As this article mentions, "Happiness, is in part, a byproduct of achievement best gained when we’re working from something and for something larger than ourselves."
No matter how successful we are in the other areas of our lives, without a sense of a connection to this "something larger," it will be hard to find true meaning and purpose.
Here are 7 reasons why a daily spiritual practice will make your life happier and more complete:
Most spiritual traditions around the world include a central tenant of community. Some anthropologists surmise that in this way, religion helped us become the dominate species that we are. By participating in a common belief system or set of rituals, we defined ourselves as a tribe, which helped us to develop social constructs and bond with others as a group to ensure our continued survival. To this day, this feeling of "belonging" that comes with participating in a spiritual community provides us with a sense of safety and security, and increases our well-being and our sense of meaning in life.
As psychologist and author Sherrie Campbell states, "Whether it is attendance to church, a meditation group, even a running group, a yoga studio or a Spartan race team; membership and participation provides a sense of belonging and builds a strong network of social and emotional support."
2.) Support Through Life's Challenges
"As we get stronger, we come to view our painful times as contemplative opportunities, and eventually come to trust that the hardships we pass through are designed to makes us stronger and wiser as people."
3.) A Realization That We Are Never Alone
"When we are spiritual we learn that we are not by ourselves, we are with ourselves."
4.) A Sense of Acceptance
This may be one of the most important benefits of embracing a spiritual practice - at least in my opinion. So much of the struggle and strife in our lives comes from not accepting things or people as they are. When we begin to develop a sense of acceptance and appreciate ourselves and others without expecting perfection, we are able to experience so much less stress and more peace and joy!
Letting go of bitterness, anger, and hurt allows us to enjoy and appreciate all of the many wonderful things that we have. Not only does it lower our stress levels, but it also improves our relationships immeasurably, as well as our health. Less stress means lower blood pressure, a healthier heart, more energy, and even better skin!
Realize that your Creator made you - and everyone else - perfect just the way you are. Accept that your flaws and faults are just a part of the plan. This doesn't mean you can't and shouldn't strive to improve yourself, achieve goals, or become a better person (see #5 below) - but it does mean letting go of judgement of yourself and others in order to find a deeper peace and happiness.
5.) We Make More Mindful & Responsible Choices
As we develop a deeper love and understanding of ourselves and those around us, we also gain a sense of responsibility that reminds us that our actions have consequences - both for ourselves, each other, and the planet. Developing as a spiritual being means finding ourselves becoming more healthy, loving, humble, and kind. We naturally begin to shed unhealthy habits that may be harming our bodies, our loved ones, or the world around us. And instead, we begin to act in ways that enrich, uplift, and care for ourselves and for others as we find ways to live from a place of peace and maturity.
6.) Having a Spiritual Conversation Helps You Find the Greater You
Whatever your idea of God is, a spiritual practice should help you connect with that daily. Whether you choose to pray, read, write in a journal, meditate, or whatever your form of communication may be, we all need to have a daily connection with the "inner us," our higher selves.
For me it's yoga. My Kundalini yoga practice helps me get in touch with that inner and outer sense of wisdom and knowledge that we all have, but most of us forget or rarely tap into.
Connecting with this source of power helps to change our perspective on the world, and to see "the bigger picture," instead of being stuck inside of our own little worries and fears all the time. From this higher perspective you are able to make healthier choices and wiser decisions.
Ah, humility - the great equalizer. Almost all spiritual philosophies emphasize humility to some extent, and for good reason. Humility recognizes that we are all the same - we all have flaws, faults, and foibles. We all fall short sometimes. By embracing spiritual humility, we become less judgemental, more generous, kinder, and more empathetic.
Paradoxically, by becoming more humble, we also begin to recognize our own abundance. We begin to appreciate life more, we become happier with the things we have, and we gain the true "emotional wealth that can sustain our spirits and our hope in life and people."
"Spirituality helps to buffer our fears, to protect our hearts, and to bring us a sense of resilience from a communal support. A strong life philosophy serves to raise our levels of consciousness in how we handle ourselves, how we handle people, and how we think about life and approach our problems. Spirituality brings a depth and a maturity that grows us into healthier, happier and wealthier people..."
To your (spiritual) health,