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Last Updated on December 8, 2020

Why You Need Spirituality Goals To Enhance Your Life

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Why You Need Spirituality Goals To Enhance Your Life

As humans, we are not only made up of the physical that can be seen and touched, but there are also other immaterial aspects that exist beyond the physical lifespan of the human body. These may include soul, spirit, intellect, will, energy, emotions, conscience, and more.

It is possible to go all out chasing after your life’s dreams and yet neglect a very important part of you: spirituality. This should not be so. Here is a guide to help you discover what spirituality means and how to set spirituality goals to enhance your life.

What Is Spirituality?

Spirituality can be described as “the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than [oneself], something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature”[1].

The issue of spirituality is something that cannot be ignored. Although it is natural to question the existence of something intangible like a soul or spirit, one way or another, people still “try to attend to their inner life — to their mental and emotional states — in the hopes of gaining a certain kind of self-knowledge”[2]. This is still spirituality, even if the belief in a soul, spirit, or higher power is absent.

Benefits of Spirituality

Having a “spiritual life” is important to your quest towards attaining fulfillment and living a balanced life. Here are some ways spirituality can benefit your life:

Gain a Deeper Knowledge of Yourself

We take so much time to learn about our world and how to survive but less time to learn about ourselves: who we are and what we want. Spirituality can help you reflect and connect to your source in order to gain deeper knowledge about the purpose of your existence.

Create a Broader Knowledge of the World

Humans have become sophisticated in knowledge, and this is evident in how the world is continually shaped by innovation. However, there is some knowledge about the universe that only deep spirituality can reveal. Being a spiritual person will give you a “third eye,” a sense of insight, with which you can see things differently.

Keep Your Body and Soul Healthy

Worry, anxiety, and depression can set in when the weight of life’s challenges becomes too heavy to bear. Spirituality can help you liberate greater energy from within yourself to overcome physical stress. Furthermore, research shows that spirituality can help improve later life health[3], so it’s a good idea to get started now.

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Increase Compassion

Spirituality can help you become more compassionate as you see the need to be sensitive to the needy and afflicted around you. When you look into yourself, you see a reflection of everyone around you. This will help you connect on a deeper level.

Find Alternative Ways of Solving Life’s Problems

Some situations in life might require divine intervention. When you are spiritually conscious, you will find alternative ways of approaching and solving life’s problems.

How to Set Spiritual Goals

Whether it’s based on a belief in a higher power or a simple desire to engage in introspection, spirituality is useful to everyone. Here’s how to begin setting spiritual goals.

1. Define What Spirituality Means to You

Spirituality means different things to different people. For some, it’s all about the practice of a particular religion, while to others it’s about the practice of charity, humanitarian services, and caring for the poor and sick in society. Some others regard spirituality as reaching higher levels of consciousness such as is found in the practice of yoga, meditation, and others like them[4].

Defining and clarifying what spirituality means to you is the first step towards setting spiritual goals.

2. Identify Your Areas of Deficiency

After you have clarified your spiritual beliefs and commitments, the next thing is to identify where you have been deficient. For example, if you believe in having daily devotion and prayer and find that you have not been observing that for some time, it shows that is an area of deficiency that needs to be worked on.

3. Itemize the Essential Practices

Write out all the spiritual practices that are important to you, which you know you should be practicing. This can include meditation, yoga, prayer, volunteering, and any other practice that helps you connect to your deepest self.

4. Turn Your Essential Practices Into Goals

Turning those essential practices you have identified to goals means that you are ready to take them on by creating a strategy to achieve them. What makes goals different from ordinary desires is that you are intentionally committed to setting and achieving them.

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5. Prioritize Your Goals and Start With One First

In order to be able to achieve your spiritual goals, you have to take them on, one by one. This means that you will start with the goal that is most important to you first.

20 Examples of Spirituality Goals

If you’re having trouble finding a good place to start, try using one of the following spirituality goals.

1. Become More Discerning

Discernment is the ability to spot the difference between right and wrong, truth and falsehood. Discernment is required when dealing with people who are cunning or people who are interested in misleading others. Being able to discern will require gaining some spiritual sense and understanding motives. This might be achieved by spending quality time in devotion and meditation.

2. Become More Intuitive

Intuition is the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning. Intuition is a good guide when you need to make fast decisions or solve a difficult problem. Maintaining a relationship with the divine through devotion can help you become more intuitive.

3. Learn How to Overcome Fear and Anxiety

Everyone confronts fear and anxiety, and one of the ways spirituality helps is to find hope and comfort in the midst of uncertainties. Your goal can be to find how to maintain balance in the midst of chaos.

4. Observe Daily Devotion or Meditation

Spirituality demands commitment, and one of such commitments is participating in a daily devotion or meditation. Start with 5 or 10 minutes and work your way up from there.

5. Organize Family Devotion

Leading your family to be committed spiritually is a worthy goal. This can be daily or weekly time of family devotion whereby family members jointly observe religious practices or meditate together.

6. Create a Prayer Routine

Prayer is communication between humans and God. Having a special time of prayer, daily or weekly, to unload your burdens in prayer or pray for other people is a worthy goal. If you don’t believe in God, prayers can simply be offered to the universe or the energy around you.

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7. Listen to Your Inner Voice

Unlock your inner guidance by creating time to listen to your inner voice. Plan alone time, whereby you’ll shut out every noise and distraction and go into a space where you can be alone and listen to your thoughts and intuition.

8. Feed the Hungry

One of the marks of true spirituality is caring for the poor. While you may not own so much yourself, you can still share what you have with the poor. You can set a goal to provide food items for the needy on a monthly basis or send your support through a charitable organization.

9. Show More Kindness

Being kind in this regard has to do with showing kindness to all people that come your way. It is about showing that you care, being approachable, and helping others whenever the opportunity arises.

10. Join a Place of Worship

If you are interested in improving your spirituality, then connecting with others who have similar beliefs as yours will be a step in the right direction.

11. Let Go of Control

You will get exhausted quickly if you always want to fix everything. There are some things that are beyond you that you just simply need to let go of. Set a goal to not always want to be in control. It will help you to unburden yourself. Not being in control means learning to surrender to something or someone greater than you and trusting that things will happen as they need to.

12. Apply Spirituality to Solving Problems

One of the identified benefits of spirituality is having an alternative way of attempting to solve life’s problems. However, spiritual capital will only remain a potential when it is untapped. Therefore, a goal to check for spiritual solutions in some circumstances is a good one.

13. Observe Fasting

Fasting has been known to help maintain focus when observing spiritual commitments, as well as improve health in some cases[5]. Besides the spiritual benefits, fasting is also a good way to detoxify your body. You can plan to fast once or twice every week or join a general religious fast. Keep in mind that you should consult a doctor before engaging in this practice just to make sure your body is ready for it.

14. Sponsor the Education of Needy Children

Giving is one of the expressions of spirituality. If you have the means, you can set a goal of sponsoring the education of one or more needy children or send regular contributions to a charity already involved with this.

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15. Adopt a Child

You can express spirituality by taking responsibility for raising a child under your roof. This is a great expression of love, and you will be proud to give someone a chance in life.

16. Learn More About God

Knowing more about God is one of the hallmarks of spirituality. You can set a goal to read and study books and publications that have expositions about God and how you can get to know God better.

17. Study the Universe

Getting to know more about how the universe works can open you up to some new understanding about life. Devote some time weekly to read a book or watch a documentary about the universe.

18. Learn About Other World Religions

Learning about other religions wouldn’t be a bad idea. It can broaden your perspectives about religious beliefs and also help you to be more tolerant of people with different religious views. You can plan to study about two or more of the world’s religions with the objective of knowing the similarities and differences between them.

19. Plan a Visit to Religious Sites

Most of the world’s religions have holy places or places of historical significance attached to them. Planning a pilgrimage or tour to such sites can help you connect deeper with the stories that form the bulk of the practices of such religions.

20. Seek Spiritual Answers to Life’s Questions

There are several questions that often come up in the human mind. These include: Where do people go when they die? Will the world come to an end? Is there judgment after death? Is Heaven real? Is Hell real? You can set a goal to unravel the truths to such questions or at least form your own opinion about them.

Final Thoughts

Being spiritually conscious can improve your sense of peace and personal acceptance. Being spiritual is about being able to leverage on the privileges of the divine to live an upright life, be sensitive and respond to the needs around you, solve some of life’s problems, and prepare to face life’s most difficult challenges.

More Tips on Developing Spirituality

Featured photo credit: John Mark Arnold via unsplash.com

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Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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