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.
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.
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.