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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Spiritual Deficit Disorder

Spiritual Deficit DisorderHave you ever heard of Spiritual Deficit Disorder (SDD)? Until recently, I hadn’t. What does it mean? It sounds like Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Is it similar to that? It turns out, it’s a bit like ADD of the spirit, when we are so distracted by life: goals, deadlines, pursuit of material goods and status, that these things take on a greater importance than our spirituality and we lose sight of ourselves and impair the connection to their spirit. A large majority of the population likely suffers from Spiritual Deficit Disorder (SDD), even those who may seem to be the happiest.

SDD is the result of constantly feeling under pressure and stress. Feelings of being overwhelmed by work, family, finances, and competing with societal expectations can all contribute to a fracturing of the spirit from the self, where physical gains become more important spiritual expansion. SDD occurs when individuals lose the connection to their spirit and are driven primarily by seeking validation of that which is external.

Symptoms of SDD can include: substance use, process addictions, fatigue, irritability, resistance to awakening in the morning, self-doubt, feeling “not enough,” lack of passion, lack of meaning and direction, boredom with work or educational pursuits. All of these symptoms can take a toll on the body, relationships, family, and career, and can even manifest in chronic disease.

No matter how successful a person is, if they suffer from SDD, they feel empty inside, like they are missing something. That feeling of missing something can cause further stress, creating a perpetuating cycle of feeling “not enough.”

So, what is the remedy for SDD? It turns out, it’s pretty basic. We need to slow down and attempt to reconnect with that which is most important to us. If look carefully at what we are prioritizing in our lives, compared to that which is most important to us, odds are they may not even be on the same wavelength. With direct revelation, our hearts of hearts will let us know the truth of our realities. But we can’t even make that discernment until we slow down and take a moment to analyze what we are doing with our time. It’s the persistent, invasive, nagging thoughts and habits that really drive us to separate from our hearts, spirits, and well-being.

But how do we slow down when there’s so much to do? Here are a few ideas:

1) Breathe. When you breathe deeply from your diaphragm, you automatically invite your body to relax, to let go, and to surrender into the present moment.

2) Stay in the present moment. When you become distracted, try to gently bring your awareness back to your breathing and take some deep breaths.

3) Take time for yourself! Try to find at least 10 minutes a day just for yourself. Do this with absolute consistency. Participate in a hobby you enjoy, take a bath, enjoy a sunset, take a walk in nature, gaze at the stars, listen to music, meditate. Just do something for yourself for 10 minutes every single day. 

4) Express gratitude. When you wake each morning, think about and even say out lout that which you are grateful in your life. Pay attention to what you are grateful throughout the day. Close your day in gratitude and review what you were grateful for throughout the day before going to sleep.

Spiritual Deficit Disorder is a serious ailment which, if left untreated, can cause serious impairments to health, relationships, and overall well-being. The good news that the remedy for this disorder can be fairly simple, it just requires attention to the matter, a desire to change, and consistency in practicing change.

Heather Smyly, BS

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