Spiritual health has nothing to do with religion, per se, although your religious practice can definitely be a part of your spiritual health. Rather, spiritual health is about connecting to your deeper sense of self. It’s about finding profound inspiration, and your true purpose. It’s about helping you to feel like your best self, even in the face of stress and adversity. And this week, it’s the pillar of self-care we want to focus on!
Editor’s note: This is part 5 of our 7-part series covering the 7 pillars of self-care. You can read more about the article series in our introductory blog post. The previous pillars discussed the importance of mental health and mental wellness, how exercise is a valuable form of self-care, why healthy eating and nutrition is key, and how to reduce health risks.
What is Spiritual Wellness?
Spiritual wellness is a concept that may be difficult to define, but it’s an important part of overall well-being and health. Spiritual wellness involves more than just physical health; it focuses on the connection between your body, mind, and spirit. It encourages you to take care of yourself spiritually by exploring your beliefs and values, connecting with nature, and becoming aware of the impact of your decisions on others.
“Spiritual wellness acknowledges our search for deeper meaning in life,” explain the medical professionals at AdventHealth. “When we’re spiritually healthy, we feel more connected to not only a higher power, but to those around us. We have more clarity when it comes to making everyday choices, and our actions become more consistent with our beliefs and values.”
What Spiritual Health Looks Like
There’s no right or wrong way to care for your spiritual wellness. For some, it might mean finding purpose in a higher power or specific religious belief system. For others, it’s about disconnecting from the stress of modern life and getting back in touch with nature and the earth. For others, it might mean finding ways to connect on a deeper level to their physical body and mind.
Spiritual wellness includes understanding your own beliefs and values, exploring them, and living in accordance with them. It can involve prayer or meditation, mindfulness practices like yoga or tai chi, journaling or creative expression like drawing or painting. No matter what spiritual practice you choose to explore, the goal is to become more connected to yourself and your sense of purpose.
Benefits of Spiritual Wellness
Practicing spiritual wellness can bring many benefits to your life.
1. Mental Clarity
You may experience improved mental clarity as you become more aware of who you are and what matters most to you.
2. Reduced Stress
Spiritual wellness can help reduce stress by allowing you to connect with your inner selves and release negative emotions that you may be carrying around.
“Hectic days filled with long to-do lists leave us little room for downtime and reflection, explains AdventHealth. “No matter our environment, our minds are constantly buzzing with thoughts and responsibilities. As we move from one task to the next, we can become consumed by the craziness of our lives, and we begin to lose sight of what we’re most passionate about.”
“Without a clear sense of direction, you might slip into feelings of apathy and hopelessness,” warn AdventHealth’s doctors. “If we slow down, reflect, re-energize and cultivate purpose in our life, we rediscover our why. Many spiritual practices have a long history of using inward reflection to increase spiritual connection, compassion, empathy and attention.”
3. Improved Mental Health and Physical Health
Finally, engaging in spiritual practices such as mindfulness can also help improve physical health by reducing inflammation and strengthening your immune system.
“Studies suggest a positive association of spirituality and health behaviors with well-being (especially subjective well-being),” reports a recent study in the peer-reviewed science journal Frontiers in Psychology. “Results show that both spirituality and health-related behaviors are positively related to psychological well-being, and that the relationship with spirituality is also mediated by health-related behaviors.”
Put simply, nurturing your spiritual health inevitably leads to improvements in your physical health and mental health.
Practicing Spiritual Health and Wellness
If you’re looking for ways to practice spiritual wellness in your own life, there are lots of different options available! Some people find solace in prayer or meditation while others prefer creative outlets such as painting or writing poetry.
Other options include:
- Reading and reflection, especially books or religious/spiritual texts that help you feel more connection in the world
- Prayer and meditation
- Connecting with your community, whether it’s religious or secular
- Finding spiritual practices that leave you feeling restored and at peace
Whatever activity resonates with you most will be beneficial – the key is finding something that brings peace and joy into your life while also helping you connect with yourself on a deeper level.