Discover Your Spiritual Side
What is spirituality? Think of it as your connection to the things you consider meaningful and holy. For many of us, that means praying, observing rituals, studying texts and attending religious services. For others, it means nontraditional structures or notions of God.
Connecting with a higher power offers more than just hope. It strengthens our emotional health, too. Regular spiritual practice offers many proven health benefits, especially when it comes to preventing depression. For example, studies show that:
- Christian adults who repeat the prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me,” 10 minutes a day show fewer signs of depression after just a month.
- Going to church once a week or more may help protect against depression.
- Spiritual meditation can help reduce signs of depression.
- Seniors who coped with life using religion and spirituality feel they are aging more successfully.
How can regular spiritual practice improve your emotional health?
- Offer a reassuring belief in a higher power
- Provide purpose and meaning
- Connect you with a community of supportive people
- Help you understand suffering and cope with difficulties
- Remind you of all the good in the world
Which spiritual practices can help you?
- Participate in a church or other faith group.
- Read scriptures for a rich treasure-house of spiritual truth.
- Worship: The word is a contraction of “worth-ship” and means honoring God with thanks and praise.
- Meditate to still your mind and devote “mindful” attention to spiritual truths.
- Make music: Listening to, singing and playing sacred music can send us to sacred realms. In times of sorrow, music can offer great consolation. In times of joy, it can help us express deep happiness.
- Pray to connect with God and share your deepest needs. Saying a prayer of gratitude can put you in a better mood.
- Talk with others who share similar spiritual beliefs, and learn from each other.
- Volunteer with a religious group or charity.
Which secular spiritual practices can help?
- Meditate and contemplate.
- Practice disciplines like Yoga and Tai Chi.
- Eat right and exercise to stay in good health.
- Read contemplative books and articles.
- Get outside and enjoy nature.
- Appreciate the arts and take part in creative activities.
- Get involved in cooperative group activities.
- Keep stable relationships with friends and family.
- Be compassionate with thoughtful gifts of time, money, and talents.
Adapted from an article by Larry Culliford, Psychology Today, “Advancing on the Spiritual Path 2: Religious Spiritual Practices.”
Meditation can help soothe depression and anxiety. It can also help you cope with chronic pain, asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure and even cancer.
One-Moment Meditation: How to Meditate in a Moment
Note: These videos and links will give you access to information not produced by Methodist Healthcare.
Types of Meditation
- Deep breathing. Sit quietly in a comfortable place. Slowly count to four while inhaling through your nose. Feel your stomach rise. Hold your breath for one or two seconds. Slowly count to four while you exhale, preferably through pursed lips to slow down your breath. Feel your stomach slowly fall. Repeat.
- Mindfulness meditation. Focus on something beautiful, like a candle or a painting. If your mind starts to wander, just return to focusing on your breath and the object of your meditation.
- Visualization. Close your eyes, relax and imagine a peaceful place. Let your imagination fill in the sights, sounds, and smells of that peaceful place.
- Repeating a mantra. Sit quietly and repeat a meaningful word or phrase aloud (or under your breath). This repetition will create a feeling of relaxation.
STEPS ON THE PATHWAY
- Believe that you are never alone.
- Welcome the presence of a higher power.
- Get in touch with your higher power.
- Trust your higher power.
- Learn to meditate.
- Rediscover the power of the Sabbath.
If you need a guide on the pathway, or if you need immediate assistance, call the Front Porch at 901.762.8558.