Finding Time for Religion & Spirituality

According to a Pew Research Center study done in 2016, for those that are religious or spiritual, involving connection with a higher power in your daily life can be beneficial for your health and relationships. Nowadays there can be many things that prevent someone from practicing their faith in meaningful ways. A busy lifestyle might prevent someone from making time due to work, school, or social responsibilities. Lastly, many may think that religion or spirituality is a passive action, but the most important part of belief is that it is practiced and not just blindly done. With that in mind, here are some simple ways you can involve your faith more in your everyday life:

• Don’t stress if you miss a day- If you find a time and place of worship that works for you, going every week might make you feel more connected with your faith. However, don’t treat it like a mandatory event that brings you guilt even if you skip a single week. If you can’t make a service that week, take a few moments every day to for reflections. Whether it is reading over a passage that connects with you or moments of silence, take time to focus on your beliefs.

• Donate- If you can’t give up a lot of your time, donate your money instead. Find a worthwhile cause supported by a local community organization, church, synagogue, or temple. Whether it’s a one-time donation or a monthly contribution, giving back to your community is one the primary tenants of all faiths and by donating you can help others do important work.

• Make a scared space at home- Finding somewhere in your home where you can take a few moments to isolate yourself and pray or meditate, will make it much easier to work around your own schedule. A few candles, your prayer book of choice, and a small mat are all you need.

• Taking a day of rest- Whether it’s reducing or completely taking a break from your workload one day a week, this day can be used for inner reflection and reconnecting to your beliefs. Prepare for this beforehand by making meals ahead of time and getting chores done in advance.

• Take care of your body- Imagine your body as your own place of worship and make sure it is working order. You can do this by taking a break from alcohol or drugs for a short time, or just making sure your body gets a proper exercise and diet. Think of your religion or spirituality as a holistic endeavor, you are not just nourishing your mind you are also nourishing your body. Your body and your life is a gift so treat it as such.

• Peer support- Finding others in your community that think as you do is incredibly important for your mental health so creating a peer support group of some kind can be helpful. Depending on the community you live in, the type of group you chose to gather will be different. Your group can comprise of more than just one religion, spirituality or belief system to can discuss and debate important issues. This can lead to a better understanding of both your faith and theirs. Or, if your opinions are a minority within your faith, finding others who think similarly can help make you feel more contented with your ideas. Regardless of the makeup of your group, it is important that you feel that you can comfortably discuss a range of topics with them. This step is helpful specifically if it is difficult to practice your beliefs within your community

Finding a safe space to practice your faith is key to enjoying and exploring it. Religion and spirituality should not be anything else besides your own personal connection to a higher power. These tips can be beneficial for those who have trouble finding the time to practice their faith.

Monica Manuel
Anxiety Disorders and Management

Differentiating between anxiousness and an anxiety disorder may be challenging. Learning how to recognize and manage key contributors of anxiety may be even harder. Let’s dive deeper into the difference, contributors and management of anxiety.

The difference: When you are constantly anxious, or your anxiety interferes with your day-to-day life is a direct indicator that you may be experiencing an anxiety disorder as opposed to common anxiousness. Psychologists define an anxiety disorder as a mental health disorder characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one's daily activities.

The contributors: Many things can cause anxiety such as stress, genetics, medical conditions and substance withdrawal. Stress from a relationship, job, school, or financial predicament can contribute greatly to an anxiety disorder. Genetics also plays a role in anxiety. People who have family members with an anxiety disorder are more likely to have one themselves. Other medical conditions can lead to an anxiety disorder, such as the side effects of medication, symptoms of a disease, or stress from a serious underlying medical condition. Chemicals in drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, hallucinogens, prescription anti-seizure, pain-relieving medications, alcohol and even substances as common as caffeine can affect the way the brain functions and cause anxiety symptoms. These symptoms can occur while using drugs, but they may also last for weeks after the drug use has stopped. The stress of day-to-day living combined with any of the above might serve as key contributors to an anxiety disorder.

The management: Anxiety can be managed through self-care, therapies, medications, and specialties. Self-care such as avoiding alcohol, reducing caffeine intake, physical exercise, stress management, quitting smoking, relaxation techniques, and a healthy diet can reduce anxiety greatly. Therapy offices for example, Joie de Vivre, can equip you with the necessary tools to help manage your anxiety. Lastly, medications and specialties can also be very useful if further assistance than self-care and therapy is needed.

Monica Manuel