Spirituality is on the rise globally and has become synonymous with self-help. You can even find resources on Chakras and the like on pages like WebMD nowadays. Spirituality, like anything that permeates mainstream culture and becomes trendy, is being commoditized for profit. However, it is also becoming commonplace and accepted by the masses. This is a beautiful thing because, as it turns out, spirituality is quite good for you.
So, what is Spiritual Wellness? Does it require dressing, looking or acting a certain way? Is it the same thing as being religious? How does it impact health? How do you become spiritual?
What Is Spiritual Wellness?
Spiritual Wellness is about personal growth and the quest for meaning. It is sought by merging your inside and outside worlds, by finding both a deep connection to your innermost self and to something greater than yourself. It is getting in touch with and trusting your inner knowing and your felt senses, until they become your guiding intuition. Spiritual wellness has the ability to help us live our values and find meaning and purpose in our lives.
Spiritual Wellness is not just the values we hold dear, but also how these values shape our thoughts, emotions and actions- how we feel about and engage with the world. In this sense, there is no aspect of life that spiritual wellness does not touch and impact. Spiritual Wellness can assist you in important life decisions in everything from what careers you take on, to what you eat, how you date, how you treat others, how you treat yourself and so much more. Perhaps this is part of why spirituality is often said to have a certain level of transcendence, for it transcends any and all barriers, categories and differences. In short, Spiritual Wellness is finding that inner alignment that guides you and gives meaning to your life.
Spiritual Vs. Religious
Religion is often defined as a system of faith and worship. Faith being complete and unquestionable belief in something and worship being the act of honoring something holy through rites. So, religions are about unquestioning belief and following rituals, both of which are external to the self. Spirituality on the other hand is not about having blind faith, following directions, seeking any external authority or even looking and acting a certain way. For Spirituality is deeply personal and undogmatic. You are free to question anything and everything, as you suss out what seems and feels true to you.
So, Spirituality and Religion are both about morals, values and the divine, but they go about these vital aspects of life in very different ways. Where Religions says listen and follow, Spirituality says explore and discover.
Spiritual Wellness and Health
Being that wellness is a holistic take on health, it is not surprising that no matter how we break down the different aspects of wellness, they all overlap, intermingle and impact one another. As it turns out, Spiritual Wellness has the ability to impact both physical and mental health. Researchers have found a link between Spiritual Wellness, engaging in health related behaviors and improved psychological well-being, especially subjective well-being (People report actually feeling well). Positive links between Spiritual Wellness and physical well-being have also been found. For example, research has found that Spiritual Wellness helps with blood pressure and heart disease risk factors.
These are just two example from a growing number of studies that are looking at the link between spirituality and wellness. It is a newer field of study, as spirituality was not taken seriously as a worthy study topic in the past. Even still, they often do not know the causative factors or why being spiritual is so good for us, just that being spiritual is overwhelmingly good for health and wellness. It might not be the simple fact of being spiritual that improves health and wellness, but what comes along with many of the facets of being spiritual, such as living in a way that aligns with your own personal values and inner needs or the practices one adopts. For example the links between introspective practices like Yoga, meditation and breathwork and lowered levels of stress are well studied, as are the effects of stress on both physical and mental health.
How To Discover Spiritual Wellness
Being that Spirituality is deeply personal, there is no one way or right way to discover what Spiritual Wellness is and means for you. Instead, one can only "point the way," in a hope to help lead you on your own path of self discovery.
The first step on this path is however often an introspective one. Whether this be time spent in nature, journaling, practicing meditating, or reflecting is entirely up to you, but you must discover the path for yourself. It's not what your parents think, what you learned in school, what they told you in Church or anywhere else. It is about what you think, feel and hold to be true. Here are a few questions to ponder that might help jumpstart this process and bring to light your core values:
- What gives my life meaning and purpose?
- Do my values guide my decisions and actions?
- Do you think about the meaning of life?
- Do you allow yourself time alone?
- Do you make time for relaxation in your day?
- Do you take walks in nature?
- Do you put away your phone and just be?
- Do you practice activities that help you to slow down?
- How do you get through tough times?
- Where do you find comfort?
- What gives you hope?
- Do you pray or meditate?
- Do you have a way of connecting with or reaching out to a higher power?
- Do you believe in or feel connected to a higher power?
- What is the nature of the divine?
- Do you pause and remember that life isn’t all about yourself?
- Are you tolerant of other people’s views about life and their issues?
- Do you try to expand your awareness of different groups (ethnic, cultural, racial, religious, etc.)?
Once you have discovered your values and what feels true and right to you, you can go about trying to find inner alignment and match your life with the values you have unearthed; using them as your compass for life. As you begin to walk this path, you might find that:
- You have gained and feel purpose in your life.
- You have the ability to spend time alone.
- You have a greater sense of peace and ease in life.
- You take responsibility for your actions and life.
- You have better social interactions.
- You feel more positive emotions.
- You take the time to reflect on the meaning of your actions and the events in your life.
- You have a clear sense of right and wrong.
- You act and live your morals.
- You are better able to practice forgiveness and compassion in life.
- You care about and try to act for the betterment of others and the environment.
- You have the ability to explain why you believe what you believe.
- You are less reactionary.
- You seek less validation from outside sources.
- You act more confidently and are less shakable.
Spiritual Wellness is that inner knowing, that felt sense that guides your life and determines how you act and make decisions. It is a personal quest of self discovery that one must embark upon by themselves, for themselves. Once discovered, it's a rich path that has the power to transform your entire life.
We here at Lotus Tribe believe in your self agency and ability to find and walk your own path, to live your morals and be the best version of yourself that you can be. We hope that we have helped point the way, so that your path is a little easier to uncover and walk.
*This blog is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.