Even in the midst of this global pandemic, we can find ways to focus on our spirituality. Spirituality is connecting with others, but most importantly, with yourself. By tuning into the present moment, our senses come alive and we’re able to see with clarity and focus.
So, how do we remain in the present moment, aware of where we are and what we are doing? How do we not react dramatically to what’s going on around us or happening to our loved ones?
Seems almost impossible to take a deep breath sometimes, doesn’t it? Start by following these three primary components of spirituality, which include: Mindfulness, Affirmation and Visualization. Under each component, you’ll find activities that will help nourish your soul and put your mind at ease.
Being encouraged to stay inside your home all day is one factor that can bring you stress, worry and anxiety. We get it. We invite you use this time to reflect and practice mindfulness so when this time of uncertainty and fear passes, you may see everything with brand new eyes.
Practicing Compassion with Yourself
If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, the first thing you want to do is to acknowledge your emotions and accept that it’s okay to feel anxious, sad, scared or nervous. Acceptance is a willingness to understand yourself, see people and situations as they really are in the present moment. Acceptance is allowing you, the people around you and the situations you’re in to be exactly as they are. Too many times, we want to control the outcome of a situation and when we really get down to it, we want to control ourselves and the people around us. Ultimately, allowing ourselves to accept what we feel helps us learn and heal.
After you’ve acknowledged and accepted that you’re experiencing negative emotions during this health crisis, one way to combat negative feelings you may want to release is by practicing mediation.
There’s a misconception that mediation is sitting in silence and listening to your breath. Mediation is taking the time to yourself to be conscious of your surroundings and train yourself to be aware of your mental state of mind. Most people want to jump right in and mediate for 15 minutes, but that can be daunting for someone who does not practice meditation often.
Start off by mediating for five minutes by focusing on an object in front of you. You may keep your eyes open or close them but focus on the object in front of you. At first, it may seem difficult to take a moment to yourself to clear your mind and calm your heart. If it helps, start off mediation by turning on calming sounds. Choose a sound that has always brought you peace. Whether it’s the sound of waves beating against sandy shores or the rustling of tree branches swaying in the wind, find a pleasant noise to ease your mind. If you feel confident trying a more intense mediation, we suggest trying Certified Meditation Instructor Camille Sacco’s Worry Mediation. During this mediation, there are many affirmations you can use to alleviate any worry.
Affirmations alleviate more than negative emotions. Of course, they ease your pain, but they can also heal your soul.
During these challenging times, many are turning to poetry for solace. Poetry connects you to a higher thinking of yourself, what matters to you and what you feel about your surroundings in a beautiful, therapeutic way. Poetry can nourish your soul in that the affirmations of poets solidify what you feel value in. You can grow your spiritual development by feeling and visualizing what artists have written around their personal experiences and emotions.
For example, many women have turned to Rupi Kaur’s first poetry collection, Milk and Honey, which hit No. 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list, for her affirmations around her previous relationships. Her expression of these experiences is shared by many women around the world. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Emory College has launched Poems for Pandemic, a daily publication of submitted poems chosen by the faculty and graduate students of the English Department that speak to the human conditions of life during a pandemic. You can find comfort in resonating with another through poetry.
Praying is a common practice that aids those who are disarming fear and uncertainty. Many believe that spirituality involves chanting, breathing exercises and ceremonies or rituals. But praying is an expression of hope and can be to anyone or anything you desire to send your wishes and dreams to. Whether you believe in religious spirituality or worldly spirituality, here are 20 prayers to express during a time of need.
Find meaning in your chaos. In the movie “Castaway,” the character played by Tom Hanks found creative ways to handle being isolated from people while keeping his spirit up. He took the time to ponder who and what meant most to him. This helped him nourish your own soul. He visualized and planned what his goals were while marooned on the island. Visualize what your goals will be after this period of isolation.
Connecting with Nature
Transform your current circumstances by choosing to appreciate the beauty around you and think positive of your experiences. Connect with your spirituality by transcending into the environment. Start by spending some time in the outdoors near your home or taking a stroll around your neighborhood.
When you return home, practice mindfulness by listing all the positives in your life. Write down each positive thing in your life on a sheet of paper and place it in a separate pile or in a bowl. This may be as simple as your discovery of time alone that you didn’t have before or perhaps the ability to have time to connect more with family and friends.
Connecting with Others
Spirituality and your spiritual life also include our daily interactions with other people. Attending virtual gatherings of like-minded believers more often or joining a virtual prayer or meditation group are just a few ways you can put your spirituality into practice. The Center for Health & Wellbeing is hosting a four-week webinar on illuminating your workplace or your home by practicing mindfulness and allows you to chat with others during the program.
At the end of the day, we encourage you to nourish your soul by remembering to connect with your higher self and focusing on what matters to you, whether that’s being kind to self and to others.