Spiritual Health: What Is It And How To Improve It

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spiritual health

Nurturing our spiritual health is as important as taking care of our physical and mental health. Learning to care for our spiritual well-being can help to improve our personal & professional lives and help us find meaning and purpose in life.

What Is Spiritual Health?

Our spiritual well-being refers to our principles, beliefs, values and morals that offer a sense of meaning and purpose in life, which regulates our behaviors and actions.

According to a 2018 study, “Spiritual health includes a purposeful life, transcendence and actualization of different dimensions and capacities of human beings.” It creates a healthy balance between the psychological, physical & social elements in our life. Similar to our mental and physical health, our spiritual wellness can vary from time to time depending on our thoughts, emotions and experiences, both positive and negative.

A person’s spirituality is characterized by values, meaning, transcendence, connection with self, others, nature & God, and progress in life. However, finding meaning and personal growth are often dependent on personal experiences and external circumstances. But pursuing spirituality can empower you to make better decisions in life during challenges and changes. It helps us overcome adversities with resilience and inner peace and leads to harmony in our life. Spiritual wellness or health promotes our capacity, creates balance among inner human possibilities and leads to a purposeful life.

Related: Spiritual Awakening: 23 Major Signs and Symptoms

Why Spiritual Health Is Important

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), our psychological, physical, social & spiritual aspects form the core of our existence and result in personal development. Spirituality is the essence of our existence and involves certain immaterial facets of life. It is often experienced through our connection with the Universe or God, our own selves, nature and other humans and animals alike. Spiritual well-being enables us to overcome our vulnerabilities, improve our health and build a positive lifestyle. A 2015 study states that spiritual wellness includes traits of harmony, peace and stability in life and offers “a coordinated and integrated connection between the internal forces.

Spiritual health promotes happiness, life purpose and provides the energy to lead a meaningful life. When our spiritual wellness is threatened or weakened, we suffer from a range of mental and emotional health problems, like stress, burnout, anxiety, depression, loneliness, emptiness, loss of purpose etc. The 2015 study has found that without spiritual well-being, “other biological, psychological, and social aspects of an individual cannot have a proper performance.” When you are spiritually healthy, you take a holistic approach to life and face challenges with a flexible and open mind.

It helps us find comfort, hope and peace in life, even during the darkest phases of life. This is why it is crucial that we learn to nurture and nourish our spiritual health and find balance, purpose and healing.

Related: 16 Symptoms of Spiritual Fatigue and Ways To Cope

Physical, Mental And Spiritual Health Are Connected

Studies have found that spiritual or existential well-being is associated with our health outcomes. Our spiritual awakening and involvement plays a significant & positive role in regulating our mental well-being and physical health as the mind body and spirit are interconnected. We need to nurture our spirit just like our mind and body for optimum overall health. When we are ignorant of our spiritual well-being, it can contribute to the development of various diseases and mental illnesses as spirituality is a way to heal our inner selves. Although spirituality cannot be considered as a cure for illnesses from a medical perspective, research indicates that it plays a primary role in the healing process. 

Spiritual awakening can embolden us to cope with the pain and challenges that are associated with illnesses. One 2021 study revealed that spirituality is “a source of comfort, support and meaning” which improves our sense of existential interconnectedness & belonging and promotes mental health. The study has found that spirituality is closely associated with “having a greater perception of well-being, physical and mental health.” The researchers observed that spiritual health is essential in coping with stressful events, which involves cognitive and behavioral efforts to find purpose, meaning and connection when facing challenges. Positive spiritual or religious coping, along with “intrinsic religiosity and trust in God strongly correlated with less stress and more positive impact,” states a recent research paper. In fact, spiritual wellness is an important factor that helps to reduce levels of depression and perceived stress, found another 2014 study.

Related: What Is Spiritual Depression And How Do You Recover From It

Moreover, spiritual wellness is also positively associated with our quality of life (QOL), according to research. “Spirituality is the essence of a human being. Patients who have good spiritual well-being (SWB) will also have better quality of life,” explains a 2019 study. Our spiritual development is an essential element of our cognitive and psychosocial development, as per research.

How To Boost Your Spiritual Well-Being

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Our mind and body thrives when we nurture our spirit. Although some people engage in religious practices to nourish their spiritual health, there are many other ways to improve your spiritual wellness. Here are a few effective ways that can help you get started –

1. Understand your inner self

The journey to spiritual well-being begins by understanding who you truly are – what defines you. What your values, principles, morals and beliefs are. What your purpose in life is. As we are all unique in our own way, it is crucial that we explore our inner selves and gain divine insight to find our true selves – as God intended us to be. Here are some ways you can learn more about yourself –

  • Explore your personal values
  • Be aware of your thoughts, emotions, needs and desires
  • Note down and journal your thoughts and feelings on a daily basis
  • Enjoy some alone time
  • Visualize about your ideal self
  • Practice self-care
  • Explore & pursue your interests and passions
  • Gain new experiences and learn new skills
  • Ask questions to yourself, like “Who am I?” or “What is my purpose?
  • Take a personality test online (Myers-Briggs, Enneagram etc)

Related: Being Earnest: The Secret Of Awakening and Spiritual Enlightenment

2. Reflect and introspect

Personal reflection and introspection can fuel your spiritual journey as you face the ups and downs of life, which are natural for each one of us. However, during your struggles and celebrations, we must remember to pause and reflect on our values, our purpose and what matters the most to us. Introspection allows us to analyze our own thoughts and behavior patterns. It can allow us to tap into the hidden messages delivered by our soul and strengthen our connection with our inner self. Not only can this help to relieve stress and anxiety, it can also help to have clarity of thoughts, gain new perspectives, make better decisions and find deeper meaning in life. Ask yourself these questions to elevate your spiritual health –

  • What makes me hopeful?
  • What adds purpose and meaning to my life?
  • Is my work aligned with my values and goals?
  • Do I express myself the way I actually want to?
  • How do I react when facing challenges?
  • What are my long term goals in life?
  • Am I aware of how my behavior affects others emotions?
  • How well do I truly connect with God?

Reflection and introspection can help to increase your self-awareness, which is linked to positive psychological well-being, according to research.

3. Meditate

Meditation is one of the simplest and best ways to boost your spiritual wellness. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, meditation can be beneficial for everyone. A simple 10 minute daily routine of mindfulness meditation can help you be more mindful, enhance your awareness, reduce stress, anxiety and depression, and connect your inner spiritual self. Research shows that meditation can also help with spiritual healing. It is practiced by millions of people worldwide, whether they are monks or normal people trying to manage their mental health. If you are new to meditation, simply follow the following steps –

  • Sit comfortably in a quiet, distraction-free place 
  • Bring your attention to your breath and breathe deeply
  • Acknowledge the thoughts that arise and let them pass
  • Every time your mind wanders, bring back your attention to your breath
  • Be kind and gentle with yourself & do not try to calm your mind

Related: How Rest Affects Our Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Health and 5 Tips To Rest Better

4. Practice yoga

Yoga is one of the spiritual practices derived from the orthodox school of Hindu philosophy,” explains a 2012 study. It is a physical and mental training that can significantly help to improve your spiritual health and relive physical and emotional strains. Although you do not need to be an “yogi” to practice this body-mind-spirit technique, you may need to consult a licensed and experienced trainer. Yoga offers a range of mental, physical and spiritual benefits that can help to reduce stress, insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, depression, blood pressure and boost your immune system. Yoga can be practiced at different levels and should be considered more as a holistic lifestyle than a form of exercise. It is an ancient practice for maintaining spiritual well-being.

Research has found that yoga significantly and positively impacts our mind, body and spirit. Yoga practitioners are more likely to report “expressing their spirituality appropriately and in healthy ways,” explain researchers.

5. Volunteer and help others

Another excellent way to nourish and nurture your spiritual wellness is to help those who are in need. Volunteer for a cause that you care about and figure out how you can give back to your community. You can donate to help the poor, volunteer in soup kitchens, visit the elderly, become a tutor for a child, or even help animals get adopted. This will also allow you to meet like-minded individuals and bring more positive energy into your life. Volunteering provides us with a deeper meaning and stronger purpose in life. Studies have found that volunteering is associated with spirituality and “it promotes greater compassion.” You can choose to join a volunteering organization or help others individually in your own way.

Related: How to Start Your Spiritual Journey (7 Illuminating Steps)

6. Learn to forgive and let go

We have all heard the old adage “to err is human, to forgive divine.” Making mistakes is basic human nature, but when it comes to forgiveness, most of us tend to struggle with it. Holding on to people or grudges can dampen our spiritual growth, lead to stress & anger and steal our peace of mind. However, when we practice forgiveness and learn to let go of anger, negative thoughts and emotions we liberate ourselves and invite inner peace back into our lives. Although it is easier said than done, letting go of things that don’t serve you or your goals can help you develop a positive attitude towards life. Forgiveness allows us to move forward, while anger keeps us trapped in a negative mental, emotional and spiritual place. Forgiveness is a crucial step for our spiritual health. It is more about you than about the one who wronged you.

7. Spend time in nature

We are designed to be in nature and not to sit in front of a screen all day. All humans share a special, innate bond with nature and all animals. We are part of a collective divine consciousness and every being is connected with the other, despite what we may believe otherwise. According to a recent 2021 study, connecting with animals can have a positive impact on our mental health and encourages humans to give back to nature and wildlife. The study adds “when people encounter and interact with animals in their natural environment, their mental health and wellbeing is enhanced; feelings of love, belonging, positive feelings, fulfillment and the gaining of perspective, are articulated.

So if you are feeling lost and wish to improve your spiritual health, go out for a walk in your local park, or go for a hike or camping or any activity that allows you to connect with nature and animals. You can travel to the mountains or the beach or simply sit under the cooling shade of a tree and listen to the leaves rustling in the wind. It will empower you to live in the moment and connect with Mother Earth. Studies show that spending time in nature is associated with a wide range of “human health benefits.” 

Related: The Deep Telepathic Connection Between Humans and Animals: How To Read Your Pet’s Thoughts

Here Are Some Other Simple Yet Beneficial Ways To Boost Your Spiritual Well-Being –

  • Connect with your faith and community
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle and avoid substances
  • Gain new knowledge and learn new skills
  • Pursue hobbies and interests, like cooking, art, gardening, sports, photography etc.
  • Speak with someone you trust
  • Practice gratitude and be thankful for what you have 
  • Develop empathy and compassion
  • Unconditionally love and care for others 
  • Increase your self-awareness
  • Go for a vacation and travel
  • Develop a positive mindset
  • Take a break from technology and social media
  • Engage in artistic & creative expressions, like art, dance, music etc.
  • Practice self-love and self-compassion

Spiritual Health Is The Key 

When you enhance and nourish your spiritual well-being with the practices mentioned above, you will be able to unlock the door to inner peace, harmony and happiness. It is only by strengthening our spirituality and being aware of the fact that our mental and physical health are connected with our spiritual health can we find our true selves, understand our life’s purpose and connect with the Universe.

Related: Spiritual Transformation: 9 Signs You’re Evolving

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