In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to feel like you have no time left over to invest in yourself. But your mind and soul are worth investing in, not least because they’re the filters through which you experience every moment of your life. If you don’t invest in strengthening your mind and soul now, you will pay for that later with stress and negative effects on your physical health. When we neglect investing in strengthening our minds and souls, the consequences can be serious and long-lasting. Stress from juggling multiple responsibilities can lead to insomnia, weight gain, headaches, and high blood pressure. Neglecting our mental health can make us more susceptible to anxiety, depression, or other mental illness down the road. And if we don’t strengthen our soul through things like meditation or reading uplifting books, it becomes easier to fall into sins like envy or gluttony that harm us in the long run. Here are five ways to strengthen your mind and soul so that you can enjoy a happier and healthier life both now and for years to come:
If you’ve never meditated before, it’s important to note that expectations are key. Many people try to meditate and find themselves frustrated because they expect it to be a magical experience. But if you approach it with the right mindset, it’s a powerful way to engage in self-reflection and strengthen your mind. When you meditate, you’re letting go of external distractions and inviting your mind to focus inward. This can be a powerful way to discover patterns in your thoughts that you may not otherwise notice, such as feelings of anxiety or anger that may be bubbling beneath the surface. Meditation can also help you reinforce positive thoughts, such as self-love, gratitude, or compassion. The more you meditate, the more you reinforce these positive thoughts, making them part of your daily experience in a way they never were before.
While it’s often thought of as a physical activity, regular exercise is a powerful tool for strengthening your mind, too. Several studies have linked physical activity with a lower risk of depression, anxiety, and stress. It’s also been shown to help improve mood and promote better sleep, which can be helpful for people who experience insomnia. Physical activity is also linked with higher levels of mood-boosting brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, which can help you stay motivated and focused, even when you’re tired or stressed. The type of exercise you choose is less important than the fact that you’re getting regular physical activity. If you’re just starting a new exercise program, be sure to gradually increase your time and intensity to prevent injury. If you’re already working out regularly, try to fit in a couple of workouts each week that are more focused on your mental health, like yoga, tai chi, or walking with a friend.
Read uplifting books
Your soul isn’t just fed through meditation or exercise. It’s also strengthened through the types of books you read. This can help you avoid some of the feelings that lead to sin, like envy (that you’re not where you want to be, or that others are more successful than you are), or gluttony (that you want more than you need). When you read, you transport yourself into another world, where the problems of the here and now don’t exist. This can be a great way to forget about the stresses and worries in your own life for a few hours and can even help you come up with solutions you wouldn’t have found otherwise. Most importantly, the books you choose to read can help you grow and develop as a person. One study found that reading fiction can increase empathy, which means you’ll be more likely to feel compassion for others and less likely to feel envy. They can also help you learn valuable life skills, like how to navigate interpersonal relationships or deal with challenging situations.
Eat well and get enough sleep
Healthy eating and sleeping well are two simple but important ways to strengthen your mind and soul. Eating a healthy diet can help you regulate stress and strengthen your mental health, while getting enough sleep can help your body and mind repair and re-energize themselves. When you’re eating well, you’re able to avoid the peaks and valleys of glucose in your bloodstream that can lead to extreme highs and lows in your mood. This helps you stay calm and grounded, which is important for strengthening your mind and avoiding sin, since both are often linked to spikes in your emotions.
Have small moments of self-care throughout your day
Even though you should be making time to strengthen your mind and soul, it’s important not to neglect the present moment, either. When you’re always thinking about the future (like what you have to do next) or the past (what happened that you wish hadn’t), you’re not fully experiencing each moment as it happens. And when you’re not present, you’re more likely to make poor decisions, feel stressed, and experience feelings of envy, gluttony, and other sins. So even if you only have a few minutes each day, you should make an effort to spend that time doing self-care activities that help you stay present, like taking a walk outside, sitting quietly with your eyes closed, or meditating.
Your mind and soul need regular attention, just like your body needs exercise and healthy eating. When you work to strengthen your mind and soul, you can enjoy a richer and more fulfilling life, free from unnecessary stress and worry. You can also reduce your risk of developing mental illness and experiencing negative effects on your physical health. When you strengthen your mind and soul, it’s like planting seeds that will grow and blossom over time. You won’t see immediate results, but they will be well worth the investment in the long run. When you make regular time to meditate, exercise, read uplifting books, eat well, and sleep well, you’ll be cultivating a rich mental and emotional life that will strengthen you both now and in the future.