Simple Tips for Developing Spiritual Growth
Developing spiritual growth can seem incredibly daunting.
Are you supposed to meditate every day?
Do you have to walk around barefoot in the grass?
Are there crystals involved?
The simple answer is, no. None of these things is what spirituality is really about at it’s core.
Read on to learn what spiritual growth is all about. Then, check out our list of simple tips for developing spiritual growth that you can start implementing today!
What is spiritual growth?
Spiritual growth is more about an undoing rather than a learning.
It’s about undoing the negative beliefs that you have formed about yourself based on the experiences you’ve had throughout your life.
It is about separating your ego voice from the truth of who you are at your core.
Spiritual growth is about unlearning toxic or unhelpful things that were taught to you by society.
It’s about getting back in touch with who you truly are, feeling deeply connected to yourself, and being deeply rooted in your sense of self.
Additionally, spiritual growth is about releasing the self-judgment and living from your heart to pursue your desires. It is about understanding your place in the world and the grand scheme of the universe.
Spirituality doesn’t have to be complicated
A misunderstood aspect of spiritual growth is that it is deeply complicated or difficult to attain.
The truth is, there are many ways to experience spiritual growth. Many of them are rooted in simple things you can incorporate into your daily life.
Spiritual growth is an ongoing process, and it doesn’t require you to meditate in the mountains of Tibet for several months in silence.
On the contrary, there are ways that you can start experiencing spiritual growth right now from the comfort of your own home.
Benefits of experiencing spiritual growth in recovery
Research shows that for people in recovery from addiction, having a spiritual foundation is linked to positive mental and emotional outcomes.
According to one study, people with a spiritual foundation in recovery have displayed greater optimism and increased resilience to stressors. They have also been less anxious, and had better coping skills.
Having a sense of spiritual connection provides a myriad of benefits in addiction recovery.
It allows you to feel like you have a purpose in this life, which research has shown provides greater treatment outcomes for those in recovery. It helps you feel connected to other people, and helps you feel less isolated and alone.
Having a sense of spirituality provides you with the desire to act in service to others, which research has shown can make you feel good.
It allows you to foster a sense of mindfulness. This is invaluable as you navigate the ups and downs of recovery.
Additionally, having a spiritual foundation allows you to hold yourself accountable to whatever it is you believe in. This can be something outside of yourself or your own moral standard.
It provides you with something to draw strength from during the times that you’re struggling.
It allows you to accept the experiences that come up in your life, rather than operating from a place of resistance. This place of acceptance allows you to experience a greater sense of ease, understanding, and peace, as you navigate through life.
Developing a sense of spiritual growth also allows you to navigate your emotions. You’ll understand that you’re having a human experience, and a normal part of having a human experience is facing the broad range of emotions that comes with being human.
Simple Tips for Developing Spiritual Growth
There are many ways to develop your spiritual growth. Below are some ways to get started on your spiritual journey.
Read books on personal development or spirituality
Reading books on personal development or spirituality is a great place to start fostering spiritual growth.
Just reading a few pages a day can teach you more about yourself and your connection to other people in this world. It can also help you understand your greater connection as a part of this universe.
There are many spiritual leaders and thought leaders to explore. Many of them are essentially sharing similar messages with different voices. Finding an author whose work you resonate with can help you have a guide during your journey of spiritual development.
Take time to engage in your hobbies
Experiencing spiritual growth is all about being connected to yourself. Although this tip might feel completely unrelated to spirituality, your hobbies are the things that you genuinely love to do. Therefore, whatever you love to do is a part of who you are at your core.
Your hobby and someone else’s hobby might be wildly different. This shows that we all have different things that make us feel happy and feel like ourselves. Take the time to pursue a hobby that makes you feel like yourself, and that makes you feel good.
If you don’t feel that you have any hobbies now, think about what you loved to do when you were a child. Maybe you enjoyed going to the batting cages, or maybe you loved to draw.
Explore that old hobby again to feel a deeper sense of connection with yourself. Set out time every week, or every month, to engage in your hobby.
Pay attention to your gut feelings
Many people believe that your gut feeling, or your intuition, is the universe speaking to you.
A lot of the time, our gut will tell us something, but we will do the exact opposite of it and it will leave us somewhere that we don’t want to be.
To experience spiritual growth, start off by simply observing your gut feelings around things. After you start noticing that your gut and your intuition have a voice and a feeling within you, try to start adhering to it. Then, watch how your life unfolds before you!
Acknowledge your desires
A profound way to start experiencing spiritual growth is to acknowledge your actual desires. For so many people, the weight of society and of people who have expectations of us causes us to make choices that aren’t in line with our actual desires.
This can come down to everything from the job we choose, to the partner we have, to the things we do with our free time.
The thing is, our desires are placed in our hearts for a reason, and we are meant to make choices that are in line with them to experience fulfillment in this lifetime. Take the time to acknowledge what your actual desires are.
If everything was stripped away and there were no expectations placed on you and you could do, have, or be whatever you wanted, what would you want?
Look for patterns in your life
We get to a point in our journey of spiritual growth where we realise that the things in our lives have happened in patterns. We realise that we keep going through the same cycles, until we learn the lesson and break the cycle.
An example of this would be what people refer to as “dating the same person with different names.” This would mean that we keep finding ourselves dating the same person, with the same negative attributes, who keeps making us feel the same negative way about ourselves, over and over again.
This would be a pattern in our life, and getting to the point of realising that provides us with the opportunity to figure out why we keep attracting this pattern, or what this pattern is trying to teach us about ourselves.
Looking for the patterns, and then eventually working to shift out of the patterns, is a massive part of spiritual growth.
Spiritual growth is all about undoing anything that inhibits your peace. Part of this process is learning out of practice forgiveness. Practicing forgiveness allows you to let go of any weight that you’ve been carrying.
It is important to remember that practicing forgiveness is about you and your peace of mind, and it isn’t about the other person.
Practising forgiveness doesn’t mean that you’re excusing what another person has done. Rather, it means that you are choosing to move forward without negative emotions in your heart weighing you down because of that person. When we hold onto grudges, they deeply affect us, and have no effect on the other person.
Additionally, practicing forgiveness also encapsulates forgiving ourselves, which is huge in addiction recovery.
In active addiction, you may have done some things that you’re not proud of. Forgiving yourself is a huge part of allowing yourself to heal and grow spiritually.
Spend time with people who love you unconditionally
When you spend time with people who love you unconditionally, it allows you to feel safe enough and comfortable enough to be your true false self.
Spiritual growth is all about connecting with who we are and being true to ourselves. When we spend time with people who love us unconditionally, we are around people who see us for who we really are, regardless of what we’ve done in the past.
These are people who do not place expectations on us and who simply love us for us.
Additionally, when we surround ourselves with people like this, it helps us feel good about ourselves. We laugh more and we feel free. This contributes to the sense of self-acceptance and in feeling good, which is what spiritual growth is all about.
Helping others is a great way to experience spiritual growth. As you develop your spirituality, you come to have a deep understanding of the vast nature of connectedness between all living beings.
This innate sense of connection that you develop will spill out into how you treat other people.
You can help someone by performing a random act of kindness, volunteering, or being there for a friend or family member.
Big or small, there are so many things you can do to help out someone else, strengthening your connection with other humans and thereby, with yourself.
Separate your body from your self
One way to begin cultivating spiritual growth is by understanding that you are not your body. On that end, you are also not your name, and you are also not your thoughts.
What’s left is who you really are.
You are a divine being. You are the spirit, soul, or energy that is within your body, that is observing your thoughts, that is labeled with your name.
Once you understand that you are separate from your body, it helps you experience and understand the people and situations around you very differently. Additionally, you’ll be able to view life from a broader scope and with greater perspective.
Practise observing your thoughts
A great way to start fostering spiritual growth is by paying attention to your thoughts. As mentioned in the previous tip, you are not your thoughts. Rather, you are the observer of your thoughts.
When you have a thought, and you realise you’re having a thought, who is doing the realising? That is who you are at your core.
You are simply the observer of your thoughts, the observer of the people around you, and the observer of the situations that you experience.
Observing your thoughts will help you understand that you are not intrinsically tied to your thoughts, and it takes the weight of negative thoughts off of you. You learn that you can very easily change your thoughts and consequently change how you feel. Once you change how you feel, you’re able to make better decisions and choices for you.
So simply start off by just observing your thoughts and observing that you are the experiencer of your thoughts.
Developing a gratitude practise will help cultivate your spiritual growth. One of the reasons for this is that you will come to realise how inherently abundant you are.
Even when it feels like you have nothing, there is always something in your world that you can be grateful for.
When you notice the things that you’re grateful for, you draw more things into your life to be grateful for.
Shifting into a place of gratitude helps you shift your thoughts, which can help you experience a better mood.
Focus on the bright side
Focusing on the bright side will help you to foster continued spiritual growth. This is not to be confused with being positive all the time, if that isn’t how you really feel deep down.
Rather, it’s about observing a situation and paying attention to the silver lining.
This helps us understand that everything is happening for us and not to us. This helps us have greater trust in the universe and greater ease through which we move through life.
Part of focusing on the bright side is also looking back on your life at the moments that led you to where you are now, and understanding how they all happened for a specific reason.
Write out your thoughts
Since spiritual growth really centers around building a deeper connection to yourself, a great way to learn about you is to write out your thoughts.
You can look at this as journaling, but if that feels overwhelming, simply look at it as writing down the things you’ve been thinking about.
Oftentimes, our thoughts swirl around in our minds and build on top of each other. They can become so chaotic and consume us. By writing down our thoughts, we get them out of our minds and put them down on paper. We’re able to look at them more objectively, and gain clarity.
We’re also able to notice if we’re having patterns of unhelpful thoughts when we write them down, and this can help us do deeper work on where these thoughts might have come from and how we can change them.
The final tip on our list for developing spiritual growth is to meditate. You may have heard this many times. If you have, it's because meditation serves us in so many ways. Meditation allows you to relax.
It helps you still your mind and feel your center. It helps you foster the awareness that you are not your thoughts, but rather, the observer of your thoughts. Meditation also helps you become more in tune with your intuition. Additionally, it has a slew of physical health benefits.
The first time you meditate, it may feel incredibly difficult. That is entirely normal.
Think of your meditation practise as a muscle - it will become stronger the more you exercise it. Meditation becomes easier the more you practise it.
A final word on tips for spirituality in addiction recovery
Spiritual growth looks different for everyone, and can be attained through many different avenues.
Remember that spiritual growth doesn’t happen overnight, and there isn’t really a final destination to arrive at.
Enjoy the process of developing your spirituality, and watch your life change before you.
Author - Thurga
Read more: 8 Benefits of spiritual growth in recovery
- Spirituality and Addiction: A Research and Clinical Perspective Marc Galanter , MD Pages 286-292 | Received 31 May 2005, Accepted 21 Sep 2005, Published online: 10 Jul 2009 - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10550490600754325
- Spirituality in Alcoholics during Treatment -https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10550490701375616
- 7 ways to improve your spiritual health - https://wellness.ku.edu/seven-ways-improve-your-spiritual-health
- The Science of Spirituality: 16 Tips to Build Your Spiritual Practice - https://positivepsychology.com/science-of-spirituality/