It wasn’t until recently that spiritual health was considered an important component of wellness. Probably because it’s so dang hard for us to understand, and that there are so many different definitions of spirituality. Some say it’s our ability to “deal with day-to-day life in a manner which leads to the realization of one’s full potential; meaning and purpose in life; and happiness from within.” Others say it’s “one’s sense of purpose, life’s meaning, our relationship to other people and a self-awareness to these things.” Looks like we’re seeing a common theme – ‘meaning and purpose in life’. WHOA. Does anyone know their meaning and purpose in life? That’s the ultimate question, isn’t it?
Some of you might be saying, ‘yeah, I know why I’m here and what I’m meant to be doing.’ Many of you might be like, ‘I have no flipping clue what my purpose is.’ And that’s okay. Reading this won’t likely bring you closer to figuring it out. But we hope to shed some light on how to be spiritually healthy! Personally, we feel that our purpose and meaning might be ever evolving with our lives and adapting to our current circumstances; and even then, it’s different for every one of us. For many, their spiritual life comes from their faith, their religion, and their belief in a Higher Power. For others, it comes from their connection with nature, with other human beings, through serving others, or from living a life true to their beliefs and moral values. And I’m sure you’ve heard more than one person say their family is their purpose. Whatever it may be, we do know that having some level of spiritual belonging supports not only our physical health, but our overall wellbeing.
It’s been found that positive beliefs, comfort, and strength gained from religion, meditation, or prayer can contribute to wellbeing and support healing. Having a strong spiritual connection may improve stress control by offering better coping mechanisms, richer social support, and the strength of personal values and worldview (this stress thing keeps popping up every week, doesn’t it?). People who identify with a spiritual belonging have a more positive outlook and improved quality of life. And if you’re one who enjoys meditation, 10-20min of meditation daily has been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure, leading to decreased anxiety, depression, insomnia, and chronic pain.
It may be that we don’t have one specific purpose in life, and that we never truly understand the meaning of life. Even so, identifying the things in our lives that give us a sense of peace, comfort, strength, love, and connection brings us closer to our spiritual selves and supports this dimension of wellness. In a world where we have daily objectives to meet, societal standards to uphold, and seemingly never-ending to-do lists, the pressure and anxiety can build up quickly. Being spiritually healthy allows us to step back from this hustle and bustle. To realize that the to-do lists, the business meetings, and the deadlines really don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things; because we have an intimate feeling of belonging to a purpose bigger than ourselves – whatever that may be.
For many, this aspect of wellness may be a bit intimidating, or perhaps uncomfortable. Even so, this global pandemic is providing us the extra time or motivation to give a little TLC to our spiritual being. We may have more time now than ever before to do the things that help us spiritually on a daily basis. These might be providing community service or volunteer work, praying, meditating, singing or playing music. It might be reading, taking nature walks, having quiet time, doing yoga, playing a sport, or attending (virtual) religious services. It’s not a coincidence that what supports us spiritually is also what we find joy in doing!
So, allow yourself some time every day to enjoy the activities that bring you peace and comfort. If you know what those are, great! If you’re still trying to figure that out, awesome! Whatever you do, stick with it; and reflect on how it makes you feel – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Again, we thank you for following along during our Eight Dimensions of Wellness series; and we hope you are gaining useful knowledge! Please let us know your thoughts, questions, and feedback.
Stay tuned next week as we delve into our reading on the Emotional Dimension: Coming to terms with it all.
Elle and Taylor