How Does Spiritual Practice Help with Mental Health?

How Does Spiritual Practice Help with Mental Health? October 10, 2023

Prayer is the center of the spiritual life – courtesy of the Chopra Center

We live in a fast paced society with demands on each of us and our families coming from many directions. These demands continue to grow and technology adds the inability to escape for many people. Smartphones are always in hand, with applications and social media creating addictive behavior. The harshness of social media is then the example for personal interactions all too often. Where is peace in this world? A spiritual life can help you to find it.

What is a Spiritual Practice?

Spiritual practices have a long history of helping people find peace, purpose in life, and forgiveness. A spiritual practice will help you to connect with God, the source of all peace, purpose, and forgiveness.There are many documented benefits to having a spiritual practice:

  • Creates a sense of purpose and meaning in your life helping you to discover our deepest values and to deal with challenging life situations
  • Spiritual practices will help grow your relationship with God, self, and others leading us on a journey to wholeness
  • Provide a sense of security and structure in your life
  • Helps the practicer through times of illness and/or emotional stress
  • Helps provide a sense of peace, purpose, and forgiveness

As any Catholic knows there is no shortage of prayers available as part of a daily prayer practice, Many Catholics dutifully recite their prayers on a daily basis and talk to God. This has served the Catholic community well for centuries. An important aspect of the spiritual life is also looking for God’s response to prayer by listening for God, and looking and finding God active in your daily life. I have mentioned this in a previous article and I know from personal experience this is so very true:

God will use any means at any time to interact, guide, and lead us..

Our God who is the Creator of everything in the world loves you so much that He is active everyday in your life. He is constantly watching over us, protecting us, and if we say “Yes” to Him then He guides our lives cooperatively with us. Our God is a loving and awesome God.

How Do I Get Started?

There are a number of practices you can incorporate into your day to get closer to God and live the spiritual life:

  • Daily Prayer – this is without a doubt the most important. How do you build any relationship with another? You spend time with them and that is exactly what prayer does. Establishing a daily prayer structure and committing to it is really important to living a spiritual life. The key here is that you must find what works for you. What works for me may not work for you as everyone is different. You can read the Bible, the daily readings, use a daily reflection guide – whatever works best for you, but you must try and establish quiet, contemplative time to share what is on your heart and to listen for God’s response. If prayer gets a little stale and you don’t feel you’re connecting with God, change things up a bit, but do not give up on it.
  • Connecting with nature – this is an excellent way to get in touch with God. A walk in nature is not only healthy, but very spiritual. It always amazes me when I walk through nature how big our God is to create all of this.
  • Attending a spiritual or religious service – this may be a good way to start or re-start a practice that feels stalled. Attend a service in your parish, a group spiritual direction practice, or a retreat to help reconnect and strengthen that connection with God.
  • Meditation – while this is a function within contemplative prayer there are separate meditation sessions and apps that can help you clearing your mind (mindfulness), seeking a connection to God (or higher power depending upon your beliefs), and  these practices can help open your heart to let God in and cooperate with you. Some folks engage in yoga practices to focus on the mind, body, and soul.
  • Find a spiritual director – a spiritual director is a spiritual “companion” to walk with you and God to help find Him active in your life.

As I stated above you need to find out what works for you when trying to establish a spiritual practice. Try different things to see what feels right and works best for you. If you have questions or are interested in how to find a spiritual director please feel free to reach out directly to me at dmci07@yahoo.com. All comments are welcomed below.

God Bless

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