Practices for spiritual wellness

What is a spiritual practice?

A spiritual practice is an activity that turns our attention towards having an encounter with the Divine. They are practices geared towards making us aware of God's loving presence. Practices include prayer, meditation, worship, reading and service to others.

Spiritual practices keep us centered and mindful that there is a world beyond our own inner voices and feelings. Regular use of spiritual practices has been linked to better health through less hypertension, more positive feelings, reduction of symptoms of depression and greater psychological well-being. Many practitioners report spiritual practices provide a healthy means for handling stress.

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What are popular spiritual practices

Meditation

In the Christian tradition, meditation is time devoted to mindful reflection. There are a number of ways to engage in meditation. Sometimes we may consider our personal responses to specific questions--like these listed in the Ignatian Examen. Or we may simply try to quiet our minds and wait for God to speak--like in this Centering Prayer. The simplest way to engage in meditation is to read a short piece of scripture (like 1 John 4:13) and consider its meaning. What might God be saying to you through this verse.

Reading

Some of our practices may overlap, as some reading can also be meditation. A way to deepen our engagement with scripture in a contemplative way is through a practice called Lectio Divina. Many people make reading the Bible part of their daily routine--diving into a "morning quiet time" or a making it a bed time ritual. In these cases, it is helpful to utilize a Bible reading plan. Sources outside the Bible challenge us to grow in faith, too. This book list for spiritual questions digs into some tough questions of faith.

Service

You know the rush you feel when doing something genuinely nice? There's something spiritual about that. Doing good things for others deepens our connection to the people around us and, therefore, to the Divine, as well. The opportunity to serve someone is all around you. But if you'd like to get specific, we have suggestions for serving those in marginalized communities and who are at risk for hunger.

What practices do we recommend?