So you’ve made a spiritual breakthrough. You’ve suddenly gained insight into your own personal growth or a larger purpose that has made you feel more balanced, more connected and wiser. Or, perhaps you’ve recently felt these emotions and are now feeling at something of a loss. Do you feel as though your personal discovery isn’t fitting with your daily life after your spiritual awakening? Are you struggling to carry on as normal? If so, you may well be experiencing a ‘spiritual hangover’.
Blogger Ariane Hunter perfectly describes the process of the spiritual hangover:
“As you re-evaluate everything in your life, you find yourself feeling exhausted and completely drained. Your mind is on overload, your body is tense, and your emotions have just gone through the ringer.”
Emilie from Puttylike points out that these emotions are common not only after spiritual breakthroughs, but also following achievements and highs of any sort. She poses the questions:
“Do you ever work really hard at something, only to reach your end goal and then feel… well, a little underwhelmed? You wonder what happened to that sense of accomplishment you had been working toward and you may even feel guilty for not being able to appreciate all your hard work and the praise you’re receiving from others.”
Emilie explains that there is a common pattern surrounding personal highs. First is the “initial thrill of working toward something you are passionate about”. This is followed by the feeling of “underwhelm once that thing is finally complete”, and finally the “slowly returning satisfaction and sense of gratification”. Although in most cases we do eventually reach this sense of gratification and growth after a spiritual breakthrough, sometimes the ‘comedown’ period can put a dampener on your sense of achievement. If you aren’t prepared to deal with one, it may last longer than necessary – but it certainly doesn’t need to hinder your overall spiritual growth. Here are our top tips for dealing with a spiritual hangover…
Take a moment to reflect
Ariane says that immediately after a spiritual awakening, people should take a moment to reflect upon their experience and register exactly what is happening to them. She says: “Tune into your body and resist the urge to react right away. This is the ego’s need to move too quickly rather than rest in this new state of being. We run the risk of acting too impulsively or thinking we have it all figured out before we’ve really taken the time to connect with this new realization.”
Taking this time to sit with your spiritual realisation and let it sink in will prevent your new understanding from dissipating before you have a real grasp on it, which would leave you feeling particularly unfulfilled. The more you are aware of your feelings and understanding at this stage, the more you can look back to it as you adjust to normal life once more.
Talk to someone about your realisations
The next thing to do is to share your experience. Not only is this the perfect way to really unpick the new knowledge you have acquired through your spiritual experience, but it will also help others by sharing your newfound wisdom. Ariane urges, “When you’re ready, talk to 2 or 3 trusted friends or a mentor about what you’ve discovered. Sharing your experiences with others who can understand what you’re going through will be extremely important. This creates a healthy sense of validation which will be so vital to you in this process.”
One of the best ways to talk through your spiritual experience is to go for a psychic reading. Here, a trained professional can coach you through your discoveries, telling you exactly what your spiritual revelation means and how you can implement your new knowledge into your life going forward.
Remind yourself that you deserve to feel pride
Emilie comments that there is huge importance in simply allowing yourself to feel fulfilled after an achievement – spiritual or otherwise. She says, “Learning to give yourself praise will also help lessen the feeling that you are undeserving of happiness. Become okay with feeling proud and content. You have worked hard and you deserve to feel good about yourself.” If you don’t allow yourself this luxury soon after your spiritual awakening, you may feel resentful or at a loss later on.
Stop deriving validation from others
One of the main causes of a ‘spiritual hangover’ is what individuals perceive to be the negative influence of others. You may feel like a new person with new values, but the people you interact with on a daily basis may not have had the same realisations, which can be frustrating. It is important to remember that you cannot expect everyone to understand your new values immediately.
However, more important is reminding yourself not to value the worth of your experience on others’ opinions. Emilie advises that “allowing our emotions and our sense of self to be swayed so easily by other peoples’ reactions is dangerous. If our self-esteem is at the whim of other people’s opinions, then our emotions are going to wax-and-wane constantly, depending on what others say. Plus, we are never going to feel fulfilled as we will always be looking outside for that continuous validation.” Remember that it is your own feelings about your spiritual awakening that count, and yours alone.
Set new goals
Once you have come to terms with your new level of spiritual connection, you may begin to feel frustrated as the spiritual comedown sets in and you lose that sense of fulfilment. Emilie recommends that the best way to overcome this is by setting new goals. She says, “The sooner you get your mind off the old project and onto a new goal, the sooner this feeling of disappointment will go away.” Don’t rush to make the next discovery so quickly that it all passes you by, but keep in mind your next goal for spiritual growth and you will be left with the optimism and inspiration that motivates self-development.
Accept that it’s ok
As David Markus explains in his article “Spiritual hangover: Coming down from the mountain”, achieving the balance of exploration and rest is important in all aspects of spiritual life:
“Too much and we risk burning out; too little and we risk fizzling out. Just as tides wash in and out, so does spiritual intensity. That’s why we need mountain tops and gently rolling plains, peak experiences and routine, moments that stand out and later places and spaces that reflect awareness back to those peak moments from exactly where we are.”
Markus argues that this feeling of deflation after a notable achievement or spiritual breakthrough is necessary. He says, “We must return after the peak experience of the High Holy Days. We must feel some sense of spiritual hangover, burnout or let down. This is the very downdraft that propels us into the rest of our year, and prompts us to seek meaning”. He continues, “This gentle return to “real world” routine is a key spiritual goal in itself” – we should not be striving for a constant epiphany, but for ways to improve ourselves and use a spiritual awakening to be better in our everyday lives.
Remain spiritually open
Ariane suggests that the last hurdle in overcoming a spiritual hangover is often the most important. She says that it is essential to be open to what comes next: “After the hangover is long gone and you’re left with this lasting new wisdom, you will be drawn to new ideas, possibilities, and experiences. Be willing to try, create, and experiment with it all.”