Staying on Top of Your Spiritual Wellness
Good health is commonly associated with exercising regularly, eating nutritious foods, and getting enough sleep. However, there’s much more to your health than the physical component. Spiritual wellness, a dimension commonly overlooked by busy college students, makes a significant contribution to your overall well-being. Unlike getting in shape and eating better, being in touch with your spirituality is not exactly something you see listed on people’s’ to-do lists or New Year’s resolutions. However, it deserves attention because of the substantial impact it has. Here are some simple and easy ways to slow down and incorporate some spiritual wellness into your fast-paced life.
1. Question your core beliefs about the universe.
College is a short burst of intense learning about the world and about yourself. Many people begin to challenge long-held assumptions, which leads to further confirmation or the adoption of a new belief. Whether you believe in nature, a higher power, karma, or are an avid agnostic, it is useful to ponder this and incorporate it into your life somehow. If you are religious, go pray; otherwise, go meditate outside and connect with nature. Figure out what connects you to the universe. Critical thinking may lead to valuable insight.
2. Establish your values… and live them!
Okay, so #1 was kind of a big one, but identifying more concrete beliefs is another great way of developing your spiritual wellness. Perhaps it is time to recalibrate your moral compass. What core values are non-negotiable for you? Which societal issues capture your empathy? Thinking about this is a good start, but you are a college student at Berkeley, and this is an ideal time to focus on taking action by living in line with your ideals. So take an ethics class, do a random act of kindness every day, or go vegan! Whether you decide to recycle for the first time or create an entire student organization, every step in this direction is making you a better person.
3. Find out what makes you come alive.
Instead of just going along with the daily grind, find out what it is you are passionate about. What gets you out of bed in the morning? Ever have one of those moments when you are just in the zone? Hours fly by, sleep is irrelevant, and even food becomes secondary. Explore your interests; be random about it. Surely in the back of your mind there’s something you’ve always wanted to do. Seriously, go sign up for that archaeology course, take acting lessons, learn Latin, or paint a picture. It doesn’t have to be related to your major or career path. Take advantage of all the opportunities you have at Cal. What other time in your life will you have access to all these classes and organizations?
4. Get inspired.
Sure, opportunity is everywhere, but you are probably not going to go after it if you are not energized. Thus, it is important to find your intrinsic motivation and channel your drive. If you find yourself stuck in the same old boring routine, simply going through the motions, then it’s time to switch it up a little. Identify your goals and reasons behind them. Hang out with people who will push you to reach your potential. Watch more documentaries. Realize that you can do amazing things with your life, and don’t limit yourself to a path that will make you bitter.
5. Pause and reflect.
Every now and then, it’s important to stop and do a personal evaluation. Are you happy with where you are in life? Are you fulfilling your needs and being true to yourself, while acting in accordance with your values? Are you living in a way that will minimize future “what-ifs” and “should-haves”? Life can pass you by if you let it, so it is crucial every now and then to just STOP and think. Look at the direction you are heading, question your intentions, and figure out what needs altering. If you are unsatisfied, that is an indicator that something needs to change. “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Perhaps Socrates was onto something here.
Spiritual wellness, if neglected, can leave you feeling burnt out and apathetic. Therefore, it is crucial that you take proactive steps in strengthening this aspect of your health. It may seem as if there is simply no time for this, but it is essential for happiness, so start by taking baby steps if this is not something you are used to. Meditate for 5 minutes every morning. Take one class every semester that has nothing to do with your major. Write a poem. Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that staying on top of your spirituality can have a tremendous payoff.
Perhaps you have more urgent priorities and a tendency to put your spirituality on the back burner. You may think this “finding yourself” business is a luxury you cannot afford. But I am telling you that it is okay to make time for this as well. On the other hand, too much of anything can be a bad thing, and if you find yourself in an existential crisis of some sort, realize that this is common for college students, whether they make it known or not. This does not have to be a completely solo experience. It is important to share your thoughts and collaborate with other people during this time, whether it be with a counselor, mentor, or with friends, for even the most introverted people need to get out of their heads every once in a while.
Article by Brynn Kron
Feature Image Source: Stylecraze