Amy Eksteen

Wellness Series Part 6

This week we will be focusing on a wellness dimension that is often overlooked, yet so important to who we are as individuals and vital to our overall health and wellness – our Spiritual Wellness.

The conversation regarding the topic of wellness is mainly about leading a satisfying life where one is able to find balance, wholeness and happiness, which often includes finding meaning and individual purpose. These factors are much like the factors found behind spiritual wellness specifically. For example, volunteering, positivity, gratitude and optimism, contributing to society, connecting with others, feeling a sense of belonging and practicing acts of self-care – you could say that our spiritual wellness is one of the main reasons we are able to reach a place of true life satisfaction (UCDavis and Smith, 2016).

It is important to note that our spiritual well-being is not solely based on religious practice and beliefs. However, religious views may be one way that can add value to our personal spiritual wellness journeys (Geary, 2014).

“Spiritual wellness, put simply, is about being connected to something greater than yourself” (Smith, 2016).

With that being said, our spiritual well-being is about discovering and choosing a set of values, principles, morals and beliefs that provide a sense of purpose and meaning to our lives. It is then about choosing to use those principles to guide our decisions and actions. They are also there to help us define our spirituality and enjoy our spiritual health (Smith, 2016).

The human spirit is seen as one of the most neglected aspects of who we are as people. This could be because our spiritual dimension isn’t easily seen, therefore it makes it difficult for us to prioritise in our day-to-day lives. However, just as we exercise our bodies to remain healthy, we also need to exercise our spirit. After all, our spirit is the aspect of ourselves that can carry us through anything. It is able to bring us peace, understanding and purpose, especially during adversity (University of New Hampshire).

Spiritual wellness can also help us to make better decisions and choices as well as it can help us to cope during times of change while also building our resilience. Looking after our spiritual health can even help us to heal when facing physical and/or mental challenges (Smith, 2016).

Our spiritual wellness is so important because it allows us to be connected to our inner most being – our spiritual selves. This allows us to find balance and harmony between who we are and our place in the world. It also allows us to appreciate all of our life experiences, whether they are big or small (Geary, 2014).

The journey to spiritual wellness is ultimately an individual and personal experience (Geary, 2014). The journey can in fact be a lifelong process that is based on unique circumstances and experiences. Along with the other dimensions of wellness, an individuals level of spiritual wellness will often change throughout their life. It is also normal to experience many positive and negative emotions along the path to spiritual wellness like hope, forgiveness, acceptance and joy and/or doubt, fear, disappointment and conflict (Smith, 2016).

When striving to develop and prioritise your own spiritual wellness, it is therefore best to find the approach that works best for you since it can be a subjective, individual experience. For example, some people follow specific religious practices, while others may look after their spiritual health through seeking a sense of harmony and self-awareness (Smith, 2016).

Signs of Spiritual Wellness:

  • Developing/discovering a purpose in life
  • Self-reflection
  • Reflecting on the meaning of life events
  • Having a sense of right and wrong and acting accordingly
  • Having the ability to explain why you believe what you believe in
  • Caring and acting for the welfare of others and the environment
  • Being able to practice forgiveness and compassion (University of New Hampshire).

Spiritual wellness is said to have an unavoidable impact on our lives – our spirituality allows us to sought after peace needed to get through whatever life brings our way, no matter what our beliefs are or where we may be on our own spiritual journeys (University of New Hampshire).

Spiritual wellness also includes learning about and being tolerant of the beliefs, views and opinions of others. Our spirituality allows us to strive to live in a way where we are able to stay true to who we are along with our own values and beliefs while always being considerate of others (Rolling Green Village, 2018).

Some Benefits of Spiritual Wellness:

  • Relaxation – reducing stress, depression and anxiety while boosting the immune system
  • Affirmation
  • Compassion
  • The capacity for love and forgiveness
  • Altruism
  • Joy
  • Hope
  • Fulfillment
  • Self-awareness and self reflection
  • Community and a sense of belonging
  • Self-care acts – partaking in meditation, yoga and various relaxation techniques (Rolling Green Village, 2018 and Cratejoy, 2019).

Having a spiritual community is also one of the most beneficial things to have, for example, a church support group or grief group. Community can be an amazing source of support, especially during challenging and/or confusing times (Rolling Green Village, 2018).

25 ways to prioritise your Spiritual Wellness:

  1. Spend time praying
  2. Read your bible – prioritise ‘quiet time’
  3. Meditate
  4. Practice mindfulness
  5. Practice deep breathing
  6. Do self-reflection exercises in your journal
  7. Use your time to volunteer
  8. Learn about other religions, spiritual beliefs, traditions and cultures – expand your awareness of your surrounding world and therefore your self-awareness
  9. Spend some time in nature
  10. Express your individuality in a creative way
  11. Worship
  12. Keep/start a journal
  13. Join a group of like-minded people
  14. Know personal ways that you can prioritise ‘me-time’
  15. Practice gratitude
  16. Research the meaning of your name
  17. Write a bucket list
  18. Write down 3 things you want to accomplish in your life time or in the next 5/10 years
  19. Think of what your life motto would be
  20. Write out a list of 5 strengths and 5 areas you would like to grow in
  21. Spend time at a museum
  22. Spend time at a library
  23. Save and plan for a holiday – prioritise travelling
  24. Catch any negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones
  25. Spend time doing things that you love doing – relax
    (Geary, 2014).

Spiritual Wellness self-care goal setting: Think of one main, long-term goal you would like to focus on in your personal self-care plan. For example: “I would like to start prioritising my spiritual wellness as much as I can”
Now, think of two short-term goals/acts of self-care that you can incorporate into your day-to-day life in order to reach your main goal. For example: “Taking a walk in nature each day and practicing mindfulness exercises whenever I feel as if I need to relax”

Spiritual Wellness challenge for the week:

  • Monday: Do a breathing exercise
  • Tuesday: Journal or write something down that is positive
  • Wednesday: Practice mindfulness today
  • Thursday: Try yoga
  • Friday: Spend some time outside today
  • Saturday: Do something creative
  • Sunday: Read something

Self-reflection Questions:

  • What did I just read about?
  • Do I feel as if I am currently looking after my spiritual wellness?
  • Do I know what my purpose is?
  • Am I able to find meaning in my life experiences?
  • Did I learn anything from this blog post?
  • Am I spiritual person?
  • How do I view/understand spirituality?
  • How do I understand my place in this world?
  • How did this blog post make me feel?
  • How can I begin to prioritise my spiritual wellness into my personal self-care plan?
  • What can I keep in mind for the future from this blog post?

Stay tuned because next week we will be discussing part 7 of our Wellness series – our Occupational Wellness!

All my love xx

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