I feel pretty crappy when I don’t exercise. My body feels cranky and my mood is crap. So I know that regular exercise is crucial if I want to feel good and stay healthy. For most of us, that’s common sense.
But how many of us put the same effort into our spiritual fitness?
See, our consciousness is kind of like a muscle. If we don’t strengthen the parts we want, they will tend to atrophy. And, if we overuse the parts we don’t want, they tend to grow. For example, if I’m putting my attention on my complaints, fears and worries, I will tend to experience more of these things in my day to day life.
Conversely, when I put real effort into things that uplift me – things like my meditation practice, reading intentions & affirmations, listening to or reading spiritual teachings, and making a concerted effort to connect with the Sacred regularly- I feel more peaceful and empowered.
Here’s another analogy: the consciousness is like the body. For instance, if I’m feeding my body junk food, it becomes, well, junky. Likewise, if I “binge” on hours of Netflix, news, Facebook feeds (isn’t it interesting that they are called “feeds”?) or mindless magazines, my consciousness gets filled with junk and I don’t feel so great (ever felt sort of deflated after being on Facebook too long?).
So, how does one “tone up?”
I’m glad you asked 🙂
10 Ways to Fight the Flab:
- Deliberately choose what you are “feeding” your mind/spirit. For instance, what books, websites, music, TV shows, podcasts, etc., are you choosing for yourself? Are they uplifting and inspiring, or not so much?
- Meditate regularly (or just lie down on the floor for 5 minutes daily, connecting with your breath). The point is to create space and silence in your day.
- Schedule one fun thing each day or each week. Really! Consciously choose it, calendar it, and DO IT for yourself. This could anything from going to a movie or taking yourself out for a coffee and journaling session, to lying on the couch and reading for a couple hours with tea. Whatever is fun, schedule it and do it!
- Conduct experiments! Let’s say I want to experience more love in my life. Ok. So every time I leave the house, I set the intention to see examples of love (Or faith. Or abundance. Or whatever). And then I just see what presents itself. Simply an experiment.
- Practice Self-Forgiveness whenever you find yourself in judgment (of yourself or others). This is kind of like a colonic for the emotional system 🙂
- Engage in regular Self-reflection of some kind (journaling, going on a long walk, talking with God). From the realm of neuroscience, we know that taking time to reflect is actually an integral part of re-shaping our neural pathways.
- Make a request. Make a list of 15 complaints you have in your life. These can be anything, from feeling fat to being angry with God about something. Then, compose a request to address each complaint. For example, if my complaint is “I’m not making enough money,” a request I might make of myself might be, “Will you write down how much money you want to make per month?”
- Write (or paint, or sing or play) it out. When emotions, stress or overwhelm run high, step away from what you’re doing and just get it out. Write for 20 minutes about whatever is up for you (and then burn it). Go for a long walk. Play your ukulele. Sing. Dance.Whatever. Just get it out. This is like a detox for the soul.
- Engage in some kind of service work. This is one of the fastest, more sure-fire ways I personally know of to get back to what’s really important in life.
- Practice Gratitude. Give thanks for at least 3 things every day. There’s all kinds of research about how this lifts our spirits, and it’s true! Giving thanks for things in our lives really does make one feel better.
Do you have a spiritual practice you love? If so, I’d love to hear about it! Share it in the comments below if you feel so inclined.
Your spiritual workout buddy,