Do you set intentions for your day or take some time to journal about your thoughts in the morning? Perhaps you take time at the end of the day to reflect and rewind. Many people use daily scripture readings or meditations to feel more empowered, less stressed, and prepared to take on challenges and opportunities.
Regardless of your chosen faith, when you set aside time to be with your thoughts, it becomes easier to cultivate gratitude and appreciation. The flowers may smell a bit sweeter, the sunshine a bit warmer, and the people around you a bit more approachable. Meditation can also help increase the connection you have with your body, mind, and soul. Daily readings and meditations might be just what you need to add a bit more self-care into your daily routine.
Benefits of Scripture, Meditation, and Daily Reflections
There are many ways to promote a sense of well-being in your life. Research shows that creating a practice around meditation and daily reflections provides wellness benefits and helps you to unwind and feel your best. Scientists have studied meditations, scripture, and daily reflections separately.
Health Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is the act of maintaining attention or focus in order to gain insight into the world and oneself. It is believed that the practice can take a person into a different state of consciousness that allows them to relax and reflect.
According to the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health, meditation provides a variety of health benefits. The center notes that meditation can help you manage mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, and can also reduce stress levels. In addition, meditation has been found to reduce blood pressure, alleviate physical pain symptoms in the body, and even improve a person's quality of sleep.
Although a meditation practice can seem intimidating if you are new to it, it's as simple as shifting your focus. During meditation, you might tap into your breath, sensations in your body, or even spread loving-kindness. You can try a wide variety of meditations and choose which one is right for you depending on your mood. The more you practice, the easier it will become to quiet your mind and focus your thoughts.
Health Benefits of Scripture and Daily Reflections
Since we don't have an answer to every question or a solution to every problem, it can be helpful to turn to the wise words of others for inspiration. Finding motivation and guidance in others' stories can be a great tool to help you reflect on whatever situation you're in, as well as provide additional wellness benefits. For some people, scripture provides these stories.
According to a 2018 study from the Journal of Religion and Health, reading scripture verses can help people cope during stressful life events. The study notes that reading scripture can increase a person's feelings of hope for the future, add to their list of coping resources, and allow them to reflect and reappraise events in a more positive manner. In addition, research has also found that reflecting on everyday events can enhance a person's meaning in life and lead to a greater sense of well-being.
How to Begin a Daily Reflection Practice
Like all other habits, starting a daily meditation or reflection practice might take some time to get used to. It can feel difficult to find the time in your schedule or to follow through with your practice, and that's okay. You'll probably miss some days or notice your thoughts wandering as you sit down for a meditation, and that's alright, too. It's all part of the process as you develop a new habit.
Over time, the activities will seem easier to accomplish as you strengthen your practice. Habit change isn't easy, so remember to be gentle with yourself along the way. Use the simple tips below to learn more about starting your own practice.
Set Aside Time in Your Schedule
One way to incorporate reflection into your daily life is to set aside time during your morning or evening routines. You can start to unwind 10 minutes earlier than usual in the evening or add time to read and reflect when you enjoy your morning coffee.
You don't have to dedicate a large amount of time to the practice when you're just starting out. Feel free to begin the practice with just five or ten minutes a day to get you started. In addition, you don't have to reflect and meditate every day. Start with a small goal of trying the practice once a week, and then gradually work your way up from there.
Find Daily Reading Passages
You don't necessarily have to be religious to read scripture. You can identify as spiritual, curious, open, or anything else. In addition, "scripture" isn't only limited to the Bible. In fact, you can reflect on a wide variety of texts from different religions, spiritualities, and influential individuals.
Explore a few texts to see what feels like a good fit for you. If you start reading a passage and find that it doesn't click, give yourself permission to move on to a different one. It may take a few tries until you find the type of reading that encourages introspection. What's important is that you find readings you enjoy that can help you experience wellness benefits.
Some places to find inspiration for your daily reading passages include:
- Brainy Quote - Check out quotes of the day to help you set intentions.
- Center for Action and Contemplation - Sign up for daily reflections on wisdom, meditation, and prayer to be sent to your email.
- DailyScripture.net - Explore daily scriptures and meditation from the Bible.
- The Daily Buddha - Find daily words from Buddhist teachings.
- Thich Nhat Hanh - Check out quotes and Buddhist teachings from this spiritual leader.
- Verse of The Day - Discover Bible verses for reflection each day.
You might find it helpful to journal about what you think the passage is saying and reflect on how you can apply the message in your own life. If it feels right, you can even use the passage as inspiration to set an intention for your day.
Dedicate Time to Reflect
After you read a passage, take some time to sit with it. Maybe you close your eyes and just focus on how the passage makes you feel in your mind and body. Or, maybe you take some deep breaths and repeat part of the passage to yourself as a mantra. Maybe the passage even inspires you to try a guided meditation to bring yourself a sense of calm.
Try different exercises to see what works best for you. Some days you may feel ready to sit through a 10-minute meditation, while other days it may be difficult to silence your thoughts. Meditation is called a practice for a reason. Each time to focus your thoughts, you're getting just a bit better. Be gentle with yourself as you navigate the learning curve.
If you've tried one of these practices in the past and they weren't for you, don't worry. Not every relaxation technique works for everyone. What's important is that you find activities that you enjoy, and that work with your schedule. Plus, you can always try reading different texts until you discover one that clicks. The more you read and reflect, the more open you might become.