8 Ways to Maintain Your Spirituality in Times of Stress
Being spiritual around the clock isn’t easy.
In between time commitments, children, making dinner and hustling in and out of the house, it can be easy to lose your spiritually cultivated mindset at the exact moment when you need it most. Not to mention the stress from whatever’s going on in the world. Stress can cause anyone to lose their balance – spiritually, emotionally and mentally. But you don’t have to.
Here are eight tips to keep you centered even during the most stressful times.
- Ground out with nature
Take your shoes off in some grass, walk outside and stare into a patch of forest for a few minutes. Even better, take some time to yourself and go on a 10-day nature retreat. Any amount of connection to nature – large or small – can provide you with a much-needed check into what is really important.
Just five minutes under a tree with your phone turned off can work like a miracle. And often, this is all it takes to bring you back into the moment.
- Get a higher perspective
One of the best things you can do in a time of stress is to give yourself the opportunity to see the bigger picture. To do this, find the highest natural point nearest you and go there. Stand over the vista and look out on the landscape before you — and just breathe. See, you feel better already.
- Connect with your higher self
Each and every one of us has a physical body that houses our soul. It is within your soul where there is a wellspring of higher, inner wisdom. You can tap into this wellspring of wisdom for guidance at any time.
The easiest way to access your soul’s highest wisdom is to separate yourself from modern society —temporarily. Get some alone time. Meditate. Go for a hike. Be you with just you and ask yourself the important questions.
- Quality time with animals
Animals always seem to know what is important. They are never stressing over deadlines, conflicting schedules or wondering what some dog three houses down thinks of them. To reconnect with what is truly important, head to the pet store, a local zoo, hang out with your own pets or go out into nature. Birds, squirrels and small animals often abound, and simply by observing them you can reunite with some of the most basic, yet essential, truths.
- Unplug it all for an hour
Stressful situations often don’t originate from within. Their origins are usually found on all the external pressures that are placed upon us. Disconnect the cause of the stress. Turn off the computer, shut down your phone and unplug the television for at least one hour before you go to bed. In doing so, you’ll calm your nerves, disconnect from other people’s stress and have an easier time falling asleep. Doing this will make it easier for you to face the next day with a present state of mind.
- Grab a book
Books can be incredibly relaxing and grounding, especially books of a spiritual nature. To reconnect with your spiritual nature in times of stress, re-read through the spiritual virtues you follow and refresh yourself. Simply revisiting what you value most can have a profound effect on your ability to cultivate resilience through the storm.
Rumi, Khalil Gibran, and Rainer Maria Rilke are excellent go-to authors for revisiting and reconnecting with your own ancient and timeless spiritual wisdom.
- Walk it out
There is nothing like going for a long walk, run or bike ride to soothe your soul. Moving your body can help you mentally move and process the emotions and thoughts you have that are ready to be released.
As you move, you’ll naturally give movement to your mind for welcoming new concepts, ideas and ways of being. Creating a space of active movement will cultivate new thoughts that will both empower and motivate you through stressful times.
- Lie Down
And finally, there is nothing better you can do in a time of stress than to simply relax. Give yourself a five minute time out and find a place to lie completely on your back. Whether it is on a bed, on the ground outside or on your living room floor, lie down. Stretch, look up at the ceiling and breathe. You’re alive. Everything is going to be OK.
How to Feed Your Spirit
Spirit is energy that goes beyond the confines of the physical body. Sometimes referred to as the soul, spirit needs the physical body to experience, develop and grow. Receptive to positive and negative energies, both body and spirit absorb and resonate with these energies.
One can be “feeling low” or “on a high” depending on the preponderance of one type of energy over the other. Our spirit, which is used to high levels of energy and vibrations, suffers from the constant erosion of the human experience.
In order to maintain a higher vibration, it is important to feed our spirit the higher vibrations that it needs.
This isn’t as easy to do living this human life in today’s world. It seems as if everywhere we turn we are confronted with and surrounded by problems, thus, lowering our spirit’s vibration.
The world today is fraught with these lower vibrations. Whether the problems are small or at crisis levels, they can, and usually do, lower our spirit’s equilibrium. Throw in negative news, natural disasters, extreme weather patterns, politics, unseen electromagnetic disturbances and the upcoming holidays, we are up against the “perfect storm,” draining those higher vibrations out of our spirit.
Each of our spirits appear to have a GPS which guides us towards attaining higher, positive energies through its own instant messaging system: transient thoughts, gut feelings, intuition and the voice of our conscience constantly asking, “do you really want to do this?”
Consider asking yourself, “Does this feed my spirit?” When you chose a movie to watch, order food or schedule dinner with friends, question the spiritual nutrition of your choices.
The spirit does its best but humans have free will and may choose not to be aware or listen to these messages. Living wrapped up in the constant feeding of the media’s negative news, gossipy reality shows, life’s worries, self-doubts and fears, one gravitates to and is more focused on heavier, lower, negative energies. Sinking into negative lower energy drains our spirit, which translates into feelings of negativity, sadness and dis-ease of the body.
A constant diet of higher, positive energy is needed to enrich our spirit and keep us happy and healthy in the process.
Six Ways To Feed Your Spirit
Find the rhythm of your breath to feed your spirit the Life Force energy that air brings. Raise personal vibrations physically and energetically through deeper, regular, patterned breathing practices.
Raise Your Awareness
Being conscious of what we are doing and experiencing each moment brings about the full appreciation of the present moment. Try not to rush through things unaware of what you are doing. This includes being mindful of personal thoughts and actions.
Everything has the ability to be precious. Take advantage of each opportunity to see the beauty, wonderment and enjoyment in life. Let each one of the human senses participate in every experience. This opens the doors to joy and laughter.
“Living in the moment” may be a small phrase but it has huge impact increasing vibrational energy levels. When you enjoy each moment you increase the degree of your appreciation. Whether its nature, places, things, animals or people, continue appreciating it all. This increased state of appreciation naturally evolves into feelings of connectedness with all. Focus on the connections with family, community, animals, nature and all things on and of the Earth. Be receptive to the love and kindness from others and readily reciprocate.
The sensations of awe inspiring experiences are moments which we cannot fully comprehend through our five senses. Things that look and sound too beautiful literally take our breath away. Moments of awe force us to look at things and ourselves in a different context of being. Everything viewed from a perspective of awe raises feelings of gratitude. It forces us to look beyond the obvious realms and cultivates comprehension of the universal totality of interconnectedness.
Modern lifestyles of the human race don’t leave room for the art of “being in the moment”, which helps to switch off the things that may be bothersome. Presence extends the parts of the brain that control concentration, focus, and problem solving, which allows the higher energies in.
Self-Nurture, With Self-Compassion
Give yourself permission to put yourself first. You are a loving person and you want to spread that love around. Remember, you have to make yourself the primary target of unconditional love. When you are charged with love for yourself you can then share it with others. Think of yourself as being the parent and child simultaneously, showering yourself with love, patience, forgiveness, kindness and compassion.
Realize that you are a wondrous and powerful being with a loving nature that gives you the immense capability of creating more love.
We are the ones that hold the power of love. When we realize this consciously we are able to see that we are One, Whole, and Interconnected. The love we hold in ourselves is fluid and once we recognize the capability of loving ourselves, the flow of love permeates to everyone and everything around us.
One of the prominent researchers of self-compassion, Dr. Kristin Neff, includes two more important practices: 1) recognizing your personal struggles as being part of shared human experiences; and 2) holding one’s painful thoughts and feelings in “mindful awareness”. Self-compassion emphasizes the way we respond to our personal thoughts and it matters greatly. Instead of being self-judgmental and beating ourselves up, we should observe (without the emotional attachment) that we are sharing these thoughts with the human community and we should treat ourselves kindly with no self-judgment and ridicule.
Eat High-Energy Foods
Each type of food contains its own level of energy. Intake of higher energy foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, nourishes body and spirit. Intake of low energy foods, such as junk food, that are nutrient-poor and preservative-rich introduces a lower energy level and drags body and spirit energy levels lower. Consistent intake of high-energy foods positively feeds the body and the spirit.
To express kindness is to show your gentle nature towards others, to help others through good deeds and by bringing happiness and joy to others (and yourself). Acts of kindness bring givers and recipients a sense of personal satisfaction, connectedness with others, calmness and often relaxation. Acts of kindness ease pain, increase energy levels and reduce high blood pressure.
In true expressions of kindness, the giver expects nothing tangible in return.
Expressions of kindness are shown in many different ways. Kindness can be expressed in words: speaking kindly to others, including and especially to those who don’t expect it (salespersons, wait staff, telemarketers, etc.). It can be expressed in your body language: a smile, a gentle touch on the arm or shoulder, or a hug. Expressions through an action of work: carrying someone’s package, doing a small repair job, shopping for someone, volunteering to build a home, working in a food pantry or preparing food for a homeless shelter. Kindness is also expressed in the giving of donations of food, clothing and money to charitable organizations. From the person offering a simple smile to the major philanthropist, all are expressing their kindness.
Avoid Energy Vampires
Ever notice how being with some people seem to leave you feeling sad, lonely, irritable and drained? They can make you dizzy and give you a headache. Spending an afternoon with them is similar to how you feel after running a three-day marathon. Your body feels drained and all you want to do is get some sleep.
You have just been in the presence of an energy vampire, bombarding you with negative feelings and thoughts, while at the same time draining off the higher energy you have been methodically working to increasingly raise in order to feed not only your body but your all-important spirit as well. Despite working diligently to keep your energy levels and maintain a positive outlook, you are now attracting an energy vampire.
Negative people often search for a jolt of high energy from people holding a higher energy.
Through this attraction, energy vampires lock on to your positive energy and begin to siphon off your energy stores. They pull you into a conversation of streaming troubles, complaints and gossip: then you are caught in a situation where your higher energy spirit is trying to “uplift” this person through sharing kindness, patience, compassion and support. However, your own energy is depleted.
Here are a few tips to counteract the effects or avoid energy vampires:
- Visualize an energy field shield or bubble. The shield repels negative energy but allows the flow of positive energy in and out
- Stay present in conversations with others in order to discern when the talk is turns to energy drainage
- Once identified as an energy-draining conversation, steer the conversations to happier, lighter topics that the energy drainers truly enjoy
- If this is unsuccessful extricate yourself from the situation (tactfully, of course)
- In the case of energy vampires, seek to cut them out of your life. If this isn’t possible, as in the case of a relative or coworker, keep contact to a bare minimum and use an energy shield.
How to Feed Your Spirit Over the Holidays
With the holidays quickly approaching here are a few tips to survive this energy draining time of year:
- Remember to spend quality time with those you love
- Set and stick to clear boundaries when choosing which celebrations to attend. Attend functions with positive people, in whose company you truly enjoy, and skillfully turn down those celebratory occasions you know will make you uncomfortable
- It’s okay to admit to yourself that you are tired and take some time to rest, self-nurture and rejuvenate. Keep up a daily meditation and exercise routine
- Enjoy your favorite holiday foods but remember to keep up your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Acknowledge your inner child, seeing things through the eyes of wonder and awe
Try these practices daily in order to keep your energy levels high and nourish the often forgotten, all-important spirit.