Maintaining a spiritual outlook and becoming a spiritual champion can be challenging for anyone. Even if you meditate, do yoga, practice mindfulness, and, are kind to others on the regular. The stress of everyday life can cause even the most spiritually minded among us to become angry, curse, roll our eyes, and/or scream in frustration. Of course, it’s normal to slip up every now and again. We are, after all, mere humans – perfect only in our imperfection.

Since marking the Autumn Equinox on 23 September, those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere are squarely into fall. As the earth tilts farther away from the sun, the days are shorter and cooler. Regardless of where you are in the world, however, there’s one reality we all share – as hard as it is to believe, there are only three months left of 2019.

By now, the enthusiasm and excitement we felt at the beginning of the year may have faded, along with those hopes and dreams for this year that haven’t yet become a reality. With less than 100 days left to make good on the promises we made to ourselves in January, some people may be feeling anxious and stressed – not to mention the fact that the holidays will soon be upon us. As our beginning-of-the-year openness and inspiration turns into end-of-year frustration and anxiety it can be particularly difficult to maintain your spirituality. When faced with the added pressures and stress that come with end-of-the-year expectations around whether or not you’ve met your yearly goals, planning for the holidays, buying gifts, overindulging in food and drink, and spending time with family and friends you might not otherwise see and/or like, it can all feel rather forced.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and concerned about how you’re going to get through this these last few months of the year without losing your spiritual connection, I’ve got you.

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Exhale slowly and relax. The most important thing to remember is that you always have a choice. No one makes you do, say, or feel anything. In fact, what you do, say, and feel is ultimately up to you.

With that in mind, here are three ways you can become a spiritual champion at any time of year.

Refrain from Judgment

If only your mother saw the world through your eyes. Or, maybe it’s your cousin Bob, who wears the most ridiculous outfits that you find embarrassing. Or, perhaps you wish that people, in general, wouldn’t be so mean, greedy or obsessed with money. Whoever or whatever it is that rubs you the wrong way, remember to refrain from judgment.

Friends, family, and the strangers you meet on the street are doing the best they can with what they have, just like you.

Before you rush to judge, stop and think – where is this person coming from? Is there another way to see this person and/or issue? We are all a product of our environment, how we were raised, and how we see the world. Maybe your grumpy relative has always felt like they don’t matter. Or, your cousin Bob feels really good when he wears the clothes you find embarrassing. Maybe those people you see as mean, greedy, and obsessed with money grew up without any and donate 50% of their income to charity.

Be open to being wrong and/or disagreeing. Express how you feel and ask questions instead of making assumptions. And, don’t take things personally – what people say and/or do is usually about them and how they feel about themselves – it’s got nothing to do with you.

Be Open and Curious About Life

Do you look at the ground when you walk? Stick to your schedule like you’ll be jailed if you don’t? Because if you do, you are missing out on a world of infinite possibilities. Instead, I challenge you to be more open and curious about life.

Whether you’re heading into Fall or Spring, I encourage you to look up and embrace the world around you. Make eye contact with other people. Smile, and say ‘hello,’ to strangers, even if they don’t return the gesture. Even better, consider smiling at the world, in general, whether you’re in your car, walking down the street, or, at work or at home, for no other reason than you can.

Opening yourself to the world around you not only connects you to the people and places immediately surrounding you – it also connects you to the energy of the Universe. It inspires your intuition to guide you to the experiences and lessons you need to have and learn as you continue along your path.

Practice Love

Choose love. Lead with love. Always.

It’s such a simple idea. Yet so profound. Imagine what the world could be if we all tried to love one another? It’s easier than you think.

If you find someone or something pushing your buttons, just stop. Take a moment to gather yourself and your thoughts. Whatever you end up doing or saying, make sure it comes from your heart. Consider responding with words – carefully and thoughtfully, instead of reacting with an eye roll, a raised voice, waving arms, a thrown object, or, any other action.

We are all flawed. We are all our own brand of crazy. And we all just want to be loved and accepted for who we are. The things we see in others are reflections of what we don’t like in ourselves. Remember that.

Love yourself. Love others. Love the traffic. Love the frustration. Love the broken glass. Love the spilled coffee and the ruined shirt. Love the detour that causes you to be late for an important meeting. The present moment is all we have. Love it and whatever happens in it like it was meant to be. Because it was.

I hope you use these practices to become the spiritual champion you were always meant to be. Over the years, they’ve helped me remain the spiritual champion I am today, especially during the stressful times of year.