How To Overcome Spiritual Apathy

Here are four steps you can take to combat spiritual apathy.

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Is apathy a sin?

Apathy has long been denounced by Christians as a lack of love and devotion to God and his efforts. This version of indifference is known as Sloth, and it is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. The phrase was coined by Clemens Alexandrinus to refer to Christian thinkers who aspired to virtue.

After World War I, when it was one of the several manifestations of “shell shock,” the current idea of apathy became more well-known. When soldiers returned from combat, many developed a sense of detached numbness and apathy to normal social interaction after living in trenches under bombing and machine gun fire, and seeing battlefields strewn with dead and crippled companions.

John Dos Passos, a novelist from the United States, stated in 1950: “Apathy is one of the typical responses of any living creature when confronted with sensations that are too intense or complex to cope with. Comprehension is the antidote to apathy.”

How can I fix my spiritual life?

When trying to put all eight aspects of wellness together, the spiritual aspect of wellness can be the most individualized piece of the puzzle. People, on the whole, like to live lives that have meaning and purpose. When these objectives are attained, it brings peace into one's life and the lives of those around them.

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So, what are some things you may do to increase your spiritual well-being? It's best to experiment with several ways to see what works best for you. Spiritual wellbeing can be reached in a variety of ways, both physically and intellectually, because it involves one's values, beliefs, and purpose.

1. Examine your spiritual foundation. You are merely asking yourself questions about who you are and what you mean when you explore your spiritual essence. Consider the following question: “Who am I?” What is the point of my existence? What am I most passionate about? These questions will lead you down a path where you will think more deeply about yourself and recognize aspects of yourself that will assist you in achieving fulfillment.

2. Search for hidden meanings. Looking for deeper meanings and examining patterns in your life will help you realize that you have power over your future. Knowing this can help you live a happier and healthier life.

3. Get it off your chest. It will be easier to retain a concentrated mind if you express what is on your mind. You may feel befuddled and unable to make sense of your feelings after a long day or an important event. You may be able to think more clearly and move forward if you write down your thoughts.

4. Give yoga a shot. Yoga is a physical discipline that can help you achieve spiritual wellness by eliminating mental and physical stress. Yoga is taught at all levels and can help relieve anxiety, sadness, weariness, and sleeplessness as well as reducing stress, strengthen the immune system, and lower blood pressure.

5. Take a trip. Yes, it is correct! Taking time for yourself to travel to a familiar location or to a new location can do wonders for your mental health. You will have a greater connection with yourself when your mind is able to block out distractions and assist you in reflecting and resting. This allows you to eliminate stressors and retrain your mind to focus on total wellness. Exercising, visiting with a counselor or advisor, meditation, or taking a temporary vow of silence are all activities that can be done while on a trip.

6. Keep an optimistic attitude. You will find yourself thinking differently and shifting your mind to a happy, healthy place once you begin to view things in your life in a good light. You'll discover that you're more comfortable when you eliminate negativity and re-frame how you think about specific things and situations.

7. Set aside some time to meditate. While managing your time and everyday tasks can be difficult, it is critical to make time for yourself. Take five to ten minutes each day to meditate, whether it's first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, or right before bedtime. By incorporating meditation and relaxation into your daily routine, you will be able to clear your mind and strengthen your connection to your spiritual well-being.


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What is spiritual indifference?

What does it mean to be unconcerned? To be indifferent about an issue means that it makes no difference which way you look at it; one method isn't more valuable or important than the other. There is a lack of excitement, concern, or interest in something or someone.

From time to time, we're all ambivalent about certain issues. For lunch, do we want chicken or hamburgers? So, if we like both, we'll say it doesn't make a difference. Would we rather go shopping today or tomorrow? It doesn't seem to make a difference.

These are only a few examples of indifferent attitudes that have minimal impact. Today's lesson emphasizes the significance of paying attention to the things that really important.

As we utilize the Roman soldiers as instances of the mistake of being indifferent at a time when complete attention was needed, we refer to J. Kalas Ellsworth's thoughts and ideas in his work, “Seven Words To The Cross: A Lenten Study For Adults.”

What does apathy feel like?

Apathy is defined by sentiments of disinterest and emotionlessness. 1 The term is frequently used to denote a lack of concern or care, but in the context of mental health, a loss of interest in many elements of life events is frequently an indication of a disorder.

How can I overcome spiritual struggles?

It may seem self-evident, but the solution to any situation is to seek God's help. God already knows what we're going through, and he wants us to come to him with all of our concerns. If there is apparent sin in my life, I must first seek forgiveness from God. However, even when I am not conscious of evident transgressions, God might appear distant. I can still pray to God for assistance. “You make known to me the way of life,” says Psalm 16:11, “and you will fill me with delight in your presence, with endless pleasures at your right side.” I can pray that God will reveal his ways to me and fill me with delight when I am in his presence.

What is the opposite apathy?

Empathy is described as the ability to understand another person's feelings “the ability to comprehend and share another's feelings” — within + feeling or inside + suffering

Apathy is defined as a lack of interest in something “a lack of excitement, concern, or interest” — without experiencing or suffering.

Empathy and apathy, in my opinion, exist on a continuum. Whether one's dot is plotted closer to the empathy or indifference extreme depends on how much one feels another's sentiments.

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To have the greatest amount of empathy (and thus the least amount of apathy), one must feel the sentiments of another with the greatest accuracy and effort. To have the most possible apathy (and the least possible empathy), on the other side, is to have no accuracy in sensing another's sentiments — to simply not attempt at all.

Both of these are important “Modes of being” are contagious because they require the presence of two persons to exist. The term “contagious” refers to the transmission of disease “transmitted via direct or indirect contact from one person to another.” Anyone who chooses to — or is innately oriented to (a distinction I'll explain later) — act with empathy or apathy has the ability to infect those around them.

At its root, I believe the empathy-apathy disposition continuum is responsible for forming organizational and communal culture. And all it takes is one individual to sow the seed.

I recently came across two instances that I believe are excellent illustrations of how one's temperament can both produce and signal the attitudes and behaviors of those around them. Panera Bread first shown empathy, then United Airlines demonstrated apathy.

Empathy at Panera Bread

Brandon Cook, a 21-year-old college student, pays a visit to his grandma in the hospital. She is a cancer patient who is nearing the end of her life. She wants soup but despises the hospital cuisine. Panera's clam chowder is what she really wants.

Brandon adores his grandmother and is well aware that she is nearing the end of her life. Every day, it's difficult to watch her die. He wants to make her happy because he knows it will make him happy as well. Brandon has most likely never tasted his grandmother's hospital food, but he can imagine how horrible it is. He believes she is deserving of better, and he wishes to provide it to her.

Panera's clam chowder is only available on Fridays. Brandon's grandmother wants clam chowder today, although it isn't Friday. He doesn't want to put off getting Grandma what she wants because he doesn't know how much longer she has. What matters now is the present.

Brandon dials the number for the local Panera and requests the manager. The manager listens as he describes the scenario. Brandon's devotion for his grandmother has an impact on the management. She understands how it feels to be on the verge of losing someone you care about, and to want to make them happy in the time you have left. Despite the fact that it is not Friday, the manager chooses to make the clam chowder. She informs Brandon of the time he can pick it up.

The clam chowder is waiting for Brandon when he arrives at the Panera in Nashua, New Hampshire. In addition, the manager presents him with a package of cookies. The manager has never met Brandon's grandmother and has no idea if she likes cookies, but she understands how most people feel about them. Brandon's granny, she imagines, would be even happy with a free and unexpected package of cookies than a cup of clam chowder sent on the incorrect day.

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Brandon is grateful to Panera for assisting him in delivering clam chowder to his grandmother who is dying. The manager not only went out of her way to create the soup for only one customer, but she also offered him a free box of cookies. Brandon imagines that making a large batch of soup on a day when they hadn't intended to was inconvenient. He also believes that giving away free cookies isn't something that Panera does frequently. He sees that the manager was aware of his predicament and sympathized with him. She didn't just want to grant his request; she also wanted to surprise him. She had to genuinely care about him and his grandmother.

Brandon was so affected by the Panera manager's compassion to him and his family that he wanted to pay it forward. He wanted everyone to know what had happened so that they may be as surprised and delighted as he was. Brandon told his pals about the Panera story on his Facebook page. It was the only method he could think of to relay the narrative to as many people as possible.

Brandon's mother, Gail Cook, happened to see his wall post. She admired her son's initiative and profound concern for his grandmother (her mother-in-law), and she was blown away by the Panera manager's warmth and generosity. She imagined that Panera fans and staff all throughout the country would be ecstatic to hear this inspiring story. Brandon's wall post was re-posted on the Panera Bread fan page by Gail.

The tale quickly went viral. Brandon's wall post has nearly 750,000 likes and nearly 32,000 comments less than two weeks after it was published.

Suzanne Fortier is identified as the Nashua manager in an article published by the local Nashua Patch titled Of Clam Chowder and Comfort Food for the Soul. How a Fan Post on Panera's Facebook Page Got Half a Million Likes was written by Adweek, and that link was forwarded to me.

Suzanne claimed that anyone at Panera would have done it, and that she “just happened to be the one to answer the phone.” This can be interpreted in two ways: (1) Panera promotes empathy for others, or (2) working at Panera allows one to maintain and exhibit one's own natural empathy. These, in my opinion, go hand in hand.

Suzanne isn't interested in the spotlight. Empathy's result is self-evident and does not require validation. Suzanne, on the other hand, believes Brandon is the true hero, and it is his love to his grandmother that has had the greatest impact on her. Brandon's mother, Gail, shares this sentiment, claiming that most people his age would not have shown the same affection.

“I believe it touches other individuals because they can relate to the scenario.”

“I had no idea this would take off as quickly as it has.” I'd show my grandmother a Facebook profile if she didn't know what one was… My grandmother's greatest dread was dying alone. I wish I could show her how many ‘friends' she has online and how many prayers she has received.”

Apathy at United Airlines

On her way to summer camp, Phoebe Klebahn, a 10-year-old girl, is flying solo on United Airlines from San Francisco to Grand Rapids, with a stopover in Chicago. She'll be able to catch her connecting flight in plenty of time. No one welcomes her at the Chicago airport when she arrives. She has no idea what she's meant to do or where she should go. She is, after all, ten years old.

Phoebe is afraid and vulnerable as she waits for help. She eventually approaches the gate agents to beg for assistance in locating her next aircraft, but she is ordered to wait. The gate agents are too preoccupied with other customers to notice a 10-year-old girl flying alone. She doesn't have a cell phone, so she asks the agents if she can call home on theirs. They tell her she must wait once more. They keep her waiting for so long that she misses her flight to Grand Rapids.

When she eventually gets an agent's attention, she requests that they call the camp to inform them that she missed the trip and is safe in Chicago. They will call, according to the agent. They never manage to do so. They don't offer to phone her parents, they don't assist her in boarding the following aircraft to Grand Rapids, and they don't inquire as to if she is hungry, thirsty, or wants to use the restroom. No one is willing to assist.

The plane lands in Grand Rapids, and the camp staff is there to greet Phoebe. They are concerned if she does not disembark from the plane. They had not been informed of any changes to the schedule. They inquire about Phoebe's whereabouts by calling her parents.

This is when Phoebe's parents find out she's gone missing. She arrived in Chicago three hours later. They both instantly dial United Airlines in the hopes of finding their daughter. Phoebe's mother contacts an Indian customer service representative, who examines the manifest and concludes that Phoebe is still in Chicago. “I'm confident she'll be alright.” She makes no attempt to contact anyone in the Chicago airport in order to locate Phoebe, and she makes no apologies (despite it not being her fault that Phoebe is lost). When the representative fails to provide a solution, Phoebe's mother requests to meet with her supervisor. She is then placed on hold for 40 minutes before being transferred to a supervisor.

In the meantime, Phoebe's father is speaking with United Airlines. He is connected to a United employee in the Chicago airport since he has Premier status on United's MileagePlus program. When he inquires as to why his daughter missed her Grand Rapids connection flight, the United staffer states she has no knowledge and puts him on wait. She doesn't specify if his daughter is safe or if she is concerned about the tense scenario. When she returns to the phone, she informs Phoebe's father that United Airlines' outsourced unaccompanied-minor service “failed to show up” to transfer Phoebe to her next aircraft. She had no idea why. And she hasn't dispatched anyone to look for Phoebe in the airport.

Unaccompanied minors are not led by United Airlines staff, but rather by a third-party provider, as Phoebe's parents were never informed, either verbally or in writing. They had to pay a $99 fee because Phoebe was traveling alone and under the age of 18.

They're stunned that their 10-year-old has been abandoned and that no one has tried to locate her or console them at this stage. They have no control over their situation. Phoebe's father requests that the United employee locate his daughter. My shift is over, and I'm unable to assist, said the United employee.

Phoebe's father begs the United employee to tell him if she is a mother. Yes, the United staffer confirms. Phoebe's father inquires about what she would do if her daughter disappeared. The United staffer says she understands and will do everything she can to assist. She puts him on wait for 15 minutes while she locates whoever is in contact with Phoebe at the airport. They eventually get her on the phone and learn that she is fine. Phoebe catches a later flight to Grand Rapids and is picked up by her camp without issue. She is startled and upset, and she is far from home, having recently grown up a little faster after witnessing the widespread stupidity of detached grownups.

There's a lot more to this story — lost luggage that took three days to arrive, an impossible complaint process that prevents negative feedback, United Airlines' refusal to acknowledge the blunder until a local NBC TV news reporter came calling — all of which you can read in an appropriately titled post United Airlines Lost My Friend's 10 Year Old Daughter And Didn't Care by Bob Sutton, an organizational blunder expert.

Sutton's background qualifies him to offer a professional perspective on these occurrences, which I thought was insightful:

This is a pivotal point in the plot; note that this woman would not assist Perry and Annie in her capacity as a United employee. She was only able to leave her deeply entrenched United indifference — the system's lack of felt accountability — when Perry asked her if she was a mother and how she would feel. Yes, there are design and operational issues, but the main takeaway for me is that this is a system full of people who don't feel accountable for doing the right thing. We can debate who is to blame and how much – management, in my opinion, is at the top of the list — but I will not absolve any individual staff.

Sutton's article went viral, and the media had a fun day with it. In a follow-up post, Sutton shares United Airlines spokesman Charles Hobart's official statement:

“We apologized promptly to the Klebahns and are looking into the situation.” The Klebahns' description is not representative of the service we strive to provide to our consumers. In addition to refunding the unaccompanied minor charge, we are re-depositing the miles used to purchase the ticket into Mr. Klebahn's account. We value their patronage and hope to have the opportunity to give them with a better travel experience in the future.”

I'd like to reprint United's statement because it is devoid of any understanding or compassion. It's worth noting that it doesn't question any of Annie and Perry's claims, and that no attempt was taken to contact them until United was contacted by NBC reporter Diane Dwyer. Even the statement, as one executive I know said — he works in Global Services, which serves the top 1% of United customers — is a symptom of how deep the denial goes and how shallow the humanity is in the firm.

Despite all of the negative publicity and public uproar, United Airlines has continued to show the deepest conceivable disinterest throughout the company. Each employee's behavior has been continuously depraved, and there is no sign that this will change.


Is it possible for one person to make a difference? Yes, especially when it comes to creating a positive corporate culture.

Remember Newton's third law of motion: there is an equal (in size) and opposite (in direction) reaction to every action. Empathy and indifference are mutually exclusive terms. How we choose to act has an impact on how others act around us, and how others act has an impact on how we act. Empathy is a virtuous circle, while apathy is a vicious circle.

Both of these scenarios featured difficult family dynamics. In one case, a company had educated one of its employees to act compassionately and to bend the rules when she believed it was necessary. In another situation, a business had educated its personnel to act detachedly and to follow protocol at all times. Employees in the former were empowered; in the latter, they were pawns.

Those who are not treated compassionately lose their sense of self. Inevitably, seeing others as human beings deserving of humane treatment becomes difficult.

Employees become capable of experiencing and imparting empathy when an organization treats them with empathy. They return apathy — to customers and coworkers alike — when they receive it.

What are you going to do today to make a difference in the way your company operates? How will you initiate a favorable cycle of events? How will you demonstrate your concern?

How can I strengthen my spirit?

Religion brings spirituality to some people, but it does not bring spirituality to others. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to spiritual well-being. Here are a few ideas to get you started if you're not sure where to start.

According to a Gallup poll, 43% of Americans claim to be members of a church or other religious organization. These houses of worship provide a variety of opportunities for those living with mental illnesses to connect with others in their communities.

Reconnect with someone or an organization that shares your ideas and thoughts, whether online, over the phone, or in person. Find ways to connect with like-minded people in your religion community who can support and encourage you by reaching out to a pastor or spiritual leader.

“Many people's support mechanisms were taken away from them during the pandemic—church, volunteering, support groups,” Wester added. “It was especially difficult for individuals who were already dealing with mental health concerns.” I advise people to reconnect with their religion group as soon as they are physically secure to do so.”

It's fine if you don't have a faith community. Finding a cause that resonates to you and giving back is another way to feel connected to your spirituality and faith. Working in a food pantry, becoming a mentor or tutor, or fostering an animal are all options. As a result, your community will develop and you will be able to meet individuals who share your interests. It will offer you a sense of purpose and thankfulness to serve others.

You don't have to be a yogi to benefit from the practice's spiritual benefits. Yoga is suitable for people of all ages and abilities. It can improve your mind and spirit, as well as strengthen and stretch your body, by lowering stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms.

You don't have to be an expert meditator like you don't have to be an experienced yoga practitioner. Because it takes so little time, meditation is one of the easiest disciplines to keep. “Some people believe you must sit and be silent, but this is not the case,” Wester explained. “You can walk while meditating, paying attention to the sensations of your feet on the ground and the intricacies of your surroundings. Simply slowing down your body can help you calm down your mind.”

Even five minutes of meditation can help you reduce stress, despair, and worry while also increasing your mindfulness. There are numerous fantastic guided meditation applications, such as Calm or Balance, if you need help.

Writing can help you process your emotions, raise your awareness, and provide a nonjudgmental space for you to express your feelings in the present. Start a daily thankfulness notebook with prompts or write down your anxieties and fears.

Spending time in nature, whether you live in the mountains, the desert, or near the ocean, can improve your spiritual health. You can't seem to get away from your phone, your day, and your problems. Even a few minutes spent watching the birds, trees swinging in the breeze, or crashing waves on the shoreline can be relaxing.

Find activities that you enjoy, such as knitting, coloring, cooking, sports, or working out. Focusing on things you enjoy might help you regain a feeling of purpose and stay present in the moment, even if only for a short time.

If you're having trouble connecting with your spiritual side or your mental health, get help from someone who is specially trained or someone you trust.

“Chaplains are specifically equipped to deal with religious issues in a clinical setting,” Wester added. They can assist validate your feelings without sweeping them under the rug. They can help you get back on track spiritually.”

How can I be awakened spiritually?

The spiritual journey—and the resulting “spiritual awakening” we seek—always appears to take place in some exotic location or following a spectacular incident.

Perhaps you believe you need to travel to Peru to drink ayahuasca or leave your spouse to get the spiritual awakening you seek?

From the comfort of your own home, you may connect with your spirituality and awaken to the lessons that are meant for you over and over again throughout your life.