This is the third post in a series of blogs on improving health: mental, physical, and spiritual. This one is based on things I've learned on my spiritual journey, and I hope that, whatever beliefs you hold, this is helpful and encouraging. None of these things are perfected in me, but all of them are things that I know can be done or begun by anyone.
1. Engage your faith.
You may not subscribe to a particular religion, but you probably have some sort of faith (Karma, the universe, love as the center, or reincarnation). Look in the mirror and ask yourself, "If what I believe about _____ was true, what would I do today?" The answer is almost always surprising.
Seriously, I cannot emphasize this enough: practice mental silence. This is a matter of listening to God and to yourself and sorting through the thoughts that are allowed to live in your head by default. If sitting still doesn't appeal to you, lay down, or even exercise while meditating. Just practice mental silence.
3. Live in honesty, especially with yourself.
When I get busy, I ignore my own state of being. More than once, a friend has asked me if I was okay, and I replied "yes," as a knee-jerk, and when pressed, realized I had not been honest with me. I am not advocating for over-sharing on social media, but be honest with the people who care about you, and who you care about. That process starts with self-honesty.
4. Find the angry spots.
There are places of injustice that make you angry. Some of them are things that I will never lose sleep about. Find your angry places and find ways to change the world around you. I don't believe the world is perfect, and I think an important part of growing spiritually is to find the things that don't sit right with me intentionally. That way, I can intelligently engage them.
5. Feel whatever you are feeling, then forgive.
Emotions are valid. If you are sad, you are not the physical embodiment of sadness. We have Inside Out for that. Being sad, or hurt, or angry, is a moment. Experience that moment, and talk it through with yourself, God, and a friend. As soon as you have realized your feelings, speak forgiveness. Seriously, say, "I forgive _____ for _____" as many times as you need to. It works wonders.
If you do not believe in a God that is an addressable person, this one may take different forms. Basically, be honest with the higher power you believe in. Talk. Converse. Listen. Don't hang up the line; you never know when God is going to speak. I learned about the biggest place of bitterness in my heart when I was walking through the parking lot in my housing complex at school.
7. Sow and reap.
What you put into this world is what you'll get out of it. Give generously, make soup for your sick friends, offer hugs, and buy people coffee. However, it's also super critical that you lovingly accept the reaping part. Accept free coffee. Thank your friend who gives you a compliment and don't question their eyesight. There are times when you will need all of the things you have poured out, and you are allowed to accept them.
8. Watch your thought-train.
Step outside of yourself a little and think about what you are thinking about. Many of the ideas and thoughts you are ashamed of will float on by if you give them a chance to leave, rather than fighting them. Wave goodbye. When something is tempting you, don't dwell on the temptation, but say, "oh, I am being tempted by ____, which I have already decided I'm not interested in."
9. Take care of your body.
I wrote all these posts because every part of health is connected to every other part. If you take care of your physical body, your mood will improve. It's easier to forgive on a full stomach. Promise.
10. Love, especially yourself.
If there is an opportunity to show someone love and grace, do it. Smile. High-five. If someone says they have a test coming up, shoot them a text to see how it went. Respect people's space and be present when you are present. Remember that you are also a human, and not a special enough to be the only one who doesn't deserve unashamed love. Whatever it takes, learn to love you.
I hope that you enjoyed this series, and if you have any thoughts or comments, leave them below!