I am delighted to share this guest post from a lovely writer, Marie Miguel, through a partnership with Betterhelp.com. It matched the vibe of what I try to share, and her words literally are ones that I might have written myself! May this be helpful in some way.
It is easy to get caught up in our fast-paced and busy world; sometimes, we need to retreat inwardly to find a sense of stability and peace. But fulfilling that doesn’t always mean escaping to yoga retreats in India and living with monks in Nepal; there are ways to live spiritually in the “real” world and be in touch with your inner self while, at the same, be relevant and approachable. Because spirituality means different things for different people, the way we carry ourselves and our individual light will look different for everyone. However, there are some ways you can begin to take your spirituality into your daily life and into the modern world, sans the plane ticket to Asia.
1. Meditate. Meditation has become increasingly popular around the world, and it is easy to see why. With depression and anxiety on the rise, people are now turning inward to calm their mind and open their heart. It involves a time of silence to focus on the breath, notice the thoughts that emerge and allow things to just be. But do not be intimidated – there are a myriad of apps out there that can guide you on your meditation journey, especially if you are just starting out; Calm, Headspace and 10% Happier are just a few. It is not about avoiding the world, but to live it in with a sense of inner stillness and consciousness, no matter where you are or who you are with – and that is an invaluable skill to have in a tumultuous world.
2. Learn to be present. The ability to be present means being aware of, and finding joy and peace in, the here and now. When you are present, you are not thinking or worrying about the past or the future because you are fully immersed in the moment you are in. One way to lead yourself into presence is to practise mindfulness, focusing on the sensations of whatever it is you are doing – washing the dishes, walking to work or exercising. Notice the sights, smells, touch and sounds of what you are experiencing. When you are present, it flows into your day-to-day life and personal relationships and you are empowered to let go of any judgments, opinions and expectations you may have.
3. Spend time in nature. The simple act of spending time in nature is widely studied and proven to be restorative and healing for the mind, body and soul. “Forest bathing,” for example, is a practise that the Japanese first coined. It involves taking in the forest with your senses, sometimes coupled with an activity or task. By opening your senses, you are able to connect to the forest in a deep and powerful way, and the benefits are numerous: your worries and stress melts away, your immune system is boosted, your mood improves, your blood pressure lowers and you are filled with vitality and rejuvenation. It also increases the flow of energy in your body and gives you a deeper sense of intuition, helping you better navigate the complexities of this world.
4. Practise affirmations. Speaking positive affirmations, particularly out loud, is a powerful and effective tool to reshape the way you look at yourself and the world. It has been said that the quality of your thoughts shapes the quality of your life, and if your thoughts are positive and loving, so will the way you carry yourself in the world. You can start by practising, “I want” and “I am” statements such as, “I want to be wiser with my money,” or “I am beautiful and kind.” Then, trust that the universe will support your statements. Positive affirmations do not deny reality; rather, they reinforce the changes you want to make and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you need more help making positive changes in your life, consider looking to therapy. BetterHelp are on online counselling platform providing professional, affordable and licensed therapists who can help you on your journey to well-being.
5. Act with love and compassion. A lot of our interpersonal conflicts and self-torture comes from the absence of compassion, but when we realize that one of the greatest and deepest universal need humans seek is love, we can act with more love. You can start by looking beyond people’s actions to the underlying need beneath. Your parent, boss, friend or spouse may be difficult to deal with at times, but it helps to remember they need love and kindness as much as you do. By being compassionate to others, we recognize the divine in them and awaken the divine in ourselves.
Living spiritually in the real world is not as intimidating or scary as it seems. By integrating these practices into your daily life, you may find yourself a more healthy and happy human being, and as a result, be able to navigate the world with more clarity, awareness and peace.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.