A mentor entered my life when I was undergoing major depression during my stint in the math department. He taught me three crucial skills that turned my life from devastation to utter joy. He was like an angel imparting lessons to help me recover from my dark night of the soul. He can also help you should you fall victim to your dark night of the soul.
Here are the three lessons:
Exercise and/or learn a combative. Taking impact (physical blows) in a controlled environment helps you effectively manage emotional and psychological blows. And having a means to physically defend yourself is empowering, too. For example, in my combative training, I would stand still, arms out, legs wide, while my sparring partner would strike me with kicks and punches. He didn’t go too hard, just hard enough for me to withstand the blows. This conditioning helped me to withstand the dark night of the soul.
If combative training is too much of a stretch for you, exercise six days a week for at least 45-minutes a day. Combine weights with cardio and stretching, as these three forms of exercise are vital for top conditioning.
Weight training is a skill. For instance, you’ll focus on training specific body parts daily. For example, I do chest, shoulders, and triceps one day; back and biceps the next; and legs the following day—combined with martial arts, ab work, and stretching each day. To get started, find an excellent weight-training book or a course on Udemy. Then, hire a personal trainer twice to guide you with the proper form for each exercise.
There is a reason why almost every motivational or inspirational clip features exercise: high fitness levels help you overcome life’s challenges. Top fitness not only conditions your body but also your mind and spirit.
(If you cannot do all these exercises, find ways to adapt. You can almost always do some form of fitness training with a bit of creativity.)
Engage in lifelong learning. You are meant to get better today than you were yesterday. And where you place your focus is critical. For instance, watching sitcoms daily can set you back. This is because sitcoms espouse sarcasm, critical commentaries for laughs, and bad relationship advice. As a result, sitcoms generally harm personal development, in my view.
However, you’ll grow daily by reading books, learning a skill, working on a hobby, learning a language, taking a course, listening to podcasts, composing music, creating a piece of art, writing, and so much more.
For instance, The Voice paid me to research and write on topics such as the following: (1) overcoming severe anxiety, (2) reversing chronic illness, (3) loving unconditionally, and (4) developing better writing skills—all of which helped me recover from anxiety and chronic disease so that I could secure a high-paying career.
You’ve got to get better every day, or you’ll get worse. One missed day of learning is one missed day of growing. It’s like a plant. Stop watering it, and it will eventually die. But, on the other hand, wet it each day, and you’ll end up with lush, beautiful greenery.
I believe a key reason why you are in this world is to learn. So, learn as much as possible each day. That way, you take utmost advantage of the infinite opportunities available.
Your enrollment at AU is a vital step toward lifelong learning, but once you get your certificate, diploma, or degree, don’t stop there. Instead, keep moving toward daily self-improvement.
Develop your spirituality. Recently, I wrote an article on unconditional love during the morning’s wee hours in response to unsettling thoughts. I wrote something like, “No matter what occurs, love everyone and everything, and your purpose will be realized.” Whenever I struggle, I think of these words. Love given to all clears away my clutter.
I believe we are all together in this experience for one key universal reason: to bring each other closer to a place of love. We are all highly significant in playing a role toward this goal. Whether it’s helping a friend, caring for an animal, expressing our love for God (or higher power), or showing compassion, love has an enormous impact on the beauty of this world. Nothing is more worthwhile than expressing love, in my view.
To develop your spirituality, try reading religious texts from multiple religions. Read self-help books. Volunteer for a cause. Engage in acts of kindness. Meditate. Go to a church or temple. From my experience, religious texts will help you develop wisdom, guiding you on your life journey. In addition, religious texts will help you tap into the magnificent beauty of your soul.
Truth be told, the most incredible resource I’ve discovered, in addition to the various religious texts I’ve read, is The Marriage Foundation. This resource has turned my life from tragic to tremendous. I can’t begin to describe the joy I tend to feel daily. My life is now a constant high. The advice from The Marriage Foundation I love most is as follows: the more love you give, the greater the exhilaration you’ll experience.
There is no limit to the love you can feel for anyone. The entire world can hate you, but you can still be bubbling with love for everyone. And that love is beyond beautiful. In my view, the highest level of love you can imagine is not nearly as stunning as the beauty of your soul. You are a unique manifestation of infinite, eternal love. This world needs you!
These above three actions can turn any sorrow into explosions of euphoria. So, when the dark night of the soul hits, as it does for most of us, exercise, engage in lifelong learning, and develop your spirituality. These three actions have the power to illuminate gorgeous, brilliant, eternal light within your darkest moments.