Anxiety and Faith/Spirituality, What's the Connection? + 6 Tips
Can your anxiety, depression or low self esteem impact your connection to your faith/spirituality? Yes it can.
Emotional Wellness & Spiritual Health - The Connection.
Both, living with solid emotional health practices and faith/spiritual practices improve your overall wellbeing, as well as reduce levels of anxiety.
When you have a strong sense of faith and continuously foster a deep, spiritually focused life, you’re figuratively injecting “meaning making”.
It is comparable to an evolving soul clarifying process.
It’s important to remember that faith is something that grows with us, our values shift, deepen and develop over life. Spiritual practices and guiding values are often guided towards helping you acquire inner peace. Anchoring in something larger, something above the here-and-now and staying connected to deeper levels of living opens the door for a more impactful living experience.
How do spirituality and faith help your anxiety?
Since confusion is often at the underpinnings of anxiety, clarity offers relief. Research studies prove that having a sense of meaning, guiding principles and spiritual practices provide direction, meaning and significantly reduce levels of anxiety.
In a world that is filled with so much, there is often little that satisfies.
Though we have easier access to information, people and physical “things” , there is an even greater hunger and thirst for meaning and direction.
In a world of chaos and confusion, clarity and wisdom are our guiding lights.
Finding, cultivating and personalizing your sense of meaning, and identifying with a set of (spiritual) guiding beliefs can help strengthen your values and build a solid voice of reason. This isn’t to say that there’s an answer rumbling from the sky when faced with confusion, but faith and ingrained beliefs provide an ability to hold distress with a bit more trust.
When Your Anxiety Comes In The Way of Your Growth.
What if your anxiety, moodiness and negative self beliefs bring intellectual and spiritual pursuits to a strong halt?
When struggling with mental health, the concept of connection to faith or something spiritual may feel completely out of reach. If…
You’re been struggling with anxiety, depression or tough moods that make spirituality or any form of faith a faraway concept.
You may have been taught that spirituality is something thats’s sacred and only for the “holy”and you’re feeling unholy or unrefined right now.
You might be feeling irritable and frustrated and can’t possibly drop into a “mindful” frame of mind necessary to invite deeper thoughts, feelings and experiences.
You may be thinking you’re not “worthy” of god’s blessings, of your higher power to hear you out or for clarity on your hopes and pain.
You may be thinking that your issues or dreams are far less important than others who have bigger, or more important aspirations or struggles.
Feeling anxious, irritable or unimportant are all blockages to feeling connected to anything outside of your mind. When stuck , it’s hard to feel inspired, motivated, capable of being present or to even inviting blessings into your life.
6 Tips to to increase meaning + reduce anxiety
Take a look in the mirror and see who you are. Before setting goals, remember that this is a personalized experience. If you’re trying to replicate someone else’s learning style, spiritual practices or personalized connection with faith, you may get frustrated.
Especially if you have some anxiety, worries or you have a hard time focusing, comparing yourself may set you up for failure.
You are not your mentor, your rabbi, your priest, the yoga instructor, the mindfulness maven or even your best friend. You can channel them or use them as your guide, but remember that you are your own person and your job is to create what is right for you. Know where to start, who you are and allow whatever practice you engage in to be personalized; to become yours. Not someone else’s. That’s to make this special.
2. First, Mental Relaxation
In order to dip into the higher, insightful parts of your brain, your body needs to feel calm and relaxed. Prioritize mental relaxation before taking the “deep dive” so that you can fully embody and experience what you’re reaching for.
Consistency and stability provide soothing effects on the anxious mind. Repeat what feels right and brings ease. Find the things(s) that resonate for you, and make it a daily practice. Practice becomes habit and is one of the best ways to solidify something important. Get to know what you’re good at. Is it an early morning prayer, a 10 minute mindfulness meditation before bedtime, a mid-day break to deep breath, or a daily/weekly social gathering where you learn together to inspire and elevate one another.
4. Get Real
Get real and honest with yourself about what may be getting in the way. Is it anxiety? Are there worries swarming your mind + body that you can’t simply settle down? Are you in a slump and hoping that some mystery prayer will change your deeper seated issues? Prayer, meditation and spiritual practices do offer perks to your mental health, however when the issues are deeper seated, you may be needing more intensive interventions such as psychotherapy.
5. Remove the Boxing Gloves
Offer compassion, and disarm beliefs that block you from adding a sense of meaning, such as:
I’m worthless, I don’t matter, I feel like a failure, God must hate me, I feel so alone, I’m so misunderstood
6.Find Your “Grey” Zone
Find your “grey zone” of integrating meaning in your life. There is no black/white or “right” or “wrong” way when seeking to deepen and enrich your living experience on this world. Start slow and see what feels right as you try things on. If you’re seeking involvement in a volunteer organization, sign up and try that out. Seeking communal support? Reach out to someone in a mentoring role, leadership position or attend a local event. If you’re wanting to develop your meditating or praying skills,
Deepening your life experience isn’t meant to be painful.
If any of this feels too hard, it may be time for therapy and outside support. Sometimes, people turn to spiritual practices or faith to treat a mental health condition. If you’ve been trying to use faith or spirituality for a while and you have worries, fears, heaviness or panic that won’t budge, it may be time for counseling.
The good news? Resolving the anxiety and emotional weights will allow you deepen your spiritual practice from a richer, more balanced place.
If something about this article resonates, feel free to reach out. Living in Long Island are are seeking to begin therapy so you can deepen your sense of meaning and life experience? Ready to let go of the anxiety? Reach out there, I’d love to help with this!