives are getting a little too hectic, and they are yearning for some balance or peace of mind. If you ever feel like your life is a bit out of control, or you are just running from one thing to the next all day, meditation can really help you calm the chaos in your mind.

Other people arrive at meditation not to counterbalance chaos, but more for treatment of generalized problems. For instance, people who struggle with anxiety (even mild anxiety) find meditation to be helpful. Also, people who are feeling stressed – even if they can’t necessarily identify all their stressors – find that meditation helps them lower their stress level. Think of it as a medicine without having to clearly diagnose your ailment. It helps your overall mental health, even when you haven’t thought about what led you to struggle in the first place.

If you’re always on the go and sometimes feel like you need a moment to catch your breath for your own sanity, meditation can be a great tool.

What Will Meditating Do For Me?

Besides the sense of calmness or inner peace that meditation can bring you, there are also numerous studies showing the physiological benefits. People who meditate have been found to have stronger immune systems to fight diseases (not just viruses but systemic ailments like cancer too), lower blood pressure, lower heart rates, and healthier hearts.

Another interesting benefit to meditating is the changes in your mental health. People who meditate report feeling like their minds are sharper. They are better able to focus on both physical tasks and problem-solving, and they actually find they are able to resolve concerns and stressors easier. This makes sense, since when you meditate, you clear your mind for a time period. In a way, it’s like clearing any clutter from your mind that is impacting your thoughts and other mental tasks.

How Do I Start?

Even if you aren’t sure whether meditating is for you, it is certainly worth a try. Give it a week and see how you feel. If you don’t want to commit a lot of time to something you aren’t sure about, that’s okay – you can give it just 5 minutes per day.

If you think it might feel a bit awkward to just sit in a room and try to focus on nothing, start at an easier step. Just do this:

  • Go in a quiet room that you can darken, and where you won’t be disturbed.
  • If you’d like, turn on some quiet, soothing music.
  • Find a comfortable sitting position – it doesn’t have to be the traditional meditation pose on the floor with legs crossed. Just be comfortable.
  • Now just breathe. I know we talked earlier about this not being a breathing exercise, but if you’re new to meditation, it’s a good place to start. Just breathe in and out quietly for five minutes (or longer). If you find yourself thinking about things you need to do, shift your focus to something quieting – like a cloud or a tree or a field. If you find yourself listening to what someone is saying in another room, try to tune it out. That’s all you’re trying to do here – tune out all the things that normally crowd your mind, and just be still with a quiet mind.

Once you get comfortable with breathing and clearing your mind – you are meditating! There are actually two kinds of meditation – mindful meditation and mantra meditation.

Mantra is the type you’ve heard of where people repeat a single word in their head (such as “om”) while they meditate. This helps to give you something quiet to focus on, while still allowing you to completely clear your mind.

Mindful Meditation is mediation where you focus on one of your senses or your breathing or even the thoughts going through your head, and but you do so without judging yourself – instead just letting thoughts and feelings flow freely in and out of your mind. You can decide whichever one works better for you.

  • Don’t forget to repeat. New habits are hard to instill, and even more so when you aren’t sure about something new you are trying. But you probably won’t feel the benefits of meditation from just one session. Try to do it every day for a week, and then see how you feel. If you think you might be starting to feel a bit of a sense of calmness, promise yourself another week to keep working on it. If you can, increase the amount of time you spend meditating – as much as 20 minutes each day if possible.

Of all the many benefits to meditating, the favorite one I’ve read about is that it extends your life! Something so simple and calming can have so many positive effects on both your physical and mental well-being AND extend your life! Why not give it a try?

If you have tried meditating before, let me know how it worked for you. And, if you try it now, be sure to report back with your results. I’d love to hear from you in the comments!