google's definition of spirituality : "the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things."
the idea and importance of creating a daily spiritual practice was brought forth into my mind after reading rebecca campbell's book, "light is the new black". she states that "you cannot hear the callings of your soul if you don't carve time out to listen to them daily." throughout the book she continuously stresses the importance of making time to add rituals into your everyday life that allow for space to listen to and heal your spirit and soul.
though 'spiritual practice' may sound both super hippy and daunting, i promise it isn't. creating a daily spiritual practice means tending your spirit, bringing your body, mind and soul into balance, and deepening your spiritual connection through daily practices. having daily routines, practices or rituals can help serve as reminders to tend to the spirit/soul and become rooted in the present.
in this post i'm going to be talking about some practices and tools you can use to infuse your day with mindfulness. a spiritual practice will look different for everyone, and not all (or any) of the following practices or tools will interest you. these are some things i personally try to do. i am in no means an expert or pro at this topic in the slightest - some days i may do all or most of these practices, others i do none. creating a spiritual practice is a journey and forming habits most often take a lot of time, effort and dedication. i do really notice that if i start my day with at least one of these rituals, i feel a lot more grounded and less scattered and irritable throughout the day. it can be hard to commit to actively working on a spiritual practice, but the days when you resist these things are often the days you need them the most.
it appears that meditation has become somewhat of a 'trendy' thing to do in recent times. while some trends, particularly on social media, i lack understanding of the interest behind them, meditation i can clearly see the reasons for its rising popularity. i'm sure you've all come across pages or posts on the benefits of meditation, but if for some reason you haven't, i'm going to talk about them for a little while. people have been meditating for thousands of years, so while the practice isn't new, science is only recently catching up to all of its benefits. there are over 3000 scientific studies on the benefits of meditation, with these including improved concentration, less stress, better immune system, improved sleep, less depression and anxiety, higher self esteem, more resilience, increased mental strength and memory, better problem solving and creative thinking, reduced blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health, delayed ageing, etc etc. it seems too good to be true that simply taking time to stop and focus on breathing can yield such a huge range of positive effects, hey? if you've tried meditation before, however, you'd be aware that it often isn't the easiest thing to do. most times, in fact, it's pretty frickin difficult. i really struggle with it, but i strongly, strongly believe that if you stick to it, its one of the best things you can do for yourself. i've found that the easiest way to include it in my day is doing it first thing when i wake up in the morning. until i improve at it, i also find using an app or guided meditation works best for me (i use either 'breathe' or 'headspace').
much like meditation, yoga has similarly become a 'social media trend', but again, is an ancient practice boosting a huge range of benefits, both mentally and physically. yoga is a holistic approach to achieving physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. regular yoga practice can reduce stress and anxiety, improve flexibility, build muscle strength, improve posture and bone health, increase blood flow, boost your immune system, improve balance and focus, release tension in muscles, help you sleep, ease pain, support connective tissue, and more!
a few years ago when i discovered yoga and my enjoyment for it, i practiced almost every day for months, and subsequently felt probably the best i ever have. since that phase/obsession, i've gone through times of both regular practice and completely neglecting my yoga mat, but each time i return i still love it just as much. if you're new to yoga i highly recommend checking out 'yoga with adriene' on youtube - that gal is my yoga love. she has a '30 day yoga camp' and '31 days of yoga revolution', which are both awesome playlists of daily yoga videos. crazy yoga poses can make it appear daunting, but there are heaps of beginner flows to help ease you into it. when i first started doing yoga i could barely touch my toes, and just a few months later i could do the splits. its empowering and motivating to see the improvement in your physical and mental health.
essential oils and aromatherapy have been used for over 5000 years, among cultures around the world. aromatherapy uses essential oils extracted from a range of flowers, seeds, barks, herbs and roots. aromatic essential oils can be used for reducing stress, improving sleep, helping headaches, strengthening the immune system, pain management and dealing with symptoms of depression/anxiety. the combination of different essential oils can create a more powerful effect than that of which the oils would have on their own, so finding pre-blended mixes is an easy introduction to aromatherapy.
my favourite way to reap the benefits of aromatherapy is by using combardis elixirs. as well as having incredible scents, the combardis elixirs all have the loveliest positive affirmations on the back of each different mist. to uplift your mind, body and spirit, combardis suggests spraying the mist gently over the crown of your head while breathing in the scent deeply and repeating the affirmation. i talk about the concept of positive affirmations more later in this post, but the combination of the essential oil benefits and positive affirmations make for a super feel-good daily ritual. i currently rotate between the 'free the spirit', 'abundant life' and 'highest potential' aromatic mists by combardis, spraying them on my pillow at night, yoga mat in the morning and throughout the day whenever i feel in need of a pick-me-up or help refocusing. i often carry one of them with me in my car or purse to use when i'm feeling unbalanced or uncentered. i've mentioned quite a bit that i struggle with anxiety, and i've noticed that using aromatic mists and essential oils can really help.
free the spirit - lemongrass, bergamot, cedar wood, ylang ylang / 'i am free to be me.'
highest potential - sweet orange, lime, geranium, patchouli, ylang ylang, rose otto / 'i am inspired to be the best version of me.'
abundant life - orange, frankincense, patchouli, clove bud, ginger root, myrrh, cinnamon, spruce / 'my grateful heart is a magnet for all that i desire.'
when we breathe deeply, from our stomach rather than shallow chest breaths, we slow down the 'fight or flight' response, which most modern society people live in a constant state of. taking conscious, deep breaths daily slows down the nervous system and lessens tension within the body, as well as giving the body a chance to rest and heal. your body is also designed to release a large percentage of it's toxins through breathing. if you're not breathing deeply, you are therefore not properly ridding your body of those toxins. regular deep breathing is something i really struggle with (#justanxietythings), and am really trying to work at. in most situations i notice a huge, huge difference after taking a few deep breaths when i'm feeling stressed or anxious. i find that reaching for one of the previously mentioned combardis essential oil mists and spraying that then taking 5-10 deep breaths helps me the most.
if you're a creative person and don't regularly carve out time dedicated to your creative practice, you're ignoring your soul's callings and thus making your spirit suffer. therefore, devoting time to your creative practice is an extension upon your spiritual practice. painting, writing, photography - whatever your thing is, for the sake of your spiritual wellbeing and happiness, do that thing as often as you can.
crystals have been used for centuries to heal, by healers and individuals. it is said that having a crystal within your electromagnetic field raises your vibrational level, by refracting and reflecting light into your auric field. crystals are believed to vibrate at the same pitch as humans, which means they can have positive reactions in the mind and body.
crystals can be used during meditation, carried around with you or just sat in spaces you're often found in. you can choose crystals based on chakras, zodiac signs, the meaning or healing properties you desire, by feeling or sensing which you gravitate towards, or just whichever you find prettiest. i usually have a crystal near me most of the time - there's one sitting in my car, in my bag, on my desk, next to my bed and around my wrist. i find it really calming and grounding to hold a crystal in my hand in stressful situations. other than my little piece of rainbow moonstone, i'm yet to find a decent chunk or piece of jewellery with one in it, but moonstone has always been the crystal i have been most drawn to. it's my birth stone, and is a crystal with calming, stress relief, love and goddess energies and qualities.
journalling can act as a tool in one's spiritual practice due to it's ability to cause reflection and exploration. not only does journalling capture moments and thoughts, it also leads to insight and a deeper understanding of yourself, others and situations. exploring thoughts via writing engages with your inner self, that often largely goes unnoticed or ignored. writing and journalling can also act as a form of meditation.
i've always struggled with maintaining a schedule of journalling that i stick to, but i find that when i do take the time to sit down with a pen and notebook, i often leave with either new insight into myself or a situation, or at least a feeling of calmness. the act of daily or weekly journalling is a commitment to self exploration and growth. as a lover of writing, a personal goal of mine is to really make the effort to regularly include journalling into my spiritual practice.
positive affirmations are short, positive statements either thought mentally or expressed verbally to oneself. they are the act of consciously choosing and using a new thought pattern, shifting from negative to positive thoughts in specific situations and in life in general. positive affirmations can help with reprogramming thought patterns, manifesting, achieving a state of gratitude in day-to-day life, focusing on goals, getting rid of negative thoughts and training the subconscious mind. there is nothing productive found in negative thinking. deliberately refining your thought patterns through the use of positive affirmations is empowering and motivating. the simple act of replacing, for example, "i can't do this" with "i can do this" is the first step to achieving goals and an overall more positive mindset. positive affirmations can be an included element of your morning routine, or used when required in situations. some of my personal favourite affirmations to think or repeat to myself are: "the universe supports me and has my back", "everything happens for a reason", "i accept what i cannot change, and strive to work on what i can", "all that i need will come to me at the right time", "i am capable and worthy of unconditional love".
solitude is something i have grown to have a strange love/hate relationship with. being the introvert i am, when it comes to the large majority of social interactions, i would often far prefer to be alone. on the other hand, however, solitude can also often lead to me feeling anxious and overwhelmed, craving quiet, gentle forms of socialising, particularly time spent with my boyfriend. despite these feelings of discomfort, spending time alone is undeniably crucial in both self growth and relationships with others.
when we constantly fill our daily lives with the external, be it social interactions or social media, we often avoid going deeper within ourselves. solitude allows for the time and space for self discovery, reflection and growth. it becomes very difficult to tend to and grow our spiritual self when constantly surrounded by other people. spending time alone also enhances, and is often essential for creativity. to devote time to any of these previously mentioned rituals and create a daily spiritual practice that leads to positive results, solitude is of utmost importance.
i hope this post inspires you in any way that you may need it. if you're feeling down or in a bit of a rut, i strongly suggest taking the time to carve out a daily spiritual practice that suits you. you'll reap the benefits, i promise.
let me know in the comments below how you tend to your spirit/soul or ground yourself when you're feeling scattered or uncentered.