Thinking about spirituality can happen anywhere – whether its in a place of worship like a church, synagogue or mosque or while you’re out on a walk at a park, there are several moments to consider connecting to something bigger than yourself. Spirituality comes in all shapes and sizes. For some, it may come in the form of introspective practices. For others, it may come through relationships with our loved ones or by religious activities. The Military Health System outlines how “ideological and spiritual fitness refers to your beliefs and practices that strengthen connectedness with sources of hope, meaning, and purpose.”
Even if spirituality is something you may not actively be considering, employing different life skills may indirectly bolster your spiritual health. Whether it’s through these or other means, there is no right or wrong way to express or explore your spirituality. Spiritualty helps enrich our lives by helping us find meaning and purpose. Spirituality is a contemplative practice, like meditation and journaling, that helps us focus on our attention and increase our empathy. Consider the following items to increase happiness, strengthen relationships and improve your overall well-being.
Patience means that we stick with things even when they take a long time to show the preferred results. Patient people are often better equipped to practice gratitude and take to heart the phrase “good things come to those who wait.” Someone using patience may also feel more at ease when challenging events arise.
Committing to a healthy goal, habit or way of thinking demonstrates perseverance. Even when faced with adversity, the ability to grow through discomfort can help you find purpose and feel a deeper connection to learning something new.
Forgiveness is a deliberate choice to accept and let go of negative emotions following a harmful event from another individual in a group. The American Psychological Association discusses: “True forgiveness goes a step further … offering something positive—empathy, compassion, understanding—toward the person who hurt you.” While forgiveness is primarily considered in interpersonal dynamics, it is also important to practice self-forgiveness to grow and evolve from self-inflicted negativity. Forgiveness helps increase immunity, lower blood pressure and lead to improved psychological health.
Empathy focuses on listening and responding to others without judgment. Empathy helps others feel open to sharing their perspectives and creates an environment where everyone feels more understood and heard. Showing empathy helps others navigate uncertainty.
While it is important to feel all of your feelings, the act of positive thinking may help boost your mood and discover new ways to recognize and respond to different situations. After recognizing a negative thought, try brainstorming positive thoughts to counterbalance the feeling. Positive thinking envelops practices like approaching new experiences from a “glass half full” lens, not jumping to conclusions and vocalizing the happy and healthy aspects of your day-to-day experiences.
The end of the summer is a great time to check-in and reflect on how your year is going through the lens of spirituality. Introspection leads to growth and is a mindful way to help find new ways to progress. If you’re feeling burned out throughout the year, remember these skills and take time for yourself.