Spiritual Wellness and the Impact on Your Life
What is Spiritual Wellness?
Spiritual wellness plays a bigger role in your life than you may think. It refers to an understanding of your true nature – who you are, where you came from, where you’re going and why you’re here. Purpose and spiritual wellness go hand in hand.
How is your spiritual health? Do you feel a sense of purpose? Joy? Commitment? Inner peace? Is your outlook on life positive or negative? Do you feel helpless, hopeless or empty? Are you apathetic, anxious and feel you have no control over your life?
Negative thoughts and feelings may be a result of spiritual poverty.
A longing for meaning and purpose can leave you frustrated and unhappy – or spiritually unwell – without you being able to put a finger on why you’re feeling “off.”
If you feel that your life is out of balance, that you are not in harmony with yourself and others, you may consider some form of spiritual practice to regain your sense of inner peace and purpose.
Studies have shown that spiritual or religious involvement was directly linked to better physical, emotional and mental health in senior citizens – particularly noticeable around the holidays, when many people can succumb to serious depression and elderly death rates skyrocket.
What Fulfills You Spiritually?
Spiritual wellness can have different meanings for different people. If you are a member of a religious tradition, then you find comfort and understanding through its teachings; you are well spiritually when you have found your place or your meaning of life through the teachings of your faith.
If you are happiest in Nature, you find that you best understand yourself in terms of your place in the natural world and on a larger scale, the universe. For some, a walk in the woods is as close to God as they can get as physical beings. For others, it may be the presence of animals or plants in their lives.
If you find meaning and purpose through service to others, then you live in a state of harmony with yourself and the world when you are happily engrossed in such activities. You have found your place in the world through service. Volunteerism, group activities (clubs, societies, etc.) social activism or advocacy, and consciously contributing to society are just some ways to feel spiritual wellness if this is what ‘speaks’ to you.
An organized religion with a strong spiritual tradition can provide the insights and teachings you need to take you to a place of peace and understanding; or, you may feel intensely put off by organized religion. Don’t feel that you are not going to fulfill your spiritual needs if you feel in your heart it is not right for you to become part of a religion!
The mind/body/spirit needs to be in balance for you to live a healthy and fulfilled life – but what is “balanced” and “right” for one person may not be for another. For example, those who appear to be dedicated to making money and living a life of luxury may not be spiritually fulfilled – and yet, they may be! What if their work creates better lives for others, or helps the environment – to them, long hours are spiritually fulfilling and if their efforts allow them to enjoy the finer things in life, then who’s to judge that? Obviously not everyone who is wealthy is spiritually well – but they are not necessarily spiritually poor either. The proof is in their happiness and sense of fulfillment.
The point is this: when you’re seeking spiritual wellness and balance in your own life, look within. Don’t compare yourself to others. You may not feel fulfilled doing volunteer work because your talents are better put toward some other use that is fulfilling and meaningful to you, such as sharing your creative talents, teaching, etc. – so don’t let others tell you that you have to do volunteer work or any other activity (including attending religious services) in order to be spiritually well!
Spiritual wellness – whatever that means to you – has a huge impact on the quality of your life. If you are unsure of how you should go about fulfilling your spiritual needs, some time spent in contemplation (or prayer, if you will) is going to help. Meditation, being in Nature, or prayer in a holy place can point you in the direction that is right for you.
If something catches your eye and resonates with you, explore it further. If not, DO NOT force yourself to do it just to please your family or anybody else. We each have a unique purpose and a unique path. You have the right to choose your avenue of spiritual fulfillment and wellness so that you can best share your talents and make a meaningful contribution!
Some ways to help improve your spiritual wellness:
- Take time for yourself every day. Do what you are passionate about, what is meaningful to you, or just ‘be’ with yourself in meditation, prayer, contemplation or an activity that makes you happy.
- Be open to spiritual experiences – they’re often unexpected and if you allow them they are very powerful.
- Cultivate an open mind. This means being non-judgmental (remember the example of the person who appears to be focused on making a bazillion dollars yet is very fulfilled spiritually…)
- Practice forgiveness, compassion and understanding.
- Don’t complain, blame, make excuses or gossip.
- Be open to all experiences, good and bad. Pain and sorrow are a part of life. If you work on seeing the good in all that happens – the silver lining – you are going to be much better off spiritually than if you spend your energy focusing on the bad.
- Pray, meditate and allow yourself to be open to the unknowable. Explore the ‘limits’ of your mind; learn to know, to understand, on an intuitive level rather than the logical (some things, like ‘infinity’ cannot be comprehended by logical thought).
- Live joyfully. You are not in this life to complain, worry and blame. You are here to create a meaningful, joyful life.