A study conducted in 2013 examined the possibility of measuring spirituality by self-measurement. The study found a way to measure and visualize what many in the spiritual community have been saying for years; effectively that spirituality can reduce stress and create feelings of connectedness. [Sources: 3, 14]
In summary, the results show that a high level of spirituality or religious beliefs are associated with lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression. It’s an interesting idea. We aren’t saying you are more religious because you go to church more than anyone else or pray more than your neighbours. And conversely you aren’t ‘more spiritual’ by conducting a gratitude practice or meditating regularly.
But, these actions, help to make you feel more connected and help to improve your overall wellbeing. So yes, you can measure your spirituality or religious connection by how good you feel.
And what a simple concept. Simply by tapping into how good we are feeling, is a sign of how truly connected we are to source, God, the universe whatever you may wish to call it.
When people have health or mental health problems, spirituality and religious practice can be used as a fantastic form of coping. Secondly, it can shape the coping process, i.e. using prayer to overcome the challenges associated with health and psychological problems. [Sources: 6]
Spirituality and religiosity are also components of people’s psychological well-being. By showing that the application of these spiritual principles is both practical and measurable, acceptance and spirituality can be promoted even in their own spiritual development, not only in terms of health, but also in the development of one’s own mental health. [Sources: 5, 6, 13]
The willingness to let go and allow what ever is meant to be, be – is a great way to measure spiritual growth, as well as a measure of one’s own sanity and well-being.
And on the flip side. There is some thing to be said about the coping mechanisms we turn to when something painful or something that causes suffering to occur in our lives.
One of my favorite Tony Robbins quotes is ‘what if this is happening for me and not to me?
That shift from a victim mindset to a more empowered guided mindset has helped me personally transform my own way of thinking.
By turning those thoughts from helplessness into guided action from the lesson you are learning. You take back so much power from whatever those distressing events may be.
Believing that you are guided by a higher power, is incredibly powerful at shifting your mindset and leading to a happier and healthier life.
At this point, it seems to me that the best thing we can do is to describe the different ways in which people experience their spirituality and exercise their spiritual or religious beliefs.
In meditation for example, we experience deep inner peace and harmony, and a feeling of selflessness. That’s a feeling generated by a practice that helps to bring us closer to source.
But constantly meditating, and ignoring the world around you is not a sign of spiritual growth, it’s a sign of neglect.
The drowning man
I love the joke about the drowning man and God.
There was a man living in a house by a river which began to flood. There were warnings to evacuate as the waters were expected to continue to rise. A large car drove past the man’s house and the driver said:
‘You need to evacuate, get in the car and we will take you to safety.’
To which the man refused saying that God would save him. The car leaves and the water continues to rise.
The man has to go to the second floor of his house as the water rises. Then a boat comes past and the captain says.
‘You need to evacuate, get in the boat and we will take you to safety.’
To which the man refused saying that God would save him. The boat leaves and the water continues to rise.
The water rises so high, the man has to climb onto the roof of his house. Then a helicopter comes by, drops a rope and the pilot calls out on the tannoy.
‘You need to evacuate, get in the helicopter and we will take you to safety.’
To which the man refused saying that God would save him. The helicopter pilot reluctantly leaves and the water continues to rise.
The man drowns. And as he goes heaven, he gets to speak to God.
‘What happened? I had faith that you would save me from the flood.’ He says
To which God replies. “What are you talking about? I sent you a car, I sent you a boat and I sent you a helicopter.”
The point of the joke, is that true belief whether that’s religious or spiritual sees God or source in all things good and bad. It is our practice, that helps us to identify these lessons and how to improve from them. This in itself, this constant improvement in ourselves is in fact a measure of spiritual or religious growth.
And living your life with the belief that you are guided, that you are protected. That everything that happens can be a lesson that you grow from, in turn helps you to grow as a person and a soul.
I invite you to share your thoughts on how spirituality can be measured and how we can deepen and strengthen our relationship with source.
Success is a very important part of life, but is there any evidence that happiness is more important than success.
Happiness is such a priceless feeling and there are neuroscientific and psychological studies that show that it leads to better health, better mental health, and greater well-being.
There is also strong evidence that happiness correlates with, and often precedes, career success, and that positive emotions lead to better outcomes in the workplace. And subsequently there is strong evidence that happiness is more than important to success. Sources: 15, 16, 20
The biggest correlation between business success and happiness is that money can’t buy happiness. If you build your business focusing on the things that make you happy, then you inevitably become successful. But that’s something many people struggle to believe in. Why? Often because as entrepreneurs we are often in the thick our work and oftentimes not able to see the wood for the trees.
In these situations, it’s always best to take a step back and have someone else take a look at what it is you need to be doing with your business to create the balance between doing something that brings happiness and success.
If you work hard, you will become successful. But will that be enough to make you happy?
The pursuit of happiness may be a daily task, but if we celebrate our small wins each day then the happiness seems to grow naturally.
In other words, happiness is crucial to a healthy and successful life.
But what’s important here is to understand what happiness is to you. To do this one process is to write down your own definitions of what happiness and success mean to you. That level of clarity gained from this exercise can help you identify true happiness and success. As an example, if you say that success is completing your tasks for the day then you’re more likely to be successful each day as opposed to not being clear and having some vague idea that success is related to the dollar amount in your bank account!
If you want more happiness and success in your life, it really helps to surround yourself with people who are happy and successful. Building strong relationships gives you the opportunity to find a higher level of success and happiness in life.
You will feel happier and prove that happiness is not something you have to wait for before you succeed, but that you can feel happy now by proving it to yourself. And seeing others happy and successful does something wonderful to the brain, it gives you the desire to achieve the same.
When you look at happy people, they will tell you how easy it is, that you don’t need anything to actually get happiness from it.
The field of positive psychology contains a lot of research into how our behaviour affects our happiness and how it affects success and happiness and is definitely worth checking out.
One interesting point to note is that after reviewing 225 studies, it has even been shown in some cases that success does not produce happiness in the way we might think, and that it is indeed happiness that leads to success.
Success is like a vision and without happiness there is no sense of purpose in it. It is important to remember that happiness is the most important thing in this equation, because that is what our ultimate vision is about.
When I started to meditate it took me a while to figure out which form of meditation works best for me. But what’s really important when starting meditation for the first time is to try and find a meditation practice that feels comfortable and is doable for you.
The easiest type of meditation to follow is a guided meditation. That literally means when a teacher talks you through the process and you simply listen to the sound of their voice as they ‘guide‘ you through the practice. There are many different types of guided practices available as a starter for 10.
One of my favorites is a lovely ‘Breathing‘ meditation I have that simply focuses on breathing in and out in a relaxed state. But the possibilities are endless.
Perhaps the most important thing to do is ensure you are in a comfortable place. Ideally in a space where you will not be disturbed during your practice.
New meditators will often fidget whilst trying to sit still and spend so much time in their heads that the slightest distraction can throw them off course. So a nice quiet place, certainly in the beginning is absolutely crucial.
Next you need to sit or lie down to practice. Let’s not beat around the bush here, if you’ve never meditated before the first time is going to be tricky.
You will probably ask yourself whether you’re doing it right, what you should be feeling, whether you are meditating or just sitting still. Whatever goes through your mind, just allow it to pass.
Witness the thoughts like clouds drifting across the sky. Just let them go and don’t beat yourself up about how well you are doing. Trust me this gets so much easier in time.
The purpose of meditation is not to punish oneself for not being perfect!
Rather, it is about training us to become aware of the sensations that permeate us, such as the sound of breathing, our heartbeat and the movements of our body.
Learning to meditate requires repetition and patience, not only for beginners but for all of us. But in all honesty it simply takes practice, practice, more practice – and a lot of practice. I joke it’s called ‘a practice’ for a reason. Because that’s what we have to do each day. But the benefits are phenomenal.
Meditation touches a large part of our thinking and is generally something we do regularly, with time allocated to this practice ideally daily. You can read more about the benefits of meditation to improve sleep and reduce stress in my meditation guide here.
Think of it as a form of training and learn to focus your attention back on the present, which helps you develop a stronger sense of concentration, calm and awareness in your everyday life.
An alternative meditation which is another simple practice is a focus meditation.
Simply start by sitting still, sitting with your eyes fixed on the point of your eyebrows, and let your thoughts and sensations rise and fall while you sit still and feel them. You can do this for just a moment or longer it’s entirely up to you.
When you start meditating, start with a few minutes and then ideally build up to about 10 minutes a day.
Meditation is a great way to feel calm and happy and to improve the overall health of the brain and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.
Meditation is so powerful. It has truly been a life changer for me. It’s helped me deal with stress, anxiety, depression and burnout. It’s why I now teach meditation worldwide and have over 50,000 downloads! If you’re a beginner to meditation, I would suggest grabbing my ‘Just Breath’ meditation which guides you fully through the practice. You need nothing fancy, no white clothes, mountain tops or candles. Just you, your mobile device and a comfy seat.
I look forward to connecting with you in your practice.
Truly knowing the difference between burnout and depression is the first step towards finding the right solution for whatever hole you may be in right now.
Whilst the extreme end of burnout can be associated with physical and mental disorders, which can often be very difficult to recover from. The real priority is to treat burnout as something that can accompany a mental health condition. That said burnout is not necessarily a mental illness such as anxiety and depression.
In fact, experts believe that illnesses such as depression and anxiety are what actually lead to burnout, and that it is important to address your symptoms sooner rather than later. For business owners who are overworked and emotionally exhausted, their symptoms can jeopardize their work if they over compensate and work through mental illness, and manifest in the form of something such as depression.
So if burnout and depression can look clinically the same, why is depression so often in a category of it’s own? How can we know if we are suffering directly from depression or becoming depressed. And how can we tell if we are actually suffering from burnout?
If the difference between stress and burnout is the degree to which you show symptoms, then it is important to understand how you can distinguish between stress signs and burnout signs.
Treatment of burnout and depression can overlap, but the big difference is that burnout, unlike depression, is not usually treated with medication. You want to be careful not to confuse burn-out with depression or depression with burnout because the remedies are different. If depression is ruled out as a diagnosis, treatment depends on whether one believes they are suffering from burnout or not.
So one solution is to visit your GP and ask them to test to see if you are suffering with depression. If the diagnosis is no, then the chances are that it is burnout. If it’s burnout, this is not something that can be healed with antidepressants.
Some of the best things that can help with burnout are things that can be difficult to implement. For example, you need as much sleep and rest as possible. Eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water and managing the mindset as much as possible.
Clinical psychologist Gulcin Senyuva says that while depression is usually unrelated to work, business or life it can result from experiencing life events or trauma of any kind, it is not just the nature of work that causes burnout.
What many of us do when we get burn-out is do more work because one of the causes of burnout is congestion. Even with burnout, you can categorize the symptoms of depression, as it is a combination of many different symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depression and anxiety.
Burnout, depression and anxiety are considered separate from people, but Schönfeld believes it might be more useful to see them as a continuum.
Some may think that burnout is a mental condition, which is mostly caused by mental illness, while the others are mostly physical ailments. But symptoms of depression and exhaustion are not necessarily interchangeable, says Dr. Schönfeld.
While some people cope with both burnout and the health symptoms associated with chronic stress, according to Schönfeld, it is important to recognize burnout for what it is, and not as a kind of “depression” that occurs in response to a terrible work situation.
It is also important to remember that if someone experiences both burnout and depression then it’s likely to impact other areas of their lives as a result.
In short, Burnout and Depression are not the same thing. They both have very similar symptoms and both can be difficult to diagnose. But the important thing to remember is to seek medical advice. Regardless of whether it’s burnout or depression you are suffering from, it’s important to address the situation at the earliest possible time.
Both depression and burnout if left untended to can cause all sorts of issues both mentally and physically. My own burnout led to me becoming paralyzed from the neck down. Because I refused to pay attention to the warning signs.
Don’t delay, if you’re feeling the symptoms of confusion, stress, sleeplessness and fatigue on a consistent basis. Seek help from a professional.
Take a look at my meditations which can help you with burnout. www.aysedurmush.com/shop
Once you begin your journey into meditation, you’ll soon discover the power that it has to reveal truth and peace in your life. In a fast-paced world where everything keeps getting faster and more complicated, it’s important to deepen your practice with meditation.
With regular practice, you’ll find that you’ll be able to go deeper into meditation without much effort. As you practice, you’ll be better able to deal with distractions and achieve a certain depth of meditation in a shorter period of time. If you practice for just 30 minutes per day, you’ll be able to go deeper each time.
Deepening Your Practice
You may be wondering what it means to deepen your practice. It’s definitely a topic that’s difficult to put into mere words. It’s similar to talking about how to deepen your love. If you’ve been in love you’ll know in your heart what it feels like to experience the depth of love. The same is true when you meditate, you’ll know what it feels like as your practice deepens.
Tactics For Deepening Your Practice
If you want to go beyond regular practice to deepen your meditation skills, you can try these other tactics.
Consider these suggestions as you deepen your practice:
A big part of deepening your practice is working on an improved focus. Find something that works for you.
First try experiencing eyes open meditation. Meditate with a small focal point and don’t let your gaze go astray during your session. You can also try eyes open meditation without the need for a strict focal point; this may help you to keep your focus within.
Alternatively, you can explore the option of eyes closed meditation. Many people enjoy the aspect of shutting out the visual sense, while others think it’s too much of an escape from true life, so do what feels right.
2. Your breath
Your breath is also a part of your focus. It’s how you break up your life into a series of moments. Take a moment to breathe in the good and a moment to exhale the bad. In order to deepen your practice, experiment with different breathing techniques.
Work on the length of your breaths. Some people decide to work with their moods when they work on breath length. It’s a way to just go with how you feel, instead of deciding on a set pattern of breathing.
Use a mantra. There are many mantras to choose from or you can even create your own depending on how you feel or what you like.
3. Your posture
Your posture also has an impact on how deep your practice will go. Choose a position that’s comfortable for you.
During sitting meditation, it’s always a good idea to maintain good posture. This means: Don’t slouch! The location of your legs usually doesn’t matter as much.
If you maintain a good posture without hunching over, you tend to maintain your alertness and you’ll be less likely to fall asleep. Remember that your goal is to remain in the present moment and not merely to relax.
Keep Up Your Practice
The most important thing you need to do is keep up with your practice. You can then tweak any other aspect of meditation that you feel needs adjusting. However, you may find that you simply evolve without much effort as you continue your meditative journey.
Very good feeling after this meditation. Something you can do anywhere .
Thank you namaste
Thank you… this was a wonderful way to start my day.
MoiraBurnstown, Ontario, US
So beautifully done. The music, the sequencing, the resting at the end, and your lovely voice. Brought me to tears as my heart reviewed all the Beings that I wished to reconcile with. Thank you.
FredericBoulder, CO, US
Plenty of neutral distractions to calm the mind. I continue to LOVE your Ho’oponopono meditation!
Wonderful balance of guidance and quiet practice. Namaste ??
JudithPhoenix, Arizona, US
This was incredibly helpful for me. Eye opening. Thank you.
Really appreciate this meditation – I loved learning about the origins of the mantra, the meaning, and being given silent space to practice it. I also loved the closing of the meditation – thank you! I’ll be incorporating this into my daily practice.
RachelSeattle, WA, United States
This is wonderful! Very healing and calming at the same time. The mantra really gets you out of your own way and has an amazing effect. Thank you
MartieWeaverville, NC, US
IngeThe Hague, Netherlands
I like the time to focus on the mantra in my cadence. This was a great way to start the day, connected. Namaste’