Over the last year, I saw many people searching for crystals or gemstones, wondering if they have to define themselves as spiritual to use the stones effectively, if they need to believe in energies, or if it is wrong that they only see crystals as pretty rocks. Well, there is no wrong answer to this.
Spirituality can mean different things to different people. It can incorporate various practices, such as using crystals for healing, praying, or journaling. Still, it can also include more simple things, such as enjoying the present moment, spending time in nature, or respecting all living beings.
Besides helping you build meaning and sense in life, spirituality and spiritual practices can contribute to your overall quality of life. Many studies have highlighted spirituality’s positive effects on health, disease recovery, and mental well-being.
So whether you define yourself as a spiritual person or not, consider the benefits of some of the contemplative practices associated with spirituality that I will mention below.
Meditation, whether in a group or alone, lying down or in a lotus position, with tools such as singing bowls or palm stone crystals, can help you have a clearer mind and better focus while inducing feelings of calmness and relaxation.
Mindfulness meditation is known to increase the brain’s gray matter density when you practice it long-term. This can reduce your sensitivity to pain, relieve stress, help you better deal with difficult emotions, and enhance your immune system.
This type of contemplative practice has proven to be helpful for people struggling with depression (about 1 in 7 baby boomers were treated for depression, according to a Gallup Poll from 2015), anxiety, chronic pain, and people suffering from cancer, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. Meditation also protects the hippocampus, the brain area involved in memory, in individuals who meditate for at least 30 minutes a day for a period of eight weeks.
As a person who is passionate about crystals and tries to meditate regularly, I recommend experimenting with palm stones crystals for better focus during mindful meditation and for improving present-moment awareness.
Journaling is another contemplative practice that is kind of overlooked and not necessarily associated with spirituality. But if knowing your inner world better and reflecting on your experiences and emotions through writing is an essential part of your spiritual life, then who can tell you journaling is not a spiritual practice?
Expressing yourself by journaling can help you become more connected to yourself and the world around you. It can help you better understand your desires and struggles, and a gratitude journal can tremendously help with getting out of a spiral of negative thinking.
Whenever I write in my journal, and not superficially writing about how my day went, but really taking time to journal about unexpressed feelings and thoughts, I feel much lighter afterward. Those words I lay on the paper exist as something exterior to me and no longer take up so much room in my head.
There are many studies about journaling highlighting that individuals who regularly write about their inner world experience reduced symptoms of chronic diseases and need fewer doctor visits in the following six months.
So, whether you like to think of journaling as part of your spirituality or not, writing about your experiences could help you in difficult times and improve your overall well-being in general.
Prayer is a contemplative and spiritual (and religious) practice that can elicit a relaxation response, bring hope, compassion, and gratitude into one’s life, and make the one who prays feel heard.
There are various forms of prayer, but most of them are related to the belief in the existence of a higher power holding some level of influence over your life. Whether this belief lies at the core of your spiritual life or not, it can provide a sense of support and may be comforting in difficult times.
There is something emotionally comforting in believing that your prayers are heard, especially when you struggle with a health condition. Prayer can help us be more resilient and keep a positive perspective on life; it can help us feel less alone in our suffering and hope for better days.
You may know yoga is an old spiritual practice and that its purpose is creating a sense of union in the practitioner. This sense of unity is achieved through physical posture, breathing techniques, visualization exercises, and ethical behaviors (though we often see yoga in the mainstream wellness culture separated from moral percepts).
Historically, yoga was a practice adopted in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, but it is compatible with any religion and with non-religious or spiritual people. Practicing yoga on a regular basis is said to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and stress hormones, induce relaxation, and improve one’s mood.
Yoga is also great for the body as it improves flexibility, strengthens muscles, and improves coordination, balance, and reaction times.
If your physical condition allows it, you can try doing yoga for beginners and see if this contemplative and spiritual practice is for you.
If you are already practicing yoga and wish to know how to bring new elements into your experience, I recommend incorporating some healing crystals into your yoga routine.
It is true that one’s spiritual identity can be something personal, and many people prefer practicing spirituality in their intimacy. And that is understandable and totally okay. But on the other hand, being part of a spiritual community or simply sharing your spiritual experiences with others can improve your well-being.
A spiritual community or group can provide support, bring more meaning into your life, and make you feel connected to others. Strong social networks and qualitative relationships are proven to increase life expectancy and well-being.
Being part of a community that shares some of your spiritual beliefs and values can act as a buffer against stress, protect from loneliness and bring validation and improved self-esteem.
So whether you take part in meditation retreats, go to church, or stay connected to people who love to spend time in nature, finding a sense of belonging and building deep relationships may help you stay healthier and more satisfied with your life.
What does spirituality mean to you? Did any spiritual practices improve your well-being? What ideas related to spirituality or religion have helped you the most in your life so far?
Spirituality for myself means anything I do that feeds, heals and opens my spirit. Gardening is a big part of my spirituality practice and we get tomatoes! Meditation has gotten me through hard tough times and anything that increases my grey matter is also increasing my spiritual development. My spirit oftentimes really feels as if it is my truest self.