Some parts of life grab more of our attention than others. Some “circles” like our finances, our careers, and even our health have clear indicators of success that are easily definable. The goals we set for those areas are easy to make measurable and specific. Spirituality, in contrast, can be easy to overlook or feel hard to approach because it’s difficult to define or parse into pieces.
A happy family life or a successful hobby can feel like a form of healthy spirituality for some of us, while others take comfort in religious traditions. Either way, growth in spirituality means taking stock of yourself on a regular basis so that you can figure out what makes you more peaceful, purposeful, and able to handle life’s challenges.
When you don’t take time to nurture your spirituality by itself, you run the risk of feeling drained and untethered at a deep level. If you feel like your spiritual life is lacking, try a few of these simple, everyday practices to give it a boost.
1) Daily Reflection
The word meditation may spark images of people sitting cross-legged on yoga mats with incense burning, but the reality can look a lot different. In fact, it can look a lot like giving yourself time to reflect! While meditation is best done in a quiet place where you can sit comfortably, a few minutes at your desk or even a bus ride can work well.
Meditation is a chance to acknowledge and process your state of mind and emotional state. Taking time to examine your thoughts every day gives you more power to break yourself out of negative thoughts, fears, or insecurities in other situations and, according to science, can improve your general well-being and sleep.
2) Lean on Rituals
Many people rely on big religious rituals (baptisms, festivals, holiday services, fasts, etc.) to guide them through different spiritual periods in their lives, but the benefits of rituals can extend into other areas as well. Traditions and routines like making coffee, going for a walk or calling a loved one, are grounding and give us built-in time for peace and reflection.
As you start your days, choose a ritual that you enjoy and use it to set your mind in place. Try to make it the first thing, or one of the first things, you do in the morning.
3) Express Gratitude
Gratitude does a lot for our mindsets, and in a spiritual context it can remind us of how much we have and how much we have to give others. When we’re aware of the abundance we have in life, we feel empowered to take risks, be honest and confident, and share generously.
Regular gratitude can be outward-focused, like thanking at least one person a day for the work they do, or inward-focused, like making a list of the things you’re thankful for each morning or before you go to bed.
Books are boundless sources of comfort and inspiration, and many people read religious texts to help them cope with life’s biggest challenges. Likewise, people who don’t subscribe to any particular religion can look to books on mindfulness or purpose. Even fiction can be a source of spiritual inspiration for people across the religious spectrum.
If you’re not a natural reader, you can set a goal to read something encouraging or life-giving for a small amount of time, maybe just 10 minutes every day. If a book seems like a big commitment, try to find a thought leader whose articles inspire you or a thought provoking short story.
Journaling is a great way to track your thoughts and feelings from day to day, and to let difficult or confusing thoughts exist without judgment. When you’re able to be honest with yourself, you can approach your problems in a realistic way and be more vulnerable and open to help from other people.
If you’re in need of a journaling prompt to get started, choose a quote that inspires you and journal about it for five minutes a day. Even if you don’t feel you have anything to say, write, “I don’t have anything to say” over and over again until a thought arises.
Spiritual practices may seem difficult to pin down, but it’s all about looking for what guides you and brings you joy, peace and encouragement. Make your spiritual habits as integrated into your routine as your work and relationship habits, and you’ll continue to see a more thoughtful and deeply content version of yourself.