This section of Strategy Ideas will touch on religious dogma, but it is not limited to any particular religion. Although I could ramble and speculate on the actual make-up of the soul or spirit or some of the other tough questions, I’m not. I’ll share with you some strategies that have helped me.
1. Remind yourself that you are a good person.
How: 1. In the morning, say the following, “I am spiritually strong.”
Why: It helps to build your self-esteem. This will center you. In many respects, we are socialized to please others. So, of course, this leaves us spiritually open and vulnerable at all times taking away any assertive qualities. The statement, “I am spiritually strong” brings that energy back into your aura and allows you to center yourself again.
2. Answer the tough questions.
Why: This allows your soul to achieve a level of peace.
Some spiritually tough questions may be.
1) Is there a God?
2) What way is the best way to serve God?
3) Is there life after death?
4) What is my purpose in life?
How: Search for the answers within while you read, read, and read and talk to people, talk to people, and talk to people.
3. Remind yourself of the things that you value.
Why: This allows you to prioritize your life.
How: Write them down. It could be a long or short list, but it gives you an idea of how you view your life. If you see some things that you need to add, add them; but remember to be honest with yourself.
4. Take a close look at the world around you, and then step back from it.
How: Leave the computer. Smile… Go outside from whatever building/house you are in and look at the sky. Look at the grass. Look at the sky. Look at the people. As you observe your surroundings, notice how the skyscrapers/houses only represent a very minute occupation of the spiritual universe.
Why: I could easily tell you that these are indications of the existence of God; but I am not. These are actually indicators that there is definitely a bigger world outside the one that you reside. This should bring you some level of peace allowing you to understand that you are not alone or isolated in this universe.
5. Exercise religious tolerance.
How: Take a course, read books, and/or visit other religious institutions. Learn the basics for why they believe what they believe. You may find that you have something in common. I also encourage watching historical documentaries on your local public station or just visit YouTube as every topic you can imagine appears to be on YouTube.
Why: Let everything that you do be an expression of Love. This is a true statement regardless of religion.
6. Learn breathing techniques. Meditation is very important whether in the form of yoga, transcendental meditation, relaxation exercises, or prayer.
How: Go to the local grocery/candle store and get some candles and incense for aromatherapy. I recommend you buy a Chakra chart and get any of the aromas on the chart especially lavender, jasmine, and eucalyptus. Also, I like sandalwood. Purchase a book on breathing. I like the Rodney Yee Yoga tapes if you prefer video. Reminder: As you learn to do the relaxation/breathing exercises for longer periods of time, it is important to do the following: 1) Meditate on positive thoughts; 2) Find your happy place; 3) Block evil spirits by prayer or by statements of affirmation before you begin meditating (you are approaching the spiritual realm); 4) Change your internal dialogue; 5) Try to stay focused on relaxing each part of the body. It is also important to be careful with words of self-hypnosis and powers of suggestion.
Why: It is important to revitalize the spirit by reconnecting to the spiritual universe.
7. Change your internal dialogue.
How: Here are two techniques. The first one you wear a rubber band and when you start dwelling on anxious negative thoughts, you pop yourself to break the flow. You should then start thinking about things that make you happy. The second technique employs the same principle, but instead of the rubber band, you say out loud “Stop”, then you think of things that make you happy once you have broken the negative dialogue. I would also add that sometimes as the question ‘Is that true’ helps when blocking negative self-talk.
Why: I think we all tend to do this one e.g. focus on the things that we do not want out of life instead of what we do want; and for those things that we do want, we develop anxiety for not having them. Smile… That was a very nice anxious run-on sentence. Ha, ha, ha.
8. Get involved with the arts.
How: Do community theater. Get active in your church. Write poetry. Recite poetry at the local coffee house. Do karaoke.
Why: The arts have shown to have healing properties whether in the form of music therapy or in the form of theater for anger management. It is therapeutic.
9. Perform prayer meditation.
How: Pray openly to the spiritual universe.
Why: My experience has lead me to believe that all forms of prayer do not work for everyone. For example, I was socialized to pray internally. You bow your head and you pray. Well, that’s fine if that works for you. I want to offer you an alternative that has been helping me. I pray out loud. Her is my logic. It is said that words have power. It has the power to heal you or hinder you. The comparison is that, if you pray internally, you have prayed with your mind and not your mouth. You have not spoken. If you have not spoken, you have only empowered your mind and not your words. That is only one third of your power. If you prayed openly to the spiritual universe, then you have empowered your mind, empowered your words, and to top it off, you have energized and re-energized your mind and words because the words have developed in your mind, left your mouth, entered the spiritual universe, energized again, and returned to your ears, and re-entered your body into the internal dialogue of your mind. I know that was the run-on sentence from down under, but I know you see my point. Smile… Try it. You may find some benefits from it. I pray primarily at night before I go to bed. I talk openly about everything including relationship stuff, money stuff, work woes, good stuff, happy times, just whatever I am in the mood to talk about.
10. Calm the mind and wind down e.g. time for self.
How: Yoga, relaxation techniques.
Why: In many respects, the war is for our minds. Societies are becoming more and more over-stimulated whether it is the internet, the television, the cell phones, the CD players, the electronic gadgets in the car, etc. This is what it is, the advertisers have to advertise and consumers have to consume. Your goal, or shall I say, our goal is to try to find a level of peace in the midst of chaos. The quest is to control our own thoughts at least long enough to re-energize to deal with this wacky world. Also, it is said that if you are depressed, then you are able to continually process negative thoughts. Well, let’s try to reverse it so we both may be able to continually process positive thoughts. One suggestion, may be to turn off the radio during your drive to work. Or better yet, if you have to listen to music, listen to music that either calms you or inspires you. Nowadays, I find myself listening to my hard drive mp3s on random on my way to work. Also, you may consider splitting your days between your work day and the rest of your day. This is the classic catch your breath after a long day before you start your next set of activities whether it is you brought your work home, you are spending time with your children or significant other, or you have plans to go out that night. This break can be long enough to listen to your favorite song or just long of enough to have a sigh. You will develop a time frame over time once you decide to make it a priority and conscientious effort to take time out for you.