When some people get down, they turn to spirituality and religion in the hopes that it will turn things around providing them a lift. For others, feeling depressed makes them feel alienated from their higher power. A review of the literature shows that spirituality (more than religion) can help even a person who is clinically depressed.
Here are some ways that you can draw on your spiritual side when emotionally you are feeling down:
1. FIND HOPE from your spiritual sources. Many faith traditions have stories of people of faith who have gone through trying times, for example Joseph or Job in the Hebrew Scriptures. So, do read or recall the stories in your spiritual tradition.
2. FIND HOPE from knowing that your higher power is there for you. Prayer is something that some people make complicated, but it isn’t. You should feel free to speak using your own words as they naturally come out, or if you prefer use words from others that resonate with you. In the Abrahamic traditions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), the Psalms often relate to our emotions. In some Eastern traditions, words are not important and just being aware of being in the presence of a higher power, even in silence, can be important. So, do pray the way that you find comfortable and fitting.
3. DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE when the response you receive is different than the one you expected or hoped for. There are times that your spiritual resources and practices do not give you the outcome that you expect or even desire. For instance, when reading an account it can be discouraging to see all that others had to go through even if they were “better” than you. Similarly getting bad news after praying for good is disheartening. However, these different responses do not necessarily mean you’re disconnected from your higher power or lack of concern of your higher power; rather they open up new possibilities on your journey. So, do not allow news that on the surface is discouraging to take away your hope.
4. RECALL THAT YOU HAVE MEANING by focusing on your own sense of vocation. Vocation is not only for people who are professionally doing religious work, but is for everyone. What is it that you feel you have been called to do in life? Is there a special role that you feel your higher power has you taking on this earth? This may be seen in your professional life (from caring for children as a teacher to ensuring that “city people” get fresh food as a truck driver) but may also occur in your personal life (such as being a parent or the one who remembers birthdays at work).
Living out what you feel called to do in life is an important part of your spirituality. As you do, you recognize increased meaning for your life and changes your response to whatever is making you feel down. So, do focus on and engage on what you are called to do with your life.