Written by: Jennifer Dennis
Article source: Supplied 

More than 60% of Americans plan on taking a vacation in the summertime, reports American Automobile Association. Moreover, many families see the summer as a unique time to connect with family while strengthening their faith. The Bible itself sees the importance of rest, with many passages pointing to its importance. Mark 6:30-32 speaks of the time in which the apostles returned to Jesus “and He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat…” Disconnecting from the stressors of everyday life is crucial if Christians are to find the peace and calm they need to connect with their rich inner world and feel closer to God. So, how can you lay back and relax while finding ways to honor your faith?

Journaling About Your Stay
When you are out on the beach enjoying a swim or simply lying under the sun, it is very easy to lose yourself in the beauty of the moment. However, taking a few minutes of every day to journal about what you have experienced can help foster gratitude – something that is an integral part of faith. A 2017 study by researchers at the University of Oregon showed that writing down feelings of gratitude in a journal leads to increased altruism. This activity actually affects brain activity, making one more generous to others, than themselves.

Your journal does not have to be written; you can instead show your gratitude through visual journals featuring photos of some of the most joyful experiences you have encountered. You can find inspiration in publications that discuss vacationing topics, which shed light on the importance of escapism and learning from other travelers’ experiences. Sometimes, one person’s experience can be just the motivation you need to set off to a place you have always dreamed of seeing in person.

Finding a Time to Pray
Carl Jung once said that the most powerful symbols of spirituality can be found in nature — such as mountains, oceans, forests. If you are in one of these beautiful spaces and you have a little time to yourself, saying a prayer can help you feel more like part of the greater life force which in itself symbolizes God. When you do so, you can feel a great sense of peace and find your grounding even in the most stressful of times. New research by Cornell University scientists has found that spending just a few minutes in a beautiful natural setting can help you feel happier. Prayer in itself can also boost joy; a University of Wisconsin-Madison study showed that people who pray do indeed manage difficult situations and emotions more efficiently than those who don’t.

Millions of people take at least one break during the busy year in order to slow down, build stronger bonds with others, and hone their faith. Feeling closer to God can involve something as simple as heading for a beautiful landscape and saying a prayer. It can also involve journaling as a way to feel a greater sense of gratitude and generosity. If you can afford to get away for a few days, know that doing so is a magnificent way to lower stress and bring a better, calmer, stronger you to your family, friends, and religious community.

Feature image: unsplash.com

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