When people ask you how you feel, you probably have a clear sense of how to answer. If you've been ill, you can give them an update on your physical health and thank them for their concern. When you have undergone stress, you can outline the steps you've taken to alleviate it and how you are doing. If you have suffered a recent loss, the inquiry itself can be a comfort.
Your spiritual state, however, may not spring to mind when you hear this question. However, understanding yourself on this level is vital to your overall well-being. There are several ways you can cultivate an awareness of your own spiritual growth.
Pray or Meditate
Having a regular prayer practice is a surefire way to tune into your own spirituality. When you talk to God, you open yourself up to possibilities beyond what you can experience through just your senses. The same principle applies to meditation. Regardless of the method you use to focus on the spiritual realm, doing so can relieve stress and help you feel more grounded throughout the day. It also makes you more aware of when you are not feeling peaceful so that you can regroup.
You don't have to go on a retreat or dedicate a large portion of your time to this practice. Start with just five minutes a day in a space where you feel comfortable. You may find that some days are easier, and you can spend more time praying on those days. After a few weeks, you are likely to notice that you feel calmer and more aware of your state of mind.
Write Down Your Thoughts
When you pray or meditate every day, you may notice the benefits at first but lose track of your progress after a while. Keeping a spiritual journal helps you track your growth more easily. Take a few minutes at the end of each session to jot down your thoughts. There's no wrong answer! Your entries don't have to follow a particular format to be useful when you occasionally read back over them to see how far you've come.
Notice the Spiritual Element in Other Practices
It is common, particularly for people in Western regions, to try to separate the different aspects of their well-being. The truth is that your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual sides all affect one another. Part of enhanced spiritual awareness is learning how to see these connections. Take note of how your everyday habits affect your spiritual mindfulness:
- Commuting to work
- Taking a walk
- Preparing and eating a meal
- Talking to your family
- Watching a movie
- Attending church services or committee meetings
Talk About Spiritual Matters With Others
It is sometimes difficult for those living in more individualistic cultures to grasp the richness of sharing the details of their spiritual journeys with other members of their faith communities. Talking about your spiritual growth with other people not only helps you feel connected to them but also creates more opportunities for learning. If you find it difficult to navigate certain aspects of your belief system, reaping the benefit of other people's experiences can soothe your worries.
There are many ways to engage in spiritual conversations to increase your own awareness. Join a small group at your church (or start one if you can't find a group that suits you). Hire a spiritual director to act as a counselor and a guide. Even having coffee once a week with a friend who shares your faith can be illuminating.
Your overall wellness isn't confined to just your mind and body. Becoming more spiritually aware can give you a clearer sense of how you are doing on any given day.