Posted by Nisha Naik
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!
Posted by Nisha Naik
Do you sometimes spend too much time worrying? For some people, it might be an ingrained habit, but it’s not a very productive one. All of us worry from time to time, and that’s okay. If you sometimes get in a worrying rut, though, or if you tend to be a worrier, it might be time to make some changes.
When you stop worrying and instead focus on the positive in your life, it makes you more encouraged and motivated. And when you do something that makes you feel more positive, you automatically will start looking for ways to get more of the same. Shifting your mindset and creating a life where your tendency is to be positive instead of a worrier (negative) will help you to go through life in a much happier state.
There are four important reasons to end the habit of worrying:
Worry doesn’t help anything. When you worry about a problem or something that might or might not happen, you aren’t actively solving the problem. Worrying literally does nothing. It’s unproductive, and it wastes your time and your energy.
Worrying literally makes you ill. It sounds silly, but it’s true. Worrying causes anxiety, which can get pretty out of control for some people. Anxiety is not good for your mental health, and it negatively impacts your state of mind.
Worrying puts the focus in the wrong direction. When you worry about something, you are not focusing on a solution. Instead you are getting yourself worked up, making yourself unhappy, and expending energy on something terribly unproductive.
Worrying doesn’t prepare you. Some people think that if they think about (and focus on) a worst case scenario, then at least they will be prepared for it. In fact, the opposite is true. Worrying makes you expect the worst. Focusing on the bad things that can happen often result in those things happening. Instead of preparing yourself for something in case it happens, prepare yourself for the good thing that can happen if things go well – they probably will!
If you are a worrier, here are four things you can do to try to break the habit:
Think about the solution. When you are worrying about something, try to shift your focus to the solution of the problem instead. If you are going to expend energy on the problem, make it productive!
If you’re worried about a tornado coming through your neighborhood, change your focus to thinking about how you might create a safe space for your family in case you need shelter. If you are worried about your kids not getting into a good college, think about ways you might help them with their schoolwork or with college applications. If you’re worried about how you might care for your aging parents, think about how other people you know have managed the same challenges.
Shifting your focus to the problem’s solution helps you to keep your mind on things that are positive and productive. Even if you don’t actually take any steps toward the solution, just thinking about it and knowing how you can handle it (because you can!) helps you to feel more empowered and less helpless.
Take an action step. If you have a hard time shifting your mental focus from the worry to the possible solution, go a step further and take an action step. Buy a weather radio and learn how to prepare for a weather emergency. Review your kids’ grades to reassure yourself they’re doing just fine. Research assisted living places and find out which places would suit your parents’ interests and their budget. You get the idea!
And if you are worrying about something that doesn’t seem to have a viable action step at this time, try to give yourself a break. Rest in the knowledge that you are a very capable person, and you will take an action step when you can.
Break down the irrational fear. Worrying has its roots in fear and the unknown. Try to think rationally, rather than letting your mind run with what could happen. Realize that your fear of what could happen (when there’s no real evidence that it will) is grounded in fear and not in reality.
Take the example with your kids and college. What is your real fear when you worry about them getting into a good school? Really, your irrational fear is that they won’t get into a good school, won’t have a good career, and then will end up unhappy and broke. This isn’t rational thought. You know they’re doing okay now, and you know you will help them with whatever bumps come up along the way, so you know they’ll be fine. Take your big, irrational fear and break it down to see whether it is even logical that the fear will be realized. Once you have it broken down into the steps that would lead you to that irrational conclusion, you can see where the small steps can be taken that will lead you away from it. Just like that, your path will become clearer.
Exercise. You’ve heard it a million times, and it really is the answer to whatever ails you. Exercise doesn’t just help you to clear your mind, but it also helps your body produce endorphins, those feel-good hormones that can boost your mood. Go for a walk if the fresh air and new scenery will help. If you think you will just think about your worry more on your walk, try an exercise that’s more demanding, like strength training or working out on an elliptical machine.
And if you’re so wrapped up in your worry that you can’t even think about exercising right now, try any other activity. Sometimes the best way to combat negative thoughts in your head is to simply immerse yourself in something completely different. Bake some cookies, play hide-n-seek with your kids, or do some other physical activity that gets you moving and your mind occupied.
Worrying is a habit that can get worse over time. Don’t give in to the temptation to do something that is so unproductive. It’s never too late to change a habit (and learn to make it a permanent change). You can’t control the future, and worrying about it won’t help. Let go of your worries today, and start building a more positive life for yourself!
What are your worries, and how can you look at them differently now? Let me know your thoughts in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!