Life can become chaotic over time. Daily habits and routines become intermittent, and we rationalize behaviors that destroy personal discipline, settling for less than our best on a regular basis.
“Just as gardens flourish with regular watering and daily sunlight, our mental health flourishes when there is order in our mind, body and soul,” explained Dr. Beth Plachetka, LCSW, EdD. “Lack of order in each area initiates lack of order in the other two. Ultimately, we feel out of control.”
According to Dr. Plachetka, Lent offers an annual opportunity to restore order in our life. “Traditional Lenten practices from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday lead to developing order in mind, body and soul,” she said. “They include fasting or abstinence, alms-giving or good works, and prayer and meditation.”
Fasting and abstinence, often referred to as self-denial, require setting priorities. We develop new habits by consciously considering what we allow into our body and mind, resulting in smoother decisions and positive effects.
“Alms-giving, or wanting what is best for another, is synonymous with charity,” added Dr. Plachetka. “We often think of monetary donations and acts of service, but charity includes monitoring our thoughts about others and interpreting other people’s actions and words in the kindest way possible. Clarifying and reflecting before responding leads to enhanced relationships and personal serenity.”
Prayer and meditation require a change in perspective from ourselves as the center of the universe to a created being who responds and doesn’t control. Reflecting on our place in the universe decreases stress and allows us to respond more fully and creatively.
“Just as order in a garden leads to a bountiful crop, order in our mind, body and soul produces a life worth living,” said Dr. Plachetka. “During Lent, practice the habits of self-denial, charity, and prayer or meditation that leads to setting priorities, improved relationships, and freedom to respond to life’s opportunities.”
For consultation on this and other topics, contact:
Beth Plachetka, LCSW, EdD
Safe Harbor Counseling
76 S. Main Street, Suite A
Sugar Grove, IL 60554