Are you too busy to stop, pause, and take stock of your mind? I don’t blame you. It’s natural for you to get lost in the noise that surrounds you. Still, it’s important that you welcome daily spiritual practices into your life.
Imagine, you’re driving a Porsche while looking at the rearview mirror to take stock of the traffic behind you. Why do you have to look at the rearview to drive ahead? It’s important for you to check and correct your course – intentions, thoughts, actions, and reactions in your life from time to time.
Have you tried looking at the mirror to meet your own eyes? Take a few minutes off from your busy day to make time for “meeting yourself”. Create time for yourself!
#1 Meet yourself, mindfully.
Once a month, I spend some time with myself with complete self-awareness. In the first few months, I had tears rolling down my cheeks as I spent time alone. I realized that practicing mindfulness can bring up a variety of emotions to the surface to heal your subconscious mind. I stayed with it and continued the practice for about 6 months to break free from my random bouts of depression.
Say “No” to all digital distractions. Avoid digital overload in your daily life so you will not react but respond, mindfully. Have you noticed that scrolling down your news feed on social media is a coping method? You’re trying to avoid/ignore your own thoughts with the support of technology.
Digital distractions are an easy escape from the reality to virtual reality, isn’t it?
“Meeting yourself” is a simple spiritual practice. Connect and experience yourself right in front of your mirror. Try it once a month and you will gradually move towards “knowing yourself” at a deeper level.
It’s even better if you can journal your thoughts and emotions as and when you experience them during this simple spiritual practice. It helps you keep track of your thoughts and emotions since they keep changing and evolving.
Here are 9 simple spiritual practices to improve mindfulness and mental health. Why don’t you read through them to enjoy a healthy mind?
10 simple spiritual practices to improve your mental health
1. Meet Yourself, Mindfully
2. Create Purpose with Community Service
3. Calm Your Heart with Nature Walks
4. Calm Your Body with Yoga
5. Calm Your Mind with Meditations
6. Calm Negative Self-Talk with Affirmations
7. Calm Anxiety with Visualization
8. Calm Insecurities with Gratitude Journal
9. Calm Mood Disorders with “Self-Acceptance” Journal
10. Make Peace with Hoponopono Prayer
#2 Create Purpose with Community Service
Serve the community. Identify a cause that might be related to your trauma or that of your loved ones. It could be spending time with children who are cancer survivors or teaching lessons to tribal students. Look around you for meaningful opportunities to make a difference to the world.
Volunteer for a cause that is closer to your heart.Tweet
It will help you get a better perspective of your pain and struggles Vs. that of the others. You might realize that you’re not alone in your struggles and you can do a lot more meaningful, purposeful work for your community. There are many more who need love and support as much as you.
More often, withdrawal from social life and extreme mood swings could be a result of an unhealthy mind. Self-injury behaviors are common among people who are socially withdrawn and isolated. Connect with others in your community, ask for help, learn new skills through community service, and grow. You’ll meet people who have been through different life challenges through your community service. It will help you process and release your pain in a positive way while adding value to your community.
P.S: Why real-life social connections are good for your mental health? – Social Science 101:This is Your Brain on Social.
#3 Calm Your Heart with Nature Walks
Watch the clouds, listen to the wind, talk to the plants & kiss the sand barefoot.
Schedule “No Technology Day” once a month for your good (sanity). Spend time with Mother Nature. Experience her beauty in silence with mindfulness. It’s the best therapy on earth for mental health illnesses including Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
A potted plant is Mother Nature as much as a tropical forest.Tweet
Bring home Mother Nature in simple ways possible as a portable water fountain or terrace garden even if you live in an urban neighborhood. Likewise, star-gazing and bird-watching are for everyone at no cost. There are endless options to connect with Mother Nature if only you would put your mind and heart to it.
P.S: Practical ideas on ecotherapy from Mind, UK – Nature and Mental Health
#4 Calm Your Body with Yoga
The adrenaline rush packed with the “flight-or-fight” mindset is addictive to your psyche. You are more productive with shorter deadlines and longer work hours. You get a kick out of being a workaholic and finally, burn your fingers overdoing it.
Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice to know yourself at all levels - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Yoga is not one of the many gym workouts. Yoga is meditation. It brings balance and harmony to your body, mind, heart, and soul. Focus on your breath when you practice yoga. Tune into the natural rhythm of your body with conscious awareness. Simply observe, and listen to your body. Improve your physical stamina and mental health with yoga every day.
Start simple with yoga asanas like Vrikshasana (Tree Pose) and Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Learn from a well-experienced Yogi or Yogini, if possible. Put your time and effort into this daily spiritual practice to improve your mental health.
Do you know? Hatha Yoga focuses on body movements while Bhakti Yoga (Mindful Worship), Karma Yoga (Mindful Action), and Jnana Yoga (Mindful Knowledge) focus on balancing your heart, mind, and soul.
P.S: 7 Yoga Poses to Release Trauma and Improve Your Mental Health by Colleen Saidman Yee
#5 Calm Your Mind with Meditations
Meditation is an ancient spiritual practice; a form of Yoga. There are many forms of Yoga and the most difficult ones are centered around meditation like the Jnana Yoga.
Start with Hatha Yoga (disciplined body movements) to calm your body and then, slowly move on to meditation to calm your mind. Yoga can help you practice patience to sit still and empty your thoughts into the silence.
Don’t fight your thoughts but, accept them as a part of you.Tweet
Let your mind run in all directions. Go with the flow. Don’t resist your thoughts, first. The mind will waver continuously. Sit still in meditation every day even if your mind is flooded with different thoughts. To begin with, aim for 10 minutes on day #1 and trust me, you will sit for 30 minutes or more on day #10.
Don’t worry. It might take a bit longer for some to sit in meditation for 30 minutes. It’s okay! Remember, it’s not a race or marathon but a spiritual journey. Everyone has their own pace and purpose while they’re on their spiritual journey. Meditation is the best strength-building strategy for the mind.
P.S: The Harvard Medical School published an article on
How Mindful Meditation Supports Mental Health
#6 Calm Negative Self-Talk with Affirmations
Do you do rehearsals of tragic events in your mind from your past? Do you expect things to get worse in the future even without any valid reason? You might be suffering from a negative, self-sabotaging mindset.
I’m guilty of negative self-talk and self-sabotaging behavior patterns during my college years. It took me a lot of effort and practice to transform my “pessimistic” mindset into an “affirmative” mindset. Simple spiritual practices are the slow but steady pathway to a happier living amidst life’s uncertainties.
I don’t believe in an “optimistic” mindset or positivity that’s impractical. I choose to have an “affirmative” mindset since it helps you accept the bitter truth about your past/present/future and then, builds your mental stamina through the power of your intentions and thoughts.
Your thoughts become your words, your words become your reality.
Affirmations are spoken words that reinforce and manifest the reality that you choose for yourself. Strictly no ifs and buts, please! Simply, hit the bull’s eye with 100% certainty through simple, daily affirmations. The best time to practice them is after you wake up & before you go to sleep.
You’re feeding and rewiring your subconscious mind to think, act, and respond to you exactly the way that you want. It’s more like training your robot to listen and perform its tasks according to your command, to the dot.
- Think, speak, and be in the present moment.
- One affirmation a day keeps your negative self-talk away.
- Believing is half-hearted. Faith is conviction.
- Speak your affirmations every day with faith in yourself and your Creator.
P.S: A complete guide on Affirmations As Part of Your Daily Spiritual Practice.
#7 Calm Anxiety with Visualization
Do not hold back your emotions or feel guilty about your thoughts. These are the two most important root causes of all anxiety-related problems. You are resisting your own emotions and thoughts which is surfacing again and again in the form of anxiety attacks. First, accept the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life to get over them and lead a more peaceful life.
Anxiety pops up from your imagination and hurtful past experiences. Your mind is stuck with what could go wrong every single time you try to take an action. So, teach your mind to imagine that you’re safe, stronger, and smarter than your situations. Just, switch your anxious mindset to a relaxed mindset that’s ready for action.
Remember, visuals can help calm your mind. During an anxiety attack, you can either focus on what’s visible around you or simply, visualize what you want to see at the moment.
- Connect your mind to the present moment.
- Count different colors, numbers, or items in a room.
- Focus on your in and out breathing pattern. It might be short and irregular when you’re panicky.
- Try to take deeper, longer breaths to calm down.
- Don’t panic about panicking. Stop resisting what’s happening to you at the moment.
- Experience your anxiety and then, let it go.
P.S: Here are a few ways to tackle anxiety as advised by therapists on Huffington Post.
#8 Calm Insecurities with Gratitude Journal
The “Influencers’ culture” has made us more restless about what we don’t have. Yes, I’m guilty too! It’s in human nature to desire. But, at what cost? You lose our peace of mind once you start comparing your life with others in social media. You’ll know only 1% of the real story behind social media influencers but you’ll want to imitate them or rather, become them.
The result? Insecurities creep into your mind.
You can tackle all insecurities with the feeling of gratitude as I do. I write my list of “thank you” to people, places, and situations that shape my life. I do it every day. “Gratitude Journaling” is a gentle reminder to your mind that you’re loved and blessed with a lot of goodness in your life.
Practice gratitude twice every day; once when you begin your day and then when you complete your day.
Try it for 21 days and then, you’ll thank me for sharing the idea. Whenever I do my spiritual practice, I prefer to sit in my sacred, quiet place that I’ve created for “me” time. I meditate for a few minutes, light up a candle, and burn a few incense sticks before I start writing on my Gratitude Journal. You can also record an audio/video as your daily gratitude log to add your voice and persona to the spiritual practice.
P.S: Tips for Keeping Your Gratitude Journal published by the Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley
#9 Calm Mood Disorders with “Self-Acceptance” Journal
Own your troubles to start your healing journey. I’ve recently come to terms with my shortfalls and planned to start my self-acceptance journal. I look at repetitive patterns in my life across different aspects like career, relationships, finances, etc., Then, I start self-inquiry about what’s the root cause of the unhealthy patterns in my life. Instead of finding fault with others to play the blame game, I’ve decided to find & correct my mistakes by myself. Most importantly, I accept myself with all my faults and failures through loving-kindness (Metta).
Analyze yourself to make sense of your mistakes. You are your best critic!Tweet
- Pick a repetitive pattern in your life like a career or relationship.
- Observe the recurring pattern in the past and present.
- How do you feel? What you experience during those moments?
- Dive deep to find that single thought/emotion that arises in you every time you experience this unhealthy pattern repeating in your life.
- Meditate on it and write down/record your thoughts to begin the healing.
#10 Make Peace with Hoponopono Prayer
Are you willing to ask for forgiveness for yourself or others? No excuses, whatsoever. You can ask for forgiveness from people even if you cannot meet or speak to them in real life. How? Energetically.
“Ho’oponopono” is a Hawaiian prayer. It helps you ask forgiveness to anyone, alive or passed away through the healing energy of your Higher Heart. If you’re planning to talk to someone to say you’re sorry. Then, chant this prayer before you meet them in-person to make your talks more meaningful and effective.
- Simply chant “Ho’oponopono” (or)
- Listen to this simple guided meditation on “Ho’oponopono”
- Be mindful and practice loving-kindness during the prayer.
- Be genuine in asking for forgiveness, heart-to-heart.
Mental health issues are more common among the world population since we’re living without mindfulness. It’s the after-effects of people disconnecting from themselves in search of short-term pleasures and benefits. Our current social and economic system is built on distancing you from your subconscious mind and superconscious mind. So, it’s now your responsibility to create a more meaningful and purposeful life for yourself with a healthy mind, body, heart, and soul.
Mindfulness is the biggest solution to the setbacks of our digital age. Your mind is your superpower. Use it wisely. Siri and Alexa can listen to your voice and respond intelligently but, humans have trouble listening to each other and respond mindfully. Start practicing these 10 simple spiritual practices today every day for a healthy mind.
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