When I hear the term ‘spirituality’, I think of new age rituals, and pagans dancing naked in the woods. For others, the term is wholly synonymous with religion.
But spirituality is more than this, and it’s essential for all of us.
Don’t worry – I’m not suggesting that you head for the nearest green space and shed your clothes. That would be like saying that the only way to increase your physical health is to run a marathon or to climb Mt Everest.
But there are many elements to these spiritual practises that can benefit your wellbeing.
Read on to understand what spiritual wellness is, why it’s important, and how you can improve yours.
What is spiritual wellness?
Spiritual wellness encompasses a number of things, but ultimately it refers to living in accordance with our personal beliefs and values, finding meaning in life and feeling a sense of purpose.
It is important that our external environment is in tune with our spirit, or we will start to feel conflicted.
Elements of spirituality can include: religion, values, ethics, morals, self awareness.
Spiritual wellness is also closely related to many other areas of wellness. Because spiritual wellness is concerned with our life’s meaning and purpose, it can be impacted by our ability to find a balance in all areas of our life.
What are the benefits of spiritual wellness?
Spiritual wellness brings a range of benefits, from improving yourself, to improving your relationships, to improving your health. It can even make you live longer!
Below are some of the benefits of spiritual wellness:
- Reduces the impact of stress (source)
- Reduces the risk of depression (by half, according to this study)
- Increases life expectancy (by 37% – source)
- Lower blood pressure (source)
Often spirituality is practised as a community – for example Christians attending church. However, even when practised individually, spirituality usually has a strong element of social justice.
- Improves compassion
- Encourages self-improvement
- Encourages gratitude
- Promotes optimism and positivity
So how can you improve your spiritual wellness and start enjoying these benefits?
How to improve your spiritual wellness
The key to spirituality is that it is personal to you, in line with your beliefs, values and sense of self. Therefore the first step towards improving your spiritual wellness is to understand yourself. There are some suggestions in the next section to help you reflect upon this.
Once you have a better understanding of your spirituality, you can take steps to nurture it. There are some ideas of how you can do this in the next section.
Finally, because spiritual wellness relies upon your external environment being aligned to your true self, there are some goals to help foster relationships and community.
Don’t forget the GoalGetting workbook walks you through the process from goal-setting to success. If you want some help to take these concepts and make them into tangible goals and then make them happen, grab yours today.
Goals to help you improve your spirituality
Understand your spirituality
The first step to improving your spiritual wellness is to understand your own spirituality.
To do this, take some time to reflect upon:
- What makes you happy
- Who do you like to spend time with, and why?
- What inspires you?
- What are you most proud of?
- What are you passionate about?
These questions will help you to understand what is important to you, and help you to determine your values.
There is more information on determining your values in this Mindtools article.
Nurture your spirituality
Once you’ve identified your values and understand what is important to you, make sure that you are making time for these things in your life. See the article Make it Happen for tips on making time for things that are important to you.
Another element to spirituality is getting in touch with your inner self. Try these ideas to help you self reflect:
- Practise Yoga.
- Keep a journal. Use journal prompts to give you ideas to reflect upon.
- Talk to a close friend. They may have insights about you that you hadn’t realised.
- Talk to someone whose spirituality you admire. What can you learn from them?
- Read inspiring stories and essays.
Develop strong communities
Spirituality also incorporates your sense of social justice. Try the following ideas to help to enhance this.
- Volunteer. Choose a cause that aligns to your values.
- Random acts of kindness.
- Prioritise relationships, and what you can give in these.
- Respect, love, forgive. Accept, don’t judge.
- Practise gratitude
- Stand for justice. Advocate.
- Attend religious services.
- Be calm in difficult situations, and help others to be calm.
Spiritual wellness is perhaps one of the hardest to attain, being less tangible than the others. However, it is arguably one of the most beneficial, given its holistic nature.
What do you do to nurture your spiritual wellness? Has this article inspired you to try something new? Leave me a comment below to let me know.
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