Week 3: Spiritual

Spiritual well-being involves finding meaning in life and events, and striving to live in a way that coincides with your personal values and beliefs.

Get Meaningful Challenge: Research suggests that finding greater meaning in life helps people cope with stress and improves their overall health and well-being—it’s what makes life feel worth living. But finding meaning in life can sometimes feel like an elusive task. In our day-to-day lives, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture—we tend to focus more on the mundane than the deeply meaningful. Yet research suggests that there are potential sources of meaning all around us, from the moments of connection we share with others, to the beauty of nature, to the work that we do and the things we create. This exercise helps you bring these meaningful things into focus—literally. Over the next week, take at least one photograph daily of things that make your life feel meaningful or full of purpose. These can be people, places, objects, pets. If you are not able to take photos of these things—like if they’re not nearby—you can take photos of souvenirs, reminders, websites, or even other photos. If you would like to share them with the community, instagram them with the hashtag #getmeaningfulmidd

Connect to a “Bigger-Than-Self-Goal” Challenge: Reflecting and writing about a bigger-than-self goal connects us to a purpose that goes beyond personal gain. To do this exercise, reflect on, then spend 10 minutes writing in response to these prompts. 1) Please describe the kind of person you hope to be/become and the positive impact you want to have on others or society in general. 2) How will your college experience (students) or your work/volunteering/parenting (employees) help you be the kind of person you want to be, or make the kind of impact that you want to make? This exercise has been shown to help people get through academic and personal struggles, improve their academic performance, feel more hopeful and stay more connected to other people.

Be Yourself Challenge: Make an effort this week to share more of yourself in your interactions with others. Take a risk and tell someone how you’re really doing, or share some of your deeply held values or interests with someone. Showing up authentically has been shown to be associated with better responses to challenges, confidence, self-worth, and satisfying relationships. Not sure where to start (since no matter how old we are, we are all figuring this out)? Take a free character strengths survey and share your results with a friend, partner, or colleague. Talking about your strengths can help you figure out how to draw on them effectively in order to align your thoughts and actions with your goals and values.

All-Campus Mindfulness Practice Challenge: Join the Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life and invited guests this (and every) Wednesdays from 12:15-12:45 pm for mindfulness meditation in Mead Chapel. In light of the seemingly constant news regarding natural disasters, violence and political unrest around the world, this weekly quiet half-hour is for anyone in the campus community to come together for lightly guided meditation or quiet reflection. If this day/time doesn’t work for you, consider the Prajna-sponsored session guided by Rabbi Stillman this (and every Wednesday) at 4:30-5:15 pm in the McCullough Reflection Space or drop in to the McCullough Reflection Space, Axinn Winter Garden, or MBH green house on a day/time that works for you to practice mindfulness.

Want to work ahead for Week 4 (Emotional Well-being)? One of next week’s challenges is the Practice Mindfulness Challenge. This challenge invites student participants to sign up for a Koru Mindfulness course. Koru is an evidence-based curriculum specifically designed for teaching an introduction to mindfulness, meditation, and stress management to college students and other young adults as a weekly, 75-minute class over four weeks by a trained and certified Koru Teacher. There are two sections of Koru Basic that will start next week and space is limited. To sign up, visit go/korusignup. To learn more about Koru Mindfulness at Middlebury visit go/koru.

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