Loss of life purpose or challenge to personal identity accentuates the human spirit.
How you define who you are and the meaning and purpose of life is critical to the health of your spirit. You experience spiritual stress when these definitions are challenged or unclear. The human spirit asks: “Who am I”, “What is life about” and “What is my purpose”?
These questions peak at times of major life change or loss, such as the identity challenges of adolescence and middle age or the loss of a child, spouse, job, or body part.
Attaching identity and purpose to variables outside of your control makes you vulnerable to spiritual stress.
Here are four tips to de-stress your spirit.
Tip # 1 ~ Connect with yourself. Look deep into your eyes in a mirror. Contemplate. Who is watching? Realize that the same consciousness within you today has been there since the beginning of your life. There is a constant and permanent Being that does not change with changes in your body, emotions or thoughts. This invulnerable core is a foundation for internal strength and support.
Why does it work ~ When he does not depend on external conditions to define himself, he feels free. The outside world is constantly changing and unreliable. Your inner being is solid, grounded in reality and invulnerable to attack by others. Viktor Frankl describes this beautifully in “Man’s Search for Meaning.”
Tip # 2 ~ Connect with the moment. Feel the water on your hands as you wash them. Notice the specific way you wash them, how slippery the soap is, the temperature of the water. Put your feet on the ground, observe the sights, sounds and smells around you.
Feeling your experience in the moment is a practice of being present and helps you connect with life in a deep and meaningful way. Set the intention at the beginning of your day to stop and be there often. You will find that this practice reduces stress by increasing awareness and meaning in each moment.
Why does it work ~ Connecting with the present moment focuses, relaxes, and enlivens your life experience. You are not brooding over the past or worrying about the future, which are stressful. The insight, knowledge, and experience of this moment are available to you. Stress decreases when you have a sense of control within you.
Tip # 3 ~ Connect with your purpose. How do you know what is important to you? You feel it. Notice the small voice or the feeling of knowing inside when something is attracting you. Your body alerts you to what is dangerous or attractive long before your mind can explain why. Pay attention to those signs. This is your intuition or sixth sense. Your deepest values and purposes are not in your head, but in your heart. What does your heart respond to? What does your spirit touch? Purpose is the force that gives energy. It inspires you to get up in the morning. What excites your passion for life?
Why does it work ~ When your inner drives guide you, you can’t make a mistake. These are signs that lead to your true wishes and lasting happiness. Joseph Campbell, the great mythologist says, “Follow your bliss.” When you follow your true path or calling, you feel invigorated rather than stressed.
Tip # 4 ~ Connect with nature. You are part of a larger cosmos. You are not isolated as the limits of your body suggest. Whether you look at life from a religious, spiritual or scientific perspective, what you think and feel affects the environment and the environment affects you. Spending time in nature reconnects you with your natural rhythms. It is easy to lose your center when attending to other people, television, computer, shopping, etc. they constantly grab your attention. Taking time each day to be quiet in a natural setting, reflect, keep a journal, or just be present can help you come back to yourself. When taking a break or before going home at the end of the workday, take a moment to smell a flower, watch the river go by, or appreciate a tree.
Why does it work ~ The Earth vibrates at a certain frequency. Spending time in nature synchronizes our vibrations with the natural vibrations that support us. Locking yourself in hermetically sealed buildings with fluorescent lighting and recirculated air throughout the day can cause a loss of balance and connection with yourself and your natural rhythms.
Spiritual stress results from the loss of connection to your true self, values, purpose, and nature. Taking time each day to reconnect with these aspects of your life reduces stress and supports happiness, security, and connection.