We all have certain mental, physical, and emotional needs — things like feeling safe, attention, love, appreciation, solidarity, routine, consistency, being challenged, etc. Beyond the basic necessities we require in day-to-day life, though, there are deeper thirsts that must be quenched.
It’s just like that plant on your windowsill that you care for, watering it and trying to make sure it stays healthy and green. In the same way, you must also take care of your soul.
The problem is that it doesn’t actually come with a manual. So, how can you know what your soul needs?
These deeper needs are often ignored by those who are not in-tune with what the internal signals might sound like, leading them farther and farther into situations where they are unhappy and unfulfilled.
Some examples of what those signals might look like are feeling a constant lack of satisfaction, depression, loneliness, or general frustration. I know because I’ve been through the process of leaving quite a few situations that my soul was not happy in, and I’ve had to learn how to fine-tune my abilities to hear the signals that brought me to a much different, spiritually healthier life.
Now, how do you know whether these feelings are due to something your spirit is lacking? How can you know you’re giving your soul what it’s calling out for?
A tell tale sign that your negative feelings are a result of a malnourished soul is that the feelings you experience are ongoing. Any long-lasting bad mojo is a signal that you might be ready to grow beyond something, but aren’t giving yourself the things you need to do so. Something is hindering you. This could be a toxic relationship, a dead-end job, a habit, or even your entire lifestyle.
Knowing what your soul wants is a skill you must hone, like any other. Keep reading to find out ways in which you might narrow down the nourishment you truly need in your life.
Find what sparks joy
If you find that you get a spark of joy in random moments throughout the day, or even just once in a blue moon, zoom in on that. Were you driving somewhere alone? What was it you were looking at or thinking about that made you feel such a surge of happiness? This can help you get to the bottom of what nourishes you to your very core.
For me, it was on my way to work that I noticed random moments of fleeting joy speckled into the never-ending blanket of misery that had been shrouded over me for months. I realized that it came from simply taking a different route to the office that day. An adventure that small created a reaction in my very being — that’s how starved my spirit had been.
You see, things that fulfill me include new experiences, travel, and adventure. These things feed my imagination and therefore the stories in my head waiting to come out in my writing. Seeing new places and learning of different cultures gives me a source of inspiration. This is just one of many things which nourish my soul.
For you, it could be in acts of kindness toward others, reading books, planning events, or even in handling numbers.
Work backwards to figure out where your joy comes from when it hits you in its purest form — spontaneously. This will help you learn which things you might want to start supplementing into your life.
Feed your inner child
If you need a good starting place rather than waiting around for spontaneous creativity to hit you, think about the things you really loved doing when you were a kid.
Did you love playing outside with friends, or maybe alone? Did you feel the most free when you were swimming, in a classroom, or playing video games? Thinking back on your fondest memories can help you get a starting point.
Even if they aren’t things you’d re-introduce into your adult life, they can give you ideas of different hobbies, side-hustles, or downtime activities to get involved in today that can bring some life back into your inner child, the purest form of your energy.
Try yoga or meditation — ideally both
From lots of experience, this is often when my most creative ideas hit me. It’s also when my fondest memories tend to flash through my mind. It reminds me of the things that make me feel the most spiritually nourished.
This happens because when you’re breathing through the yoga poses, your mind should be pretty clear. It’s hard to breathe properly while doing the poses, while simultaneously thinking about other things.
Meditation in particular gives the head more space. If you’ve got a good teacher or guide who can help ease your negative thoughts and feelings out of the picture, you should be able to enjoy sensations of peace and calmness. Once our anxieties and stresses are put aside for a few moments, that’s all that tends to be left.
Meditation is different for everyone, but for me it represents the designation of space for that pure energy inside me to sort of manifest whatever it will. That could be a memory, an idea, or even a vision. Our headspace is typically bogged down with the burdensome stuff that adult life lays on us, and meditation gives a refuge from that. That’s why this is such a great way to nourish the soul, and possibly to access a source of untapped inspiration.
P.S.-Meditation is a lot more effective when done right after a yoga shesh! This is because the body will be more comfortable and strong to be able to sit still in a meditation pose. Plus, it’s easier for the mind to relax after the body has first been relaxed in savasana, or corpse pose.
Implementing the signals you’ve found
Summing it all up, figure out what gives you joy. Learn to recognize the signals you get from either a spontaneous feeling, a memory that you’ve dug up from your childhood, or a feeling, memory, or idea you’ve had while doing yoga and/or meditating.
Translate the signals, if needed. Figure out what the feelings mean. Decide what your fondest memories represent. Materialize them into goals and dreams that can finally be chased.
Decidedly set actual tasks for yourself in order to create a more fulfilling, meaningful, and nourishing life for you and your soul.