In the journey for spiritual wellness, what you practice might matter less than HOW you practice.
When the topic of self-improvement comes up, what do you usually think about? Physical health. Nutritional health. Emotional well-being. One aspect of health and happiness that’s sometimes overlooked is spiritual. But it can be just as important to your well-being to maintain your spiritual health.
Whether you attend regular church services, study different religious texts, practice yoga or mindfulness, or look to power within the universe higher than yourself, taking care of yourself spiritually is important.
In the same way you make a conscious and decided effort to strive for fitness, eating well, and positive thinking, so it is with spiritual health. Let’s look at some ways to explore spirituality with intention.
To reflect is to contemplate or ponder with serious thought and consideration. If you think about it, reflection is the foundation of spirituality. When you spend time reflecting you seek —and often find — answers to many of the questions posed throughout the centuries by philosophers, disciples, and theologians.
Here are three ways to use reflection in your spiritual journey.
- Self-reflection. Through self-reflection, you pose the question, What is my purpose? By reflecting on your reason for existence or the meaning of life — specifically, your own personal journey on this Earth — you discover purpose.
- Life event reflections. Life is hard. No one denies that. A huge piece of spiritual wellness is how you deal with pain, anger, grief, suffering, and the things that happened to you and around you. Reflection allows us to find meaning in these events and to better accept both the good and the bad, appreciating all life’s experiences.
- Reflect on your beliefs. Regularly reflecting on your personal values and beliefs is tantamount to a grounded spiritual practice. Regardless of what you believe, why do you believe that way? How do you define right and wrong? Can you explain why you believe what you do? Reflection helps to solidify your faith.
You can practice reflection in any number of ways. Try meditation, yoga, prayer, or journaling.
Used in both secular and non-secular settings, reworded hundreds of different ways, there’s one phrase that truly defines acceptance: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” And for those seeking spiritual wellness, it’s a commandment to live by. To practice acceptance, one must:
- Accept yourself. Spirituality and constant self-criticism do not go together. To grow spiritually you must love yourself before you can even attempt the next.
- Accept others as they are. Judgment should be left to the courts. It has no place in a healthy spiritual journey. Of course, the practice of accepting others goes hand-in-hand with something that’s been hard for many of us at some point in life: forgiveness. Not only is holding grudges not good for your physical well-being, it can also stymie the journey toward spiritual health.
If you find yourself stuck here, it can be helpful to take a step back and spend more time in reflection. Put “serious thought and consideration” into the situation. Is it really worth sacrificing your own spiritual health?
Whether extrovert or introvert, we all have an innate desire to connect with someone or something. To see spirituality flourish, seek connection.
- Attend religious services. Church, temple, synagogue, mosque, shrine. Regardless of the building you choose, what you’re really searching for is fellowship and connection with people who share your same beliefs and value system.
- Connect with nature. For many, surrounding ourselves with the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and the feel of nature is a very spiritual experience.
- Connect with compassion. Helping others through volunteering or simply spending time with them leaves you with a nourished soul and a heart full of joy.
Spirituality is different for everyone, but the foundations required to achieve and maintain spiritual health and wellness are the same.
“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” ― Dalai Lama