Sometimes, we feel that life's main goal is to slam us into oblivion. We often cry out "What is happening to me?" Or, "Why me?" Those are the times we slide into a spiritual slump, really wondering whether it is worth it. Yes, at times life does try to crush us, but we need to remember one important thing: We are the puppeteers of our own destinies. Adopting and adhering to several habits will help carry us through our spiritual slumps.
Habit #1: Exercise
While this may not be high on anyone's list, our bodies need exercise. Both mind and body need nourishment to arrive at a balance. Exercising will help us balance our lives, especially spiritually. Having a fit mind and body is encouraging, but having a fit spiritual sense about us enlightens our lives.
Habit #2: Writing
Writing is therapeutic. Writing or journaling your highs and lows allows you to return to those feelings of vitality that come with being on a spiritual high. Ironically—thankfully—when you return to the highs that came from overcoming the lows and re-read them, you will feel the same energy, the same spirit, and ultimately that spiritual epiphany. Often, it is difficult to maintain the spiritual high you need to survive all of challenges. Let your pen or your fingers on the keyboard help you digest and improve your spirituality.
Habit #3: Reading uplifting books, including scriptures
Perhaps, very little exists that will propel you faster from a spiritual slump to a balanced view than reading good books. Many, many books are available on your library's shelves or the Internet. Read only books that are inspirational and uplifting. Many "downer" books exist, but you don't have to read them. Chat with your local librarian or friends at work or church. They will surely guide you to a good book. Part of reading good books is actually reading the "good book." One of the most important habits to adopt is reading scriptures. The words of Christ or other spiritual leaders will enlighten your minds and souls. There is something refreshing about reading the words of inspirational leaders.
Habit #4 : Gardening
Gardening is hard work; and hard work helps us grow and progress. There will be times when you will hack the weeds to death, taking your slump out on them. That's OK. What truly matters with gardening is you can plant and care for something and watch it flourish. Granted, many people don't live where they can grow outside gardens, but you can grow things in your apartment or on your patio. Some communities offer "community gardens" where you can share plots of ground with others. Even taking advantage of having cut flowers, gracing your table or your countertop, will cheer you up. Invite members of your family to join in. Gardening is a satisfying process for children, too.
Habit #5: Reaching out and beyond yourself through service
Everybody's life contains challenges. Reaching out and serving others reminds you that others have challenges different than yours. For those moments or even hours of service, your mind is not on yourself; rather, it is focused on someone else. Service creates within us that spiritual euphoria that encompasses and fills our entire souls.
Habit #6: Attending religious services
Religious services with its exceptional music and spiritually-guided teachings will touch our hearts faster than most anything. Whether your teachings come from Christ, Mohammed, or Confucius, they teach about how you can grasp the good counsel and apply it to our lives. They teach us there is help. For example, Christ states in the King James' version of the Bible: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
Habit #7: Sharing your talent or hobby
All of us are blessed with a talent or hobby. Some of us have many. One of the ways to slide out of the slump of spirituality is to share our talents and hobbies with others. It's this sense of giving back that propels us out of slumps. Sharing is just a natural step to go beyond ourselves to help others.
Habit #8 : Learning something new
When we are in a spiritual slump, we lounge around the house, feeling sorry for ourselves. Our lament often trails into the "Woe-is-me" syndrome. The more we focus on the "Woe is me," we will never rise above our challenges. An exceptional way to combat those feelings is to learn something new. Each of our communities offers community education courses. Many of our communities have community colleges or universities that promote community education opportunities—from Dutch oven cooking to computer and art courses to visiting historical sites. Learning new things animates our souls and helps us remember that our minds need nourishment.
Habit #9 : Hanging out with positive people
Nothing can be more depressing than hanging out with depressing or negative people. It's like a big sucking sound, which sucks out your energy and leaves you even more depressed. Associate yourself with positive, uplifting people with values you have or seek to have. An old saying goes "You're the product of the company you keep." Keep good company. Negative people reek of darkness and sadness; positive people ooze light and happiness.
Unfortunately, spiritual slumps will slide in and out of our lives. How we handle them will determine our sanity and our course of direction. Adhering to and adopting exceptional habits will only enhance our chances of avoiding or sliding into spiritual slumps. When we stay above the froth of life, our hearts, mind and bodies will be healthier and happier.
Darrel Hammon likes being outdoors, growing things and seeing things the way they could be. You can read more of his musings at darrelhammon.blogspot.com. He and his wife worked as welfare volunteers in the Caribbean.