There are times when we all feel a bit lost and wonder where we took a wrong turn. Times when it seems as though nothing good will ever again come our way, or that the bad stuff just won’t stop popping up.
When things start to feel overwhelming, it might start to look as though nothing is in your control. A feeling of powerlessness can take over and grab hold if you’re not careful. Rather than waiting to get to the point where you start to feel stuck, it’s important to start adopting healthy habits NOW to help you nourish your soul, mind, and body.
Not only can it help you out of the hard situations, nourishing your soul daily will help you make every day a bit easier for yourself.
Here are my top 10 favorite ways to nourish your soul:
1. Do a Healthy Purge
Taking some time to let go emotionally, spiritually, and physically to anything that no longer holds value to you is a great way to nourish your soul. What you’ll be left with are the people and things that make you feel the happiest, loved, and supported.
To begin, here are some areas where it might be helpful to clear out some of the clutter:
- Clothing that doesn’t fit or you haven’t worn in over a year
- Acquaintances or friends who aren’t supportive, kind, or loving towards you
- Food, drugs, or alcohol that is getting in the way of your happy, healthy life
- Papers and information you aren’t going to need and are just gathering dust
2. Just Breathe
This is an action we take whether we think about it or not. But in this situation, I’m referring to consciously breathing as a way to reap a plethora of physical and emotional benefits.
Breathing releases toxins, increases muscle and strengthens your immune system. Consciously breathing also helps you focus, feel less stressed, and relaxes your muscles. However, there is an art form to breathing properly so you get the maximum benefits:
- Inhale in through your nose and out through your mouth
- Allow your belly to expand
- Hold your breath for at least three seconds before exhaling
- Repeat as often as necessary
The more you consciously breathe deep, the better you will feel.
3. Spend Time in Nature
Trees, flowers, grass, wildlife, and sunshine all help you to automatically relax, de-stress, and feel nourished right down to your soul. Nature also tends to look and smell amazing. What’s great is you can find some form of nature no matter where you are (even keeping a plant in your house will help!).
Plus, there’s a way for everyone to reap its benefits no matter what their situation is:
- Sunbathing: Whether you enjoy the sun in your backyard, through your bedroom window, or at the beach, the act of sunbathing can help relax you and allow your troubles to melt away. Even 5-20 minutes of getting sunlight every day can help you feel better. It boosts your vitamin levels as well.
- Gardening: Some people love the feel of digging in the dirt and being one with nature. Plant a garden or start by keeping a plant for your home. You’ll immediately start to feel less stressed when you look at it.
- Outdoor Sports: Go hiking, swimming, skiing, canoeing, horseback riding, play soccer, do tai chi, or take a walk. Whatever you do, do it outside and reap the benefits of nature.
- Wildlife Watching: Whether it’s birds, deer or butterflies, watching nature in action is a really great way to unwind and relax.
4. Eat Real Food
Do you know what’s actually in processed foods? Can you pronounce half of it? REAL food gives you energy AND helps keep you healthy.
Eating more fruits and vegetables in your life will never, ever make you feel worse about yourself – but continuing to eat processed foods will. It will also probably make it harder for you to lose weight and can end up costing you A LOT more in doctor’s bills.
If you really want to nourish your soul, you have to nourish your body with real food as well:
- Eat fruits and vegetables
- Avoid sugar (except the sugar found in fruit)
- Drink more water – it flushes out toxins, hydrates you, and helps you feel fuller, longer
5. Exercise Regularly
Nourishing your soul is about including activities that engage the mind AND body. Exercise is a great way of enjoying all these at the same time. The great part about exercise is that there is an activity available for someone at literally every level of fitness and capability.
For those with little energy or who have difficulty with certain movements, exercises like stretching, tai chi, or chair aerobics can be highly beneficial. Meanwhile, those with a lot of energy to burn may find running or basketball to be more suited for them.
The fact still remains that the more often and regularly you exercise your body, the better your mind and soul will feel. Keep in mind:
- Don’t go overboard: Start out slow and build up
- A little goes a long way – you don’t have to dedicate an hour each day – even 15 minutes of daily exercise will increase your energy and happiness levels
- Find something you truly enjoy doing and it will help you stick to your goals
- Find a friend or hire a coach if you need additional support
6. Spend Time with People who Make you Happy and Support you
Friends and relatives are great, as are meet-ups and support groups. Ask someone you enjoy being with to watch a funny movie with you, go for a walk, or just talk on the phone. These simple steps can go a long way toward feeling happier.
Often, we just want to feel as though we are being heard and that we are loved, no matter what. So hang on to those people in your life who can do that for you. They are worth their weight in gold and will always help you remember why you’re such an amazing person. If that doesn’t nourish your soul, I don’t know what will.
- Stay away from people who don’t support you
- Make sure to be with people who make you feel safe, rather than judged
- Try a support group if you don’t feel you have people to rely on for support
- Adopt a pet. While humans may be flawed, a pet will never judge you and can be a great resource for fun, love, and companionship
Being in the moment is a central theme that has been resonating in this article. It’s because the present is really all we have. When we take a few moments to just be still, to listen to our own thoughts, or even just become as thoughtless as possible, it helps.
There is a stillness that comes over your body, mind, and spirit that allows you to just let everything go. Even a moment of meditation can have huge benefits. The longer you meditate and the more often you do it, the better, more relaxed, more present you will feel.
- Focus on your breath, not your thoughts
- Allow your thoughts to come and then allow them to leave just as easily and return to focusing on the breath
- Find a comfortable position. If you are sitting, make sure your back is straight
- Find a safe, quiet space to meditate in to ensure you are able to focus and relax. It can be anywhere, including outside.
8. Read Inspirational Books, Watch a Happy or Inspirational Movie
Think back to when you were a child going to bed at night. You were tucked in and read a nighttime story before falling sound asleep. The reason you probably fell asleep so quickly is that you felt safe and relaxed. That can still happen.
Watching movies or reading books will serve to get you out of your own head and into a great adventure or inspirational tale starring someone else. Reading or watching someone else experiencing trials and tribulations – even if they are fictional – can help motivate anyone who feels stuck or down on their luck.
- Choose something with a positive message to help you stay positive yourself
- Do not push yourself to finish a book or movie you aren’t enjoying. Instead, find another book or movie that might resonate with you more
- Laughing is a great way to release stress and feel happier so try a comedy
- Try to avoid movies with a lot of violence in them. Your brain thinks it’s watching it for real and you’ll find yourself feeling even more stressed.
9. Write Down Your Thoughts, Worries and Prayers
Writing down your feelings is a great way to nourish your soul! It’s like free therapy and it can last as long as you can stand to write. Pouring out your feelings, wishes, hopes and dreams on paper can make them seem more real.
It may also help you plan out how to achieve them. Meanwhile, getting your feelings out onto paper can help you let go of or sort out a nasty, frustrating situation.
- Keep a journal near where you tend to want to write the most so it’s nearby when you feel inspired
- Write every single day or as often as possible
- Write for a specific amount of time such as 10 minutes just for creative purposes and see what comes out
- Keep a journal near your bed and write down your dreams as soon as you wake up in the morning, as they often can be very revealing about issues you’re working out
Giving back to others is a great way to nourish your soul. What’s also great is that there are so many ways you can give back, whether it’s with your time, your energy, or your money.
There are also thousands of charities to choose from. If you don’t like any of them, you can always start your own.
- Find a charity that is well organized
- Find one that works with your schedule – do not over-commit and then not show up
- Choose a charity where your skills will be best utilized
- Choose one that focuses on issues you care about
To be happy and healthy, never forget to nourish your soul in the process. It might sound pretty simple, but it’s an essential task to remain balanced in life. You can try the suggestions above, OR think of your own ways.