Written by Heather Hans, Published by YourTango on May 18, 2018
Depression and anxiety are spiritual illnesses at their core.
Depression and anxiety are commonly considered mental illnesses, but at their root, they are spiritual diseases that occur when you are out of touch with your divine nature.
Spirituality means that you are focused on the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things outside of you. That’s not to say that you cannot also value material and physical things. After all, your body and the world you live in are material, physical constructs. It simply means that you must be aware that the invisible creates the visible; that soul comes before matter, and that spirituality takes precedence over all things.
In order to thrive and feel fulfilled, humans must function on all cylinders – physical, emotional, and spiritual. Each of these facets of human existence is connected with one another. When one area is unhealthy, the others will falter.
When our body isn’t well, it can cause us to feel upset emotionally; when we have anxious emotions, it can cause our body to become stressed and ill. Above all, when we are disconnected from the spirit within, we can succumb to depression and anxiety, both of which can lead to physical health problems.
Anxiety is a lack of trust in the divine and often goes hand in hand with depression. A loss of hope, diminished enthusiasm, and loneliness & isolation characteristic of depression are each symptoms of spiritual illness. These three “dis-eases” can be eased through spirituality, as follows:
When you are in touch with your spiritual core, you have hope because you know that you (and the possibilities in your life) are infinite. Not only does your soul never die (as science proves via thermodynamics), but modern-day physicists are showing us what spirituality has declared through the ages – there is no limit to you and your potential.
Hopelessness is a sign that you lost focus of the spiritual truth of your existence. As you learn about and experience your spirituality, you will gain hope.
The diminished enthusiasm that accompanies depression also indicates spiritual illness. The word, “enthusiasm,” originates from the Greek concept of being possessed by God, or inspired. The intense excitement you feel when you are enthused means that you are being directed by your inner spirit, the way you are meant to live.
When you do not feel enthusiasm for things that normally excite you, it could be a sign that you need to focus your energy on rediscovering your spirituality. It doesn’t necessarily mean you will no longer feel passion for what you used to love, but that you need to focus on feeling passion within yourself again.
What you love and feel enthused by is more about you than it is the object of your desire. Joy and excitement come from within you, not outside of you. The activity, object or person simply helps bring it out of you.
The third way spirituality can ease depression and anxiety is by healing your loneliness and isolation. While there are practical ways to feel less lonely, such as having positive social support, volunteering, and avoiding drugs and alcohol, unless you connect with your spirit, you will continue to feel alone.
We all know how lonely big cities, like New York, can be despite all the people there. The reason is that no amount of people, stimulation, or food can meet your needs of contentment; only spirituality can do that. Looking for love in all the wrong places brings you further and further down to rock bottom.
Being fully present to your own divinity causes your loneliness to dissipate. Presence is within you, not someplace else to be captured or attained.
Now that you know three powerful ways spirituality can ease depression and anxiety, let’s explore ways you can tap into your spirituality.
First you must make it a priority. If you believe that you don’t have time to devote to your spirituality, you have your priorities backward. We are spiritual beings living a human experience.
The number one purpose of this existence is to grow your soul. You grow your soul by increasing your capacity to love. To be in touch with spirituality is to be connected to love. All the mundane tasks of life must be done in love; otherwise your existence is pointless.
Meditate at least once a day, preferably twice. Many people abandon meditation because they believe they aren’t doing it right or that something magical is supposed to happen, and their experience doesn’t meet their expectations. But if you devote yourself to sitting in silence with your eyes closed each and every day, you ultimately find that going inward keeps you centered and emotionally stable.
Spend time in nature regularly. Even if you live in a concrete jungle, finding a park, some flowers, or the stars at night can put you in touch with life’s beauty and give you perspective.
Start paying attention to your intuition. It comes in whispers and is the first instinct you have about something. It is your all-knowing soul speaking to you, before your logical mind interferes and takes you off track. The more you listen to the subtle voices and body sensations giving you knowledge about yourself, other people and situations, the less depressed and anxious you’ll feel because you’ll be living your truth.
Make a list of things you love to do and make sure you’re doing them. Make an effort to do small and big things that bring you joy, comfort, and peace. Afternoon tea, watching funny videos, or sitting in the sunshine are all simple things that take little effort but can give you a sense of calm.
In order to minimize anxiety and depression, you must focus on your mental, physical, and spiritual health. At the core of most mental and physical problems is a lack of spiritual health; being out of touch with the lively and joyous spirit within you.
Those who have the strongest spiritual lives are often those who have struggled the most with anxiety and depression. They learn how to live better because of their pain.