Purpose Matters During Hard Times
Purpose and Spirit in Dark Times
As so many people are writing about and programs and resources grow, the mental health and well-being of humans around the globe have been challenged like few other times in history. If we have lived longer enough, we may have experienced uncertainty and anxiety during times of war, depression, natural disasters and infectious disease outbreaks, yet this does not minimize the darkness so many of us feel today. My chief source of sanity is maintaining spirit and clarity of purpose. How about you?
Here are a few questions to ponder:
1. How are you coping?
2. What is most keeping you awake at night, or worries you the most?
3. Where are you finding your strength and support?
4. What is keeping you from moving forward with your goals/dreams?
5. Are you just surviving or getting by?
6. What is your biggest or strongest need right now?
7. What is your number one wish right now?
8. How taking care of self and spirit?
9. How is your spirit?
10. What can you do to nurture spirit?
Responses to these are likely quite variable from person to person. Yet, most of us are likely feeling an uneasiness if we are honest, and a sense of wishing things were back to normal.
So, what drives you every day to get out of bed? What is your daily, weekly, monthly purpose and how has it changed as we have progressed each month in 2020?
Research shows that gratitude, purpose, social connections, and positivity bring us well-being and health. They also bring us hope, love and connection with human spirit. I encourage you to assess your answers to the questions above and then to reflect for a bit on how your purpose and spirit are being filled right now. Are you connected to spirit and purpose?
Spend some time reflecting on what you see is your purpose in your life? Write down your thoughts as writing helps clarify and lead to action. Write about what you value the most, what your core beliefs are, what brings you most joy, with whom do you feel the most love/loved, and how are you maintaining these aspects of your purpose.
This matters because human flourishing can still happen even in dark times. We can still connect with our spirit and purpose even if actions are somewhat different. We can love, grow, and fill our souls.
Here are some steps to help refuel you.
1. Catch any negative thinking when it starts and reframe your thoughts to avoid the spiral. Check out the tone of the thoughts, the evidence supporting your thoughts, the hope conveyed in your thoughts, and your overall emotions.
2. Make a decision to write down a positive solution to reverse what you were thinking.
a. Example: We are never going to get out of this pandemic, I am so tired of wearing the mask and tired of staying home. I can’t keep doing this, it is stressing me out and bringing me down.
b. Reframe: I am sad about this time we are in as it is indeed limiting many things I like to do. In fact, it makes me a bit angry (with no judgement here at all, just identifying and allowing my thoughts and feelings). This is a challenging time for everyone. Yet, I do have choices in how I react and for just today, even just the next hour, I am going to do some self-care and listen to some music and journal a bit, to connect with my purpose and spirit.
3. Engage in self-care that feels powerful for you: e.g., physical activity, a walk, music, hot bath, lighting a candle, making some healthy food, re-arranging my furniture, watching a funny movie, reading a book that I can escape in.
4. Spend quality time in the present moment with the people I love.
5. Call a dear friend and catch up; laugh and maybe share tears.
6. Eat my favorite meal at the 80% full stopping rule.
7. Get 7-9 hours of sleep.
8. Send a thought or prayer to the universe with some gratitude for today.