Sense of meaninglessness and a lack of purpose in life can be significant factors in causing anxiety, depression, and phobias in life. It has been found that people who have not been able to find their full potential, suffer from something called “existential anxiety”. People suffering from this kind of anxiety suffer from a vague sense of tension, boredome, desperation and a feeling of incompleteness. They seem to be unaware of where their life is going and have difficulty defining their life purpose. Such lack of meaninglessness can also cause panic attacks and phobias. Once these folks develop a life purpose and give a greater sense of meaning to their lives, and take necessary risks to attain their life goals, they are able to overcome their anxieties and phobias. They are able to then realize their own potential and become ready to confront their fears.
In order to feel happy and satisfied with your life, you must have a purpose in life. Common examples of life purpose could be succeeding in a fulfilling career, making a contribution to your community, raising a family, developing artistic talent, completing an educational goal, helping others with your own experiences, overcoming addiction or problems of dysfunctional childhood. When you realize what truly gives your life meaning and purpose, you are more likely to go beyond your personal needs and have a beneficial impact on others. When you begin to discover your true purpose and potential, you tend to move above and beyond your personal needs and make a contribution. This, in turn, gives you the satisfaction and relieves your tension and anxiety. In addition, it gives you a sense of completeness and you work hard for the betterment of others too as a self intrinsic motivation.
How do we explore our life purpose? In order to get an answer, you must ask yourself, “Am I satisfied with the education I have obtained?”, “Do I have creative outlets? “, “Have I developed my spirituality” “What would I like to accomplish in my life? ,”What are the most important values in my life?”, Is there anything that I deeply value but have not been able to attain it?” What changes do I need to make to be able to realize these values,” Do I have special talents that I have not fully realized in my life?”, “What are the obstacles and barriers that I need to overcome in order to realize my full potential?”
Once you have answered these questions, you need to break your goals and list what you need to commit to doing in the next month, year, and three years to eliminate your barriers and achieve full life potential. Once you have listed your life purposes, you can do an exercise on visualization to reinforce your commitment. As discussed in other blog posts written by the writer, visualization is a very powerful tool to help you with your motivation level, and it definitely aids in the attainment of your goals. Visualizing the fulfillment of your life purpose on a regular basis will be very instrumental in helping you achieve your goals and full potential. When you visualize that you have already achieved your goals, you become more motivated in real life to make efforts to be able to reach that point. By daily practice, you will see that your efforts will begin to bring results eventually and you will be able to reach your full potential. Visualization makes your subconscious feel that it is happening in real life and it has the benefit of empowering you with the right attitude and a sense of determination.
Just like having a meaning and life purpose is important to help you with the relief of anxiety and tension, spirituality also helps in overcoming your fears and anxieties. Spirituality involves the recognition and acceptance of a Higher Power beyond your intelligence and will. Once you cultivate a relationship with your Higher Power, you will get inspired, have a peace of mind, and subtle guidance that you will receive from your Higher Power. Whenever you feel insecure, you can resort to your relationship with your Higher Power and ask for strength and assistance to help you cope with your problems and worries. Spirituality does not mean that you have to stick to any particular religion or faith. Spirituality refers to the common experience behind the view points of several religions. It is an experience that involves an awareness and relationship with something that transcends your personal self. For our purpose, we will refer to the Higher Power, which can be abstract or very simple. Natural surroundings, scenic views, and beauty around you are like the hidden revelations of the Higher Power . They are the manifestation of the presence of a Higher Power.
No matter which religion you belong to, but if you are a spiritual person you will see that the healing is faster. People with anxiety disorders suffer from a sense of insecurity but having spirituality can bring a transformation in your total being. It provides the moral support, hope and faith that facilitates the recovery process. It makes you feel that you are not alone in the world, and there is a source of guidance and support when you feel discouraged and confused. You develop a sense of inner security and safety when you are able to connect to your Higher Power. You feel that there is someone you can turn to when you are facing adverse situations. Additionally, it also empowers you with peace of mind. You become better equipped to face the challenges of life. You somehow learn to let go of your worries and turn to your Higher Power. By turning to your Higher Power, you feel that you are not alone and there is a spiritual power that will help you when you get stuck with problems and adverse situations in life. Several people have done research in this area and found that people with strong spiritual faith are better able to sustain their hope and recover faster than people who lack spiritual faith.
With spirituality, you gain your self confidence which eventually helps you in dealing with the hardships of life. You do not get discouraged in the face of calamity but the self confidence helps you to remain persistent and thus aids in the achievement of your goals. Moreover, when you believe in a Higher Power, it gives you an experience of unconditional love. This is a kind of love which is superior to the romantic love. Unconditional love allows you to have compassion and love for others without judging them. As your connection with the Higher Power deepens, you begin to experience greater degrees of unconditional love, which begins to reflect in your increased capacity to give love to others and to experience more of it coming in your life. Your fears are lessened and you are able to enjoy life more. You also help others by inspiring them and facilitate their sense of unconditional love too.
Developing a relationship with your Higher Power will provide you with guidance for making decisions and solving problems. When you connect with the Higher Power, you can draw upon His greater wisdom to help you resolve your problems. Sometimes it is helpful to visualize the Higher Power. First you need to relax your mind by doing progressive muscle relaxation. This technique has been explained in detail in the blog post on, “Are you Suffering from Panic Disorder? Don’t Panic” Bring to mind the situation, person, or whatever is bothering you. Focus on this for several moments until you have it clearly in mind. Affirm over and over with as much conviction as you can, “I turn this over to my Higher Power”, “I release this problem to my Higher Power” Simply repeat this statement slowly and calmly and with feelings. If you are visually inclined, imagine that you are going to meet your Higher Power. Simply ask to find to ask for help. The purpose of this exercise is to develop trust and belief in your Higher Power. The key to this part of the process is an attitude of modesty and surrender. Sometimes it is helpful to visualize a beam of white light going to that place in your body that feels anxious or worried. Your solar plexus or the pit of stomach, are usually the parts of the body where your anxious feelings reside. When you visualize the white light to penetrate these areas of body, it helps to dissolve your anxiety. You might want to continue this exercise for half an hour to 45 minutes in order to feel the connection with your Higher Power. If your worry comes back, simply do the exercise again till you have mastered the technique of dissolving your worries.
You can deepen your connection with your Higher Power by regular participation in church or your temple, or your mosque, regular reading of inspirational literature, practice of meditation, and use of spiritual affirmations. They tend to reaffirm your faith, give you self confidence, and strength to confront your life challenges.
In this way, we see that Spirituality can help you inspire and give you hope to follow through with your recovery program. We all face challenges in life related to our work, relationships, education, and personal situations. If we do not have these hardships, we will not grow and learn. By facing adversities in life, we become stronger and better equipped to handle stress. But we need to have the tools to be able to face our life challenges. What matter the most is how you deal with your stress at times of adversities. You have two choices either to have a breakdown or face the challenge with courage and enthusiasm. Becoming depressed and anxious will not solve the matter. When you feel discouraged, stuck and confused, you may resort to your spiritual faith, practice visualization of the Higher Power, and uncover the meaning and purpose of your life. You will see that life will appear more beautiful and your attitude and perception about viewing life challenges will change. You will be able to fill that inner void that was created when you did not have any meaning and purpose to your life. People do volunteer work, help the poor, teach the students, offer community service like becoming a compeer for a mentally ill person, join the Rotary club, help the Red Cross to be able to pursue happiness in life and get some kind of fulfillment. Anyone can live a life for oneself, but living for others and doing community service needs courage, determination, and a capacity to rise above oneself to get the full potential. This kind of fulfillment will result in ultimate happiness, and absence of worries and tension in life. This also helps in getting you fully actualized like our great leaders, e.g. Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa, and many more distinct personalities of the world. When you become self actualized, your self esteem will be higher and you will be able to deal with your problems better.
Reference: Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmond J. Bourne