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  • Melanie Ann Philp



* Research shows that finding moments of joy during troubled times can build our resilience. * We can experience joy in practices such as connecting with nature, meditating, reaching out to others, and appreciating beauty. * Over time, these practices can build our vitality, hope, and resilience.

Like a daily vitamins and topical lotion that increases our vitality, joy needs to be applied daily . Research shows how revitalising practices can energise and inspire us, building our capacity for hope. As you review this list, think of three “spiritual vitamins” you can add to your life.

1. Connecting with Nature Research reveals how connecting with nature can improve our health, raising our mood, creativity, and overall vitality. You can connect with nature in many ways, from walking outside where there are green spaces, wild water dipping, getting in the garden, or with limited space getting creative with placing a bird feeder outside your window, or growing herbs indoors on a sunny window sill.

2. Exercising Research shows that exercise can help relieve depression and anxiety. We need movement in our lives. Sedentary behaviour, sitting for hours at computers, in cars, or on couches, can actually be devestating for our health. Recomended- (Tony Riddle Sedentary Lifestyle) How much do you move each day? Have you become more sedentary, due to how you work, health reasons? To get back on track, choose a movement you enjoy. ( I don’t use the word exercise as I believe this can be part but not the be all of moment for us as individulas) Make a commitment to yourself to connect with your body with movement in any way you can. Start slowly, then increase your movement as you build up stamina.

As the Tao Te Ching says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

3. Connecting with Others As a Therapist I see how loneliness and depression have increased for a multitude of reasons in modern society the Covid pandemic demonstrated this well. To flourish, we need a circle of support that includes not only family and friends but moments of connectivity. A smile, eye contact, perhaps a kind word with anyone we encounter each day, from our neighbours to the shop assisiteant, benefits both people, relieving stress and promoting greater physical and emotional well-being. What steps can you take to build your own circle of support?

4. Meditating Mediaitation can improve our emotional, mental, and physical well-being, enabling us to live more creatively. There are many forms of meditation, from Mindfulness (Jon Kabut Zing) self hypnosis (Michael Sealey I can recomend) to visualisation, walking meditation, and more. If you haven’t developed your own meditative practice, you can begin by setting aside a few moments at the beginning or end of the day. Close your eyes, breathe slowly and deeply, watching your thoughts flow through your mind without judging them. Feel your body relax and the fast pace of your life slow down as you return to a more centred state. Or try YOUTUBE, there is so much to choose from.

5. Appreciating Beauty Appreciation of beauty and excellence are character strengths common to humankind. Throughout history, people have been inspired by the beauty of music, painting, sculpture, and the performing arts. Research has shown how experiencing beauty can bring us joy, a transcendent sense of connection with a larger reality that increases our well-being You can experience this for yourself by listening to your favourite music, visiting an art gallery, or attending a concert, dance, or theatre performance, just go outside or look out of the window at the sky. For me I am blessed with living in a beautiful place in the world where natures beauty is in abundance, in its sky with tapestry of colours and textures at sunrise and sunset, sculptures in rock formation and trees, orchestras of bird song and the music of water and wind in flow.

6. Creating Beauty Whether it’s painting, dancing, or playing a musical instrument, a creative practice can reawaken the spirit of play we enjoyed as children. It can put us in a flow state where we become one with the process, expanding our awareness and capabilities. It can bring us hope. To follow your own creative practice, you can get back in touch with what you loved to do as a child. Take out that old guitar, sign up for an art or dance class, make time for a favourite hobby, go outside and jump in a puddle, put your toes in the waves. IF THIS WAS YOUR FIST DAY ON EARTH< WHAT WOULD YOU FIND AMAZING ?

7. Setting a Meaningful Goal GOALS bring our lives purpose, direction, and meaning. By writing down your goals and visualising steps to achieve them, you can experience significant goal progress and a greater hope. To try this practice for yourself, write down a goal you want to achieve in the next six months, three steps to achieve it, an obstacle that could occur for each step, and an alternate step to overcome each obstacle. Finally, close your eyes and visualise yourself taking each step, overcoming each obstacle, and achieving your goal. How do you feel? Track this in your body if you can. As you open your eyes, keep that vision in mind and hold on to that feeling in your body, don’t let it go as you take your first step.

8. Practicing Gratitude A simple gratitude practice can make a positive difference in our mental health and well-being. To try this wonderful practice for yourself, at the begining and end of each day, think of three things you’re grateful for and write them down, these can be repeated or new ones each time.Notice how you feel as you reflect on the gifts that each day brings and again track this in your body, name the emotion if you can and let this ripple through you as you go about your day or fall asleep.

Now it’s your turn. Choose three spiritual vitamins to sprinkle those joys through your days. Over time, these practices can bring you greater joy and vitality, and shine with that special kind of beauty that cosmetics don’t bring.

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