Of the Seven Dimensions of Wellness, perhaps the most oft overlooked is Spiritual Wellness. Spiritual Wellness refers to the acts of seeking meaning and purpose in life, pursuing a fulfilling life, and contributing to the spiritual health of others.
Spiritual Wellness is an understanding of your true nature – who you are, where you came from, where you’re going and why you’re here. The process of incorporating spiritual wellness into one’s life can range from attending church, to traveling, to practicing meditation.
Your “spirit” is the deepest part of you; the part that allows you to discover meaning in the world, providing a sense of identity and purpose in life. A multitude of factors have a role in defining spirituality: religious faith, beliefs, values, and moral principles. Spiritual Wellness involves developing awareness of right and wrong, living with compassion towards others, and learning to appreciate the breadth and depth of life.
The spiritual immune system is consistently weakened by toxic patterns and attitudes,negatively impacting your ability to live in a harmonious relationship with the world around you.
Persistent negative thoughts and feelings may be a result of spiritual bankruptcy. Constantly searching for meaning and purpose can leave you discontented – spiritually unwell – unable to pinpoint why you’re feeling that way.
Some questions to help self-assess Spiritual Wellness:
- Do you take time alone for introspection, and to reflect on your life?
- Do you have clear, defined morals, and act accordingly?
- Are you able to explain your beliefs and why?
- Do demonstrate care for the welfare of others and the environment?
- Do you practice forgiveness and compassion in life?
What do you do about it?
Studies have shown that spiritual or religious involvement can be directly linked to better physical, emotional and mental health in many people, especially senior citizens – particularly noticeable around the seasonal change heading towards the holidays, when many people succumb to serious depression, and when death rates for the elderly escalate.
If you feel as though your life is lacking balance; like you are not in harmony with yourself and others, you may consider some form of spiritual practice to regain your sense of inner equilibrium.
Some ways to practice spirituality are to:
Think positively. Once you start to view aspects of your life in a positive manner, you will find yourself thinking differently and better able to refocus your mind to a happy, healthy state. Eliminating negativity and learning to re-frame how you think of certain things and situations, will result in you being more relaxed.
Look for deeper meanings. Searching for deeper meanings in your life, and identifying and analyzing patterns helps you realize you have control over your destiny. Being aware of this helps achieve a happier and healthier lifestyle.
Express and Release. Expressing what is on your mind will help you to maintain a focused mind. After a long day or a significant event, you may feel confused and not be able to make sense of your feelings. By writing down or speaking aloud your thoughts, you may be able to gain clarity and move forward. Also, you must learn to let things go- to release- and not to ruminate over inconsequential happenings or circumstances beyond your control.
Take time to look inside. Managing your time and daily tasks can be hard, however it remains crucial to allot time for connecting with yourself- for contemplation. In the morning when you wake up, during your lunch break, or before you go to sleep, take five to 10 minutes DAILY to meditate, reflect or affirm. Fitting mediation and relaxation into your lifestyle will free your mind and foster a stronger relationship with your spiritual wellness. Affirmations are positive statements made to yourself; affirming your desires and intents to yourself and world around you. Through the repetition of affirmations, they steadily become beliefs and come into being.
Cultivating a habit of awareness is one of the keys to unlocking your Spiritual Wellness. Learning to become aware of your body, thoughts, and feelings ultimately makes you more fully engaged in whats actually happening in the present.
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-O. Salim Thornton, CWC, TCI