Our 6 Spiritual Needs According to Dr. Nicole Lepera
Depression and anxiety may arise when our spiritual needs aren't met
Doing nothing can be exhausting!
“You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.” - Alexander Den Heijer
We all endured COVID-19. Can you remember the heavy tiredness of nothingness? I suspect many of us relate to Den Heijer’s words; I know I certainly do. We need certain things in our lives to bring about a sense of well-being, contentment, and happiness.
We are all unique. What captivates my soul and energizes my spirit may not do the same for you and vice versa. But when we deprive ourselves of what brings us joy or ignore the yearnings of our soul, we ignore our spiritual needs, and this is when the heavy tiredness of life sets in, and we become susceptible to depression and anxiety.
According to Dr. Nicole Lepera, we are more likely to experience positive mental health if our spiritual needs are met.
What are the 6 spiritual needs?
Connection is a significant element of health and well-being. When we have a strong and positive connection to others, ourselves, nature, and our purpose, we are more likely to thrive in life.
According to the renowned psychologist and author Dr. Nicole Lepera, who goes under the social media name of The Holistic Psychologist, our spiritual needs can be divided into six key strands.
Never estimate the power of an internal sense of belonging. Those of us who have endured difficult parenting styles have a deep-rooted sense of not belonging. We can find belonging in a local community, a friend group, a special interest group, and many other places. When we feel we belong, it’s not just a feeling of acceptance but a sense of being celebrated. We feel encouraged to show up as our authentic selves.
If you feel you don’t belong anywhere, perhaps it’s time to seek out your tribe. Maybe you could start voluntary work, join an evening class on a topic of interest, or take up a new hobby. Seek out new environments that may bring connection.
3. Authentic expression
How much of yourself do you put out into the world? Do you self-censor yourself in certain situations? When we have the confidence to show up as the full weird and wonky version of our true selves, irrespective of potential teasing or mocking, we honour ourselves. Authentic people live with integrity. They are the ones who seem most comfortable in their own skin.
Your opinion and thoughts are valid. Learn to be comfortable with being yourself and expressing your opinions. Your friend may love a picture in an art gallery that you hate. It’s ok to express this; this is not an attack on your friend. Listen to your heart and follow where it leads you; that is the first secret to living with authentic expression. Beware of the trap of silencing yourself to follow the herd.
We all find our purpose in different ways. When we have a strong sense of purpose, we are likely involved in something contributing to the greater good and improving the lives of people around us. Some people find purpose in parenting, while others may find it in their workplace, particularly if they work in some form of service, such as a nurse, social worker, police officer, fire officer, or teacher.
On reflection the deepest sense of purpose I have experienced is during the 5 year period of co-founding and chairing a community running group.
Working toward something that brings about a common good brings a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Observing others benefiting from your hard work and dedication can bolster confidence and raise self-esteem. If you lack purpose in your life, is there scope for you to volunteer or set up a community group?
Choice is golden. Dr. Lepera describes the consequences of lack of choice as spiritual bankruptcy. Choice gives us agency over our lives and bodies. It helps us build our self-trust and self-awareness. Even young children benefit from having an element of choice.
We often have more choices than we realize. If you are living your life according to obligations and “shoulds,” you can invite a mountain more choices into your life. Try to untangle from the rigidity of living a life of obligations. This means saying “no” to things that don’t serve you. It’s only when you break away invisible shackles that you realise your true freedom.
For something to have meaning, it must have significant worth. Life is full of joy and suffering, and sometimes the only way to make sense of these emotions is to find meaning in them.
Living a life with little or no meaning feels desolate. Look for the things that give you meaning. It may be as simple as a walk in nature. We all find meaning in different places, learn to discern what brings you meaning, and then spend more time in this sphere.
6. To love and be loved
First things first, we must love ourselves if we truly expect to be loved. I know I know, this sounds cliched, but it’s true. Once we have mastered self-love, we can share our love with friends, family, partners, and pets. Giving love and receiving love is a beautiful reciprocal circle of safety and comfort.
Love is not prescriptive, nor is it a once size fits all. Sharing your love with a dog can bring deep joy and satisfaction, as can experiencing love with a partner or friends. The point here is to share your love, to send out feelings of warmth and affection to another soul, and watch how it comes back to you.
Tend to your spiritual needs and boost your mental health
When we feel shitty within ourselves, we are less motivated to put ourselves out there to meet our spiritual needs. Our spiritual needs often have a void between where we are and where we want to be.
Take one day at a time. It’s all about building long-lasting habits. Stay mindful of these 6 spiritual needs and consciously work on meeting each one.
What spiritual needs are you neglecting? What can you do to make sure all 6 spiritual needs are met? I’d love to hear your input in the comments.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this piece, please share it with a friend and give us some love on our socials.
Connect with Abnormally Normal on Twitter & Instagram.
Abnormally Normal is for everyone who feels like they don’t fit in.