Spiritual people are better leaders. If you read my blog, you already know this. But what do you do after you come to accept this realization? You will likely be confronted with a series of questions on how you can move from the theory of spirituality to its practical application through spiritual activities. You know you want to become more spiritual, but what spiritual practices will allow you to tap into your greater spiritual potential.
But before we dive into spiritual activities, let’s quickly cover why spiritual practices are important to you as a business leader. It’s simple. Spiritual leaders and employees are more productive, create more cohesive teams and are more stress-resilient. And it has been proven time and time again by various research.
For more information on how spirituality and your spiritual energy are an integral part of your business success, I have written a post on what is spirituality in business.
Now, let’s move on to spiritual practices and how we can harness the power of spiritual activities to achieve our spiritual goals. I have even put together a spiritual practice list to help you achieve your goals.
What are spiritual practices?
Spiritual practices are activities that increase and harness your spiritual energy. During spiritual practice, you either connect with the Higher Power (whom religious people call G-d) or with your inner self. Spiritual practices can be performed alone or in a community. Prayer and meditation are the two most common practices, but they are not the only ones.
In the past, spiritual practices were the domain of religious people, who devoted their private time to following their spiritual routines. There was hardly any space for spirituality in the secular business environment. But recently, I have observed that this is gradually changing. Various companies, either religious or non-religious, are showing a growing interest in the implementation of spiritual practices in their business activities. The inclusion of prayer rooms, meditation and mindfulness, and team-building activities dedicated to the search for one’s purpose have become a new standard across the corporate world.
What are the benefits of spiritual practices?
People involved in spiritual practices tend to make better decisions, are more emotionally stable, and are better team players. If spiritual activities are performed in a team, it can also improve team efficiency. It helps by clarifying the purpose of the company and the contribution of each person.
As I mentioned, prayer and meditation are the two most common and most researched spiritual practices.
For example, in one of the most notable workplace-related studies on meditation, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology discovered participants, that were taught to meditate over a series of months, were more likely to feel happiness, gratitude, hope, amusement, and awe.
And over time, the new positive emotions translated into enhanced levels of attention, self-acceptance, physical health, and better relationships.
A comparable study at the University of Washington also found that employees that had taken part in meditation training had improved concentration and memory. They also reported fewer negative emotions.
Similarly, studies that focused on the benefits of prayer also showed similar benefits to meditation. Finding participants could calm their nervous system by shutting down their fight or flight response. Participants were found to be less reactive to negative emotions and less angry.
Spiritual practices you can use every day
Now that we have established the benefits, we are ready to answer how we can harness the power of spiritual energy through spiritual activities. My spiritual activities list will start with the most common practices and then delve into the less researched, but equally beneficial activities.
The list of possible spiritual practices is unlimited, so I will focus on the most popular ones (but not only) among businesspeople. All of these activities can be practiced individually, in a spiritual community or together with your business team. Most importantly, to fully benefit from them, I recommend you incorporate them into your daily business routine.
Prayer is the connection to the source of your spiritual energy. Whether it is G-d or any other force (external or internal) which is the foundation of your faith. Above all, prayer is probably the most common spiritual practice among businesspeople.
If you are already practicing prayer daily, then prayer in the office can be particularly beneficial to help you achieve your spiritual goals. After all, spirituality does not end when we enter the office. And if you want to be more spiritual at work, prayer can be a great way to help you achieve your goals.
Meditation is the practice of internally focusing the mind. You can either focus on an object, a thought, or an activity – for example, breathing. By focusing your mind, you can achieve mental clarity, emotional calmness and stability.
Contrary to popular belief, meditation can be as simple as paying attention to your breath. Meditation has been shown to increase awareness, happiness, memory, self-control, academic achievement, and many other cognitive advantages. Taking the time to meditate will provide you with a clear mind that better places you to achieve your spiritual goals.
Meditation does not need to take a long time. It can take as little as 5 minutes a day – or less if you are pushed for time. When you meditate, focus your thoughts on your breathing. Begin with two minutes each day and gradually increase to five, seven, or ten.
Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment, both the internal and the external experience, in a non-judgmental way.
You can practice mindfulness through meditation. Through mindfulness meditation, you shift your mind to calmly think about a current experience (like a sudden emotion) and not the distressing everyday work-related clutter. By focusing your mind on the present moment in this way you bring about a raised state of self-awareness, focus, and attention.
4. Spiritual team activities
Teams that bond on a higher level work better together and exhibit greater respect and cohesion. Strong positive values can translate into healthier team morale demonstrated through greater trust and gratitude amongst team members.
Team activities that include volunteering can be particularly helpful spiritual team activities. Not only do they boost team morale, but they also feed the spiritual energy of each individual team member. For example, volunteer at a soup kitchen for the day or take part in a tree-planting activity.
5. Religious services
There is a growing pool of research that links regular attendance at religious services to better overall health and wellbeing. Of course, you can’t attend religious services while you are at work but attending religious services outside of work will indirectly benefit you at work.
You could even consider spiritually inspiring motivational speakers to attend staff events at work that can speak to your employees on a more holistic level.
6. Expressing gratitude
As businesspeople, we tend to have a good, above-average level of life which contrasts significantly with the harsh life experiences of our forefathers. It is extremely important to reflect on our fortunate circumstances. Expressing gratitude daily for the things we are grateful for is a great way to reflect on what we have and to bring awareness to the things that make us happy and successful.
By being more grateful, you are enabled to connect with and enjoy positive emotions and good experiences. This translates into improved health and a better ability to handle adversity.
7. Serving others
By serving others, you can realize your own life satisfaction. You can also build important self-confidence skills.
Serving others is as simple as being helpful to others. You can do this in or out of the office. Commit to completing one good deed each week. You can donate your time, knowledge or expertise to others that can benefit from what you have or know. In the office, this might be taking part in a mentorship program.
Alternatively, as mentioned above, you can volunteer for a local charity. This can be done individually or as part of a team-building event.
8. Immersing in nature
Connecting with nature allows you to identify with the world on a spiritual level. You will enjoy more positive emotions and greater concentration. It can also help you manage your mental health. People with greater connectedness to nature exhibit lower levels of depression and anxiety.
To connect with nature, you can simply take a walk in the park or a hike in a nearby national reserve. Free yourself from the restrictions of corporate life by switching off and immersing yourself in nature. For example, if you work close to a park or garden, take a lunchtime stroll.
By practicing yoga, you train yourself to concentrate on your breathing and how to stay calm. You also learn to maintain calm while engaging in difficult poses. As a result, you retrain your brain to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety much more effectively.
When establishing your yoga routine, consistency is the key. Schedule just 10-15 minutes a day to get started. You can practice yoga at your office, gym, yoga studio, or even in a hotel room when you are traveling for business purposes.
10. Spiritual Education
To become truly spiritual, you need to learn how to create a connection with a higher force or the “inner you”.
There are many excellent books and YouTube videos on the market that can help you become more spiritual. If you are religious, start reading your holy book: the Christian bible, the Jewish Torah or the Muslim Quran. Similarly, you can find many books on Buddhism and business spirituality too. These books will help you develop a strong connection to your spirit with the guidance of renowned spiritual masters.
Reading books in the office might be difficult, but you can always apply the lessons from the books you have read in the evening in your daily activities.
I recommend keeping a journal of your spiritual goals, including the actions you will take to help you reach them. Write down your spiritual practices and make sure you include your expected result. And remember, if you cannot envision the outcome, it is not likely going to make for an achievable goal.
Set a specific time aside each day to write in your journal.
How to implement spiritual practices in your business life
To be effective and ongoing, you need to convert spiritual practices into a habit. And any habit needs rituals. If you want to grow stronger muscles, you need to exercise regularly. The same applies to spirituality. Therefore, you need to get involved in regular spiritual practices to steadily grow your spiritual energy.
They can be as simple as a 5-minute prayer in the morning. Or a 10-minute daily meditation. You can practice meditation or prayer from practically anywhere. You can meditate or pray while you are commuting in a car or on a train or even at your work desk. Choose a time of day, such as morning, midday, or afternoon, find a peaceful place, sit comfortably, and start…
You can also attend regular religious services at least once a week. Or you can start your self-reflection process by journaling each day at the same hour.