Prayer, mindfulness and meditation activities that can be done almost any where and anytime when concern, worry, fear, anxiety, depression and stress begin to feel overwhelming. Realizing and regularly participating in meditation, prayer and mindful practices offers wonderful emotional, mental, spiritual benefits and will improve quality and satisfaction in life.
What is Prayer?
For many, it is a primary way to reach God but depending on the faith of the individual, prayer is:
- A way to request help or give thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.
- It is a way some reach for help connecting with a being who is greater and higher than themselves.
For instance, one person that was interviewed said The Serenity Prayer that is recited in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) groups, to her, is a request, prayer, or petition to someone greater than herself. It is a way to ask for help when it seems impossible to change the situation on her own.
The Serenity Prayer (Short version)
“God, grant me the serenity (peace, calm and quietness) to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr
For many, it offers hope that they are not alone and can ask for help from something greater than themselves by requesting peace, acceptance, courage, and wisdom. Four very important traits to have when enduring some of life’s greatest challenges. These four traits help a person to live a purposeful meaningful and quality filled life.
Being mindful is the state of being presently in the moment. Not allowing the mind to race or wander into the past or worry over the future. Being mindful helps to improve hope and thankfulness and decreases anxiety, hopelessness, depression, and stress. It allows you to live and be in the moment (Shapiro & Shapiro, 2017). Most days, a person’s life is not all bad, however, not allowing yourself to being present and in the moment, prompts negative and stressful thoughts of the past and future. It will steal the blessings that a person is experiencing at that moment. The mind will either worry about what could happen in the future or obsess over a past mistake. You cannot change the past and you can only prepare for the future. So live in the present (Barbash, 2018; Shapiro & Shapiro, 2017).
The present is a present or gift, that is probably why it is called the present ????because we have a chance to make the best out of today.
Give your mind the gift of mindfulness by staying present and not allowing a precious moment of now to be stolen by what could be or should have been. Be consciously aware of where your mind is and what thoughts are flowing. Control your mind, capture your thoughts and hold them accountable. Do not allow your mind to control you if thoughts and feelings are nonproductive or destructive. Set your mind to focus on things that are pure, admirable, noteworthy and full of love. Be intention on what you listen to in music, what you talk about with family and friends and the conversation you have most of the day with yourself (Barbash, 2017; Shapiro & Shapiro, 2017). Bring your thoughts into subjection. Make sure these thoughts are uplifting. When going through a bad situation, having optimistic but realistic thoughts can maintain and improve emotional, mental and physical health and wellbeing.
Depending on a person’s belief system, meditation is done a few ways:
Clear Mind meditation, also known as mindful meditation. The aim is to focus on a clear and focused mind. This method has been used to refocus the mind to improve or focus on important issues and activities. However, depending on the state of mind and emotional health status of the individual, using this method must be cautioned (Shapiro & Shapiro, 2017). People may use this to clear the mind and focus on things that are not beneficial to a purposeful life or future. They may use this method to focus on how they are going to do harm and not good. This depends on their mental state.
Open Heart meditation, also known as altruistic meditation. This form of meditation focuses on thoughts and improving a state of being for improving kindness, love, forgiveness or compassion (Shapiro & Shapiro, 2017).
Biblical meditation. Thinking and focusing on God and the Word, what it means and how a person can apply it to daily living. This is done by either verbally speaking, mumbling or speaking into one’s heart and is aimed to develop godly character for increased purpose and a healthy state of mind (Brown, n.d).
The Role of Occupational Therapy in Emotional Health and Healing
For many, prayer, meditation and mindfulness are daily acts that is found to be beneficial in staying calm, centered and focused on living life in a purposeful meaningful way or to increase motivation in making choices that will lead to a better life (American Occupational Therapy Association [AOTA], 2014). Occupational therapy (OT) specializes in helping those to develop or improve any of these areas. A part of OTs practice framework is helping those to maintain a healthy sense of self through areas that are meaningful to the individual. This includes rituals, religion, belief systems, meditation, prayer, culture, roles, routines, and expression (AOTA, 2014).
For more information, please contact Life Wellness at Christa@OTwellness.com.
American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (3rd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, S1–S48. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2014.682006
Barbash, E. (2018). Mindfulness and being present in the moment. Being mindful can increase mental and emotional well-being. Psychology Today.
Brown, D. (n.d.). Spiritual disciplines, part 4: What is biblical meditation? From the Study. Retrieved from https://fromthestudy.com/2017/09/12/spiritual-disciplines-part-4-what-is-biblical-meditation/
Shapiro, D. & Shapiro, E. (2017). Mindfulness & meditation: What’s the difference? Thrive Global. Retrieved from https://medium.com/thrive-global/mindfulness-meditation-whats-the-difference-852f5ef7ec1atho