1. Keep a Journal
From the early Egyptians and the Greeks to modern day diarists like Anne Frank, Virginia Wolf, Henry David Thoreau, and Frieda Kahlo, journaling has long been a way for people to record and reflect on their experiences. The American Psychological Association reports that some kinds of journaling can boost health. For a low-cost way to de-stress, grab a notebook and a pen and try Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages practice.
2. Be of Service at Work
Imagine that instead of being an employee or a boss, you are a student majoring in compassionate service. As spiritual teacher Ram Dass said, “It’s not the role, it’s the soul!” There are many practices to help you frame your work in this way, including Karma Yoga. You can also serve best by engaging with what moves you most and learning to be an effective game changer.
3. Don’t Overdo
Life is full of opportunities—from buffet lines to social events to new shows on Netflix. It can be tempting to indulge, but what is often best, in the long run, is being selective. Participate in only that which nourishes you and gives you the energy and strength to do what you’re called to do. Learn how to generate willpower when you need it so you can say yes to yourself by saying no to what’s not so good for you.
4. Choose a Practice and Honor It
Sticking with a practice isn’t glamorous work, but when you show up for yourself, day after day, it pays off. Whether you choose yoga, prayer, art, meditation, or running doesn't matter—whatever it is, keeping your commitment will help you stay centered and grounded. Not sure where to start? Try one of these six practices.
5. Find Your People
We are social creatures, heavily influenced by those around us. Look to spend time with people who model how you most want to be in the world. Volunteer somewhere with likeminded people. Join a church, a club, or a movement. Community is a key part of feeling supported and grounded.
6. Treat Your Body Well
Don’t forget you have a body! Nurture it with healthy practices by getting enough rest and sleep (these are two different things!), knowing when to engage or disengage in activity, moving regularly, and eating well. If this sounds like the basic advice your grandmother might have given you, it is! For all our gadgets, at the end of the day it’s up to us to take care of the most sophisticated bit of technology we have—our body.
Getting to know yourself means learning to recognize when an activity, pattern, habit, substance, or even conversation is harmful and saying, “No,” to it. While it can be hard to break these habits after a lifetime of them, mindfulness and self-care practices can help you stand up for and take care of yourself when temptation arises.
8. We’re All in This Together
When we feel isolated and alone it’s easy to act out against others and ourselves. But as the sages have said and as science is now suggesting, we are all connected. To reconnect when you can’t seem to connect, try this 5-minute qigong routine for loneliness or one of these three practices to connect with nature.
9. Give Others the Benefit of the Doubt
Behind every decision someone makes was a thought process that led them there. Whether you agree with a decision or not is less important than taking the time to understand how someone might come to that decision. There are always factors you don’t know about, and when you take the time to get more information (instead of making assumptions, getting angry, or gossiping about someone), you don’t waste your energy or hurt anyone else.
10. Stay True to Your Intentions and Goals
When you accept a job or enter into a work or personal relationship, you make a commitment to it. As time goes by, it can be helpful to check to see if you’re staying on course. If you are struggling, ask for help. If you need a slight course correction, make whatever adjustments you can so you stay in your own integrity and don’t lose connection with what’s in your heart.
© 2018 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies