3 ways to cultivate spiritual meaning in your life
In the last in the three-part series exploring current wellness trends for 2023, the possibility of developing spiritual wellbeing is presented.
One part of our journey through yoga practice and philosophy is developing our spirituality. We might choose practices and make lifestyle choices that support our connection to something other than the self. Whilst this might include traditional streams of spirituality through religion, it can also be broader ideas about spiritual wellness. Maybe it is exploring what will make our life meaningful or building a life that is worth living, or it might be connecting to something greater than the self or the natural order of the world. Maybe spirituality for oneself means a sense of hopefulness or exploring the importance of relationships and connection in our lives. Whatever it looks like for you, developing your personal spiritual wellbeing could be one other important part of taking good care of your psychological wellness and health.
Here are 3 approaches to spiritual wellness to explore:
Connection with nature and our planet
Developing a spiritual practice might include finding ways to connect more closely and meaningfully with the natural world and our planet. This will help us develop an external gaze and draw our awareness to living beings other than ourselves. Some things to consider might include gardening and planting, which brings a sense of hope as we support growth and connect to our innate human desires to nurture and care. Mindfulness practices could help foster a closer connection with nature and the world around us, maybe through sensory observation practices and mindful noticing of the external environment.
Developing gratitude practices
Learning and practicing being truly grateful for things in our lives might be another way to support your spiritual wellbeing. This relates closely to the sense of connection to things outside of the self. One idea is to start a gratitude journal and work on deliberately shifting your perspective to notice the things that are going well (or just okay) or the things you are grateful for in your life. This doesn’t have to be big or fancy things – it might be simple yet crucial things like a warm bed to sleep in at night, enjoying a cup of tea, an important relationship with a human or animal, seeing the sunshine during the day, a smile from a stranger. You might start by reflecting back on the day and recording one thing that you are grateful for. You might build towards writing down up to 3 things. This involves deliberately refocusing our attention (so that we can notice what we are grateful for) which will not only lift your mood but it might provide some form of spiritual meaning.
Exploring the flows of compassion
In compassion-focused therapy, we consider the three “flows of compassion” which includes extending compassion from oneself to others, receiving compassion from others, and offering compassion to ourselves. Deliberately cultivating compassionate intentions and motivations helps us connect more with the people around us. If we are developing our compassionate flow to other people, maybe we can choose to extend friendliness to strangers, be helpful to the people in our communities, or give something back. We might choose to relate to other people more compassionately, for example noticing the other person’s experience and responding appropriately. The other being might be non-human like our pets, animals or houseplants – extending compassionate care to these living beings is also important and might provide a feel-good experience that nurtures spiritual meaning. Care is only possible between people, and at the same time, compassion is a process that we can also bring to ourselves when a part of us is struggling.
Sending you well wishes for your exploration of your own spiritual wellness. Allow yourself to be creative and playful as you find what works best for you.
Thank you for reading!