According to B.K.S. Iyengar, health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind, and spirit. However, we focus much on our mental and physical health. What about our spiritual health?
Spiritual health is just as important as your physical and mental health. As the mind, body, and spirit are strongly intertwined, the health of one can significantly influence the health of another.
This is an insightful guide on spiritual health and its role in your overall wellness.
What is Spiritual Health?
Jennifer Carnevale explained that spiritual health is anything related to the health and wellness of your spirit. Spiritual health is the key to the balanced physical, social, and mental aspects of the self.
You can achieve spiritual health through spirituality. It will help you cope with the pain and difficulties accompanying illness and life’s challenges.
For certified spiritual health practitioner Matthew Heyn, spiritual health is a dimension of human wellness that consolidates all aspects of health: physical, mental, emotional, and social.
Spiritual health helps you create meaning in life, nurtures ethics and altruism, and is based on our perceptions, convincing us of our survival abilities.
Heyn added that spiritual health is a glue that brings all the other pieces of your health together. However, what distinguishes spiritual health from the other dimensions of health is how it is grounded in clinical research.
On the other hand, according to Ghaderi et al.’s study in 2018, spiritual health can be defined in three dimensions: religious, individualistic, and material world-oriented.
The religious dimension of spiritual health involves knowledge, attitude, and practice based on divine unity. This divine unity allows you to have an active and dynamic relationship with yourself, others, and nature because God is considered present in all connections.
As said by one of the study’s respondents, Spiritual health means acting toward God.
This dimension means that you believe in spirituality and do not have spiritual ailments such as a lack of love, hopelessness, unhappiness, and remorse.
You have good moral character and decent beliefs. And most importantly, you live a purposeful and balanced life.
Material World-Oriented Dimension
The third dimension means that you possess good intentions and help others without expecting the return of favors.
Based on your moral virtues, you feel a closeness and harmony with the universe, others, and nature.
Additionally, the third dimension portrays that the meaning of spiritual belief will vary based on an individual’s opinion and beliefs.
The Importance of Spiritual Health
Spiritual health helps you realize the inner meaning of life. When you are spiritually healthy, you feel connected with the environment.
Your actions will be more consistent with your values, and you’ll have more clarity in choosing the right path.
Spiritually healthy people have a clear identity about their life and situation. They can define their ideas clearly and act accordingly. Some people pursue religious paths to attain spiritual health, while others cultivate self-awareness and connection with their environment.
The Benefits of Spiritual Health
The benefits of being spiritually healthy are endless. It will provide you hope during the hardest times and help you navigate yourself out of toxic circumstances. Here are some of the benefits of spirituality.
1. It strengthens your immune system.
Your immune system plays an important role in fighting the viruses in your body. Spirituality gives a sense of well-being and boosts your brain with hormones that strengthen your immune system.
Factors like stress and pressure can take a huge toll on your body. That’s why spiritual practices help build positive thoughts and increase your body’s function.
The study conducted by Cresswell et al. found that HIV-positive patients who meditated were able to slow down their immune cell count’s decline.
Furthermore, a study by Davidson et al. proved that mindfulness meditation produces demonstrable positive effects on the brain and immune function.
2. It helps you process big life events.
Practicing spirituality through yoga and meditation keeps the body fit and reduces weakness. Spiritual people have more functional abilities and are more active and fresh.
Spirituality aids in healing. Having something to connect to and look forward to everyday boosts serotonin in the body. It will help you process big life events, like losing a loved one, moving to another country, or shifting careers.
3. It lowers your blood pressure.
According to Rachelle Williams, when you’re stressed, your body produces hormones to help fight off the situation.
This disturbance causes the body to increase your blood pressure, which in turn causes the heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow. Over time, this can lead to hypertension.
Spiritual practices can serve as great methods to lower blood pressure. It does heal not only your physical body but also supports your emotional and mental health.
Stress can seriously affect your overall wellness, and spirituality helps you tap into your inner peace.
A study by Anderson et al. portrayed transcendental meditation’s potential to reduce diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
It shows that when you meditate, your mind and body gradually return to a state of calmness, which is the fertile ground for healing.
4. It improves your social well-being.
Spiritually healthy people have stronger connections with friends and family. Spirituality helps them empathize and communicate meaningfully.
Since most of our relationships are built on conversations and connections, it’s important to have deep conversations with people.
Spirituality provides a release to avoid suppression of our feelings and helps us share them with others. It helps create a sense of belongingness and provides a support system.
5. It gives you a sense of clarity.
Freely expressing yourself will help you maintain a focused and clear mind. After a long day, you may be confused and unable to sense your feelings.
Spiritual practices evoke positive emotions and bring gratitude into your life. When a person has clarity, they are mentally healthier.
They do not feel overwhelmed and avoid stress. They can also make better life decisions and become involved in daily life.
6. It gives you quality sleep.
Sleep is an important factor for our overall health, yet getting quality sleep is a problem for many.
Meditation practices can give you better sleep, as proven by the study of Nagendra et al.. Meditation helps you calm the turbulence within you, and you no longer have to carry the daily baggage you have in bed.
You can also release the baggage of the day through spiritual practices of exercising, journaling, yoga, and prayer. Determine what works best for you.
Signs Your Spiritually Healthy
Spiritual health is achieved by following your heart’s desire and your intuition. According to Raquel Vasallo from Mind Body Green, here are seventeen clues to know if you’re spiritually healthy.
- You no longer play the victim role and are now actively creating your destiny.
- You’re living your purpose and looking forward to life.
- You’re contributing to your community with generosity.
- Most of the time, your emotions feel like the clear sky on a calm day.
- You catch yourself when you judge others and realize that you’re judgment is intimately connected to yourself.
- You don’t fear making mistakes because you can always learn from spiritual lessons.
- You understand that happiness and freedom are cultivated from within. The more you nurture happiness and freedom, the more you feel at peace.
- You have accepted all aspects of yourself and feel you no longer have to fear others’ judgment.
- You spend some time in silence.
- You now have the courage to break free from toxic relationships.
- You have a happy soul because you find moments to play and contemplate in happiness.
- You appreciate solitude.
- You notice the beauty of everything surrounding you.
- You’re not afraid to express your needs and desires.
- You no longer feel the need to always explain yourself to anyone.
- You enjoy living in the present.
- You trust your intuition and are confident with your decisions.
What Can Affect Your Spiritual Health?
Taking care of your spiritual health will help you create a meaningful life with better physical and mental health. A primary step to improving and maintaining quality spiritual health is knowing the factors that can affect it negatively.
According to Hawadah Abd-ul Mannan, stressful situations could result in your spiritual health decline. Managing stress and fulfilling your daily responsibilities without mindful rest can drain you spiritually.
You might lose determination and not realize what’s most important to you. Losing your spirituality because of stress can make you feel hopeless and unable to break free from the situation.
Anxiety can rob you of the ability to enjoy your life because of the constant worries and dread you feel.
Instead of being able to focus on the present, you feel hopeless and overthink each detail of your life. You find it hard to completely enjoy a loving relationship, peaceful moments, and meaningful life events.
You cannot relax or live without fear, which is the opposite of spirituality.
Reform Wellness explained that a poor diet could tarnish the body and soul, which results in depression, brain fog, hormonal imbalance, and weight gain.
These lead to diseases, distract us from God, and lead us to sin. It is said that God intended our food to give us life and not take it away.
Moreover, according to Jenetta Haim, food is more than what we eat. It is also what we feel and what we think.
It’s important to be mindful of what we eat for our spirituality and how we will use the energy we get from our food.
According to Father Wissa Gurguis Marcus, we can see how smoking holds every smoker in slavery, no matter their background or age.
Often, addicted smokers find quitting hard, which may ruin their spiritual life and relationship with God.
An example of this is during fasting. A person addicted to smoking might find it hard to fast, get through the day without a cigarette, and even lift their head without it.
Melissa Eisler explained that a sedentary lifestyle usually is tantamount to a lack of physical activity.
Being a couch potato does not only affect your physical health. It also affects your mental and spiritual health.
Aside from neglecting your physical health, you also lose the opportunity to form deeper connections with your loved ones and explore more possibilities for yourself.
You can’t just stay at home the whole time. Prepare, get moving, and get yourself some sunlight.
How to Improve Your Spiritual Health
Improving your spiritual health depends on your preferences and spiritual beliefs. Some find spirituality in their religion, while others are in their daily activities. There is no one correct path to improving your spiritual health.
But to give you a head start, here are some steps you can follow:
Invest in yourself.
The intention to improve and maintain your spiritual wellness and having a plan of action is equally important. Imagine you are throwing a party. How much time would you invest in planning and implementing it, ensuring every aspect of the party is perfect?
That is how you must invest in yourself. You must plan your journey towards spiritual well-being such that it keeps you motivated to stay along the course that leads to your spiritual health.
You can maintain your spiritual health in many ways, starting with investing time, money, and energy in yourself.
Keep a journal: Self-reflecting is important.
One of the most integral parts of maintaining your spiritual health is introspection. And the best way to self-reflect is by keeping a journal.
A journal lets you dig deeper into understanding your true self. When you write, you express your deepest thoughts better than when you talk to someone.
You can get every negative thought out of your mind and discover new insights. The stream of consciousness that results in words is the best way to express, reflect, and respond to your life.
Read something inspiring.
So many books can be a pool of inspiration for you. Find one that interests and complements your spirituality and personal needs.
Every book holds a deeper meaning to life; understanding them is a path less taken toward spiritual health. Do not just read; try to reflect on the meaningful lines that triggered your soul.
Refresh your mind with a book and gain a deeper knowledge of the world around you.
Listen to music.
Everyone has a type of music that uplifts their mood and gives them peace. Find out which music genre gives you the most magical feelings.
Music has the power to heal the pain that your heart feels. It is also one of the best ways to enrich and maintain your spiritual well-being. Music is a powerful essence, and the journey to finding your music contributes to your spiritual health.
The world is vast, and the list of places to visit has no end. Instead of sulking at others’ vacation, visit the place you always wanted to visit!
Traveling is the best way to relieve your mind of stress. Your getaway doesnt have to be way out of budget. A picnic by the park and a visit to your local library and museums will be rewarding.
Quality time with yourself or your loved ones will not just heal you spiritually and enhance your physical and mental health.
Meditation is one of the simplest practices that offer the most benefit to the mind and the body. It is the practice of focusing your mind on a thought to achieve a clear state of mind.
Meditation will make you feel calmer and grounded. It will help you achieve inner peace and harmony with nature. Finding time to contemplate things will help you realize your purpose and what you’re grateful for in your life.
Give time for Yoga.
Yoga, a practice that combines physical exercise and breathing control, is vital to create harmony in the body and mind.
While many believe that yoga is just physical exercise, the benefits it offers to calm the mind and balance spiritual well-being are still unknown to many.
Yoga is a form of exercise that trains your body and mind to maintain a balance.
Besides providing mental calmness, it also enables you to connect deeper with your inner self, allowing you to learn more about your higher consciousness.
Clear your space.
Did you know that your surroundings can greatly impact how you maintain your spiritual health? Cluttered surroundings can cause stress, and empty surroundings can make you feel empty.
It’s time to examine your surroundings and determine if you need to declutter. Clear the clutter and arrange your space according to your taste.
When your mind is happy, your body experiences balance, and you succeed in maintaining your spiritual well-being.
Connect with your community.
Connecting with different people, exchanging ideas, laughter, and getting and giving emotional support is something you can experience by being a part of a community and connecting with different people.
You can start by talking to your neighbors and participating in community activities. You can also volunteer at charity events held by your community.
It may be better said than done, especially if you’re uncomfortable interacting with others. But you can take baby steps and allow yourself to adjust to changes in your environment and lifestyle.
Despite the possible challenges, this spiritual path offers promising benefits to you. You’ll be able to enhance your communication skills, improve your self-esteem, and establish deep connections with others.
All it takes is the determination to leave your comfort zone.
Nature has a healing power that can make you feel livelier than ever. It has the power to relieve you of all the stress and let you develop your spiritual health.
Take a walk in the nearby park, have a picnic, jog by the seashore, spend the day fishing, meditate on top of a hill over the weekend, or sit under a tree. The wonders of nature are felt when you attempt to be a part of it.
Unplug from technology.
Technology plays a vital part in our lives. To most people, their day-to-day life depends on technology. From calling a cab to attending a meeting with a client, we are immensely dependent on technology.
Have you ever unplugged from technology? Almost every person is distracted and checks on their devices minute by minute. These distractions and dependency on technology are a hindrance to your spiritual health.
Unplug from technology for a while, and detox yourself. You will sleep better, experience increased creativity, improve relationships, and have better concentration.
Grievances can damage your relationships, health, and wellness. It can also damage your spiritual health.
The best way to heal the pain and let go of grievances is to practice compassion. Empathy can offer you a lot of peace.
It helps you let go of things that hold you back and leads you to a path that offers happiness.
Self-compassion is also a vital part of spiritual well-being. You must learn to love yourself, and only then can you maintain balanced physical and mental health.
Forgiveness is vital.
Forgiveness helps you let go of everything that can cause stress, and by practicing forgiveness, you have taken a vital path for your spiritual health.
Creating a stronger connection to yourself is vital to maintain an ideal balance of the mind and body. Only you have the power to divert your energy into a path that helps you live a happy and peaceful life.
Heal the soul first, then the healing of the mind and body will follow.Zhi Gang Sha
Like other aspects of yourself, your soul also needs love and care. Just because it’s invisible and intangible doesn’t mean it should be left neglected.
Your spiritual health is the bridge to your physical and mental wellness. It is the path toward deeper self-awareness and inner peace.
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