How to Improve Your Spiritual Well-Being—Sunup to Sundown

How to Improve Your Spiritual Well-Being—Sunup to Sundown December 27, 2023

spiritual practice
Thomas Bormans via Unsplash

The following story is one of 112 included in my new book “Wake Up Call: Daily Insights for the Spiritually Curious.” It’s available at Amazon.

January is often the time to make big resolutions, and for many of us this includes a pledge to become healthier and more physically fit. But what if for the next year, you resolved to improve your spiritual health as well?

You may have already read about starting a morning ritual, a practice that can have a positive effect on your mental and spiritual well-being. When we start our days with a regular morning routine, it nourishes us both body and soul. It can calm and center us, better preparing us for the day ahead. So, no matter what challenges life puts in front of us, we can deal with them from a place of greater compassion, humor, kindness, and love.

There’s another tool you can use to maintain your spiritual health—a short evening ritual.

If you’re like a lot of people, each morning you meditate (or like me, engage in silent contemplation) for a ten to fifteen-minute period—and while a second “meditation” session is recommended toward the end of the day, we often can’t find the time. That’s why I’d like to share a simple, five-minute practice you can engage in each night at bedtime to cap off the day and put your head in a good place before dreamtime.

This concept comes from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg who, while recovering from the sudden death of her husband several years ago, began a simple practice. Before she went to bed at night, she wrote down three things she did well that day. The list started with small acts like making a good cup of tea. She found that by focusing on things she had done well, even if small, she was able to record something positive each day and rebuild her confidence.

Sandberg then moved on to the next step. In USA Today, she stated that after engaging in the “three things done well” practice for about a year, she transitioned to a new practice: Instead of recording three things she did well, Sandberg said her resolution was to write down three joyful moments because, to quote Bono, “joy is the ultimate act of defiance.”

What a great idea—appreciating the good that happens by writing down three joyful moments each day before they’re forgotten. This aligns with another practice I heard about via the pastor Steve Wiens of Minnesota, a centuries-old ritual called examen. It involves “noticing God’s presence and discerning God’s direction” each evening by reflecting on the day’s events and asking ourselves two simple questions. To quote Wiens:

 At the end of each day, take ten minutes to stop and review the day’s events, becoming aware of God’s presence all through it. Then ask yourself two simple questions:

  1. When was I most alive today?

  2. When was I most drained today?

You can write your answers down in a journal or simply contemplate them. (Wiens recommends “praying through them.”) Either way, the point is to find out what in your life is bringing you closer to God (a happy place) and which actions take you further from God (a negative place). By noticing these patterns, you can then make the necessary adjustments to help ensure your good days outnumber the bad.

 By ending the day with the practices suggested by Sandberg or Wiens, we bring our day full circle. With our morning ritual, we ready ourselves for the day ahead. With our nighttime ritual, we reflect on the day’s events and learn to appreciate all that is good and right in our lives. Put together, they help us lead our best possible lives.

""it symbolized how Christ’s presence could be experienced in the present.”Most probably because the resurrection ..."

The Untold Stories of the Resurrection ..."
"nothing, the soul is simply breath that God breathed into Adam, and the final breath ..."

What Happens to the Soul after ..."
"What if working days are never over? That's the reality for many old people. It's ..."

You’re 60-plus and unsure of your ..."
"Strong exploration, Tom. And thanks for the LinkedIn connect too."

Jesus, The Lost Years: Ages 12 ..."

Browse Our Archives