How Do You Define Spiritual Health?
© Greg Rakozy
When we think of wellness, we automatically think of our physical health….our bodily well-being. Few people consider mental health or emotional health and even far less, our spiritual health. One assumes that if we’re physically healthy and absent of disease, then we will for the most part, be happy, or at a minimum, live at ease.
Rarely do we think of the impact that our emotional state-of-mind and societal influences have on our physical bodies. It turns out that the former plays a significant role, not a marginal role, in our state of well-being, and yet it falls so far below most people’s radar that they don’t think about mental health tune-ups or proactively adding things to their daily routine to boost the immunity of their emotional being. If we can get around without a crutch, eat the food we want without allergic reactions and live without cancer, heart disease or other life threatening diseases, we often believe that this is enough.
Depression, anxiety and other stresses that fall into our lives on a regular basis can be toxic over time and its negative impact is accumulative.
Aligning with those around us
You see, when we’re out of sorts emotionally, we’re not aligned with our families, our friends, our work colleagues, our boss or community around us. When we’re not in psych with those around us, especially those we interact with on a daily basis, it wears on our emotional health.
There are studies that show that social isolation itself has been identified as an independent major risk factor for all-cause mortality, so the more support that we have from those we care about, the happier we feel. Love (receiving love) makes us feel connected. The problem is that some people who are married with children and have a structured family unit in place still don’t feel loved, supported or connected. This is a problem.
Recognizing and being aware that this lack of connection exists is the first step to reintegrating the emotional ingredients we need back into our lives so we feel fulfilled, needed and most importantly loved. Our emotional and spiritual health depends on it.
But what is spiritual health?
You may be curious what I mean by spiritual health if this is the first time you’ve heard the phrase. I’m not talking about religion although it has been shown that those who belong to a community of sorts (a religion is one example of a community), has improved their emotional well-being. A religion for some may be a structured one such as Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism or Judiasm, however it could also be agnostic, pagan, atheist or perhaps you see nature as your God. By spiritual well-being, I mean the spiritual part of you, the one that drives your Higher Self if you like.
If you can think of your body as something you’ve borrowed for this life time and that your Soul is in fact eternal (consider this a possibility whether you’re religious or not – I’m not btw), then it becomes that much easier to think of the idea of dying. The fear of dying diminishes significantly if we realize our Souls never die. With that thought in context, imagine that your Soul has what we can think of as Higher Self (or Higher Voice), which is driven by our heart, not our heads. Our head drives our ego, which often gets in the way of flourishing relationships, whether that be platonic or romantic in nature.
Our Higher Self goes beyond the ego and considers what’s best for our souls and for the souls of the people we love and care about.
Feeing more spiritual healthy
From this place, it’s a spiritual haven if you like – we are free of the need to manipulate and control our own environments and those of others, which is something human beings do largely out of fear. When we turn to love rather than fear when we make decisions, we’ll find that we suddenly feel lighter, freer and frankly, more love.
From this place, we will feel more spiritually healthy. And, we will feel more spiritually connected, whether that be to whatever God we believe in, or the Universe itself if you’re agnostic, atheist or simply unsure.
Spiritual health is such an important part of our well-being and yet so few of us understand its meaning, why it matters or what to do to become more spiritually healthy on a regular basis.
Exercise for more conciousness
For years, I’ve thought about how best to shift my own consciousness to a “lifestyle of light,” so that love drives my daily decisions – all of them, not just some of them. When fear crops up, I use simple exercises to return my conscious thought to love. While it’s not easy, it works and I’d like to share a simple exercise with you now.
Pay attention to it, smell what you smell, taste what you taste, see what you see.
When you find that you’re focused (or obsessed if it gets really bad) on a problem that is wearing you down, whether that be at work or at home, and no solution that you’ve come up with seems to be the “right” one, take a break. As soon as you can, take a walk out into nature, perhaps on a new path or road you’ve never walked. Notice the flowers, the trees, the leaves and any wildlife you come across on that walk.
When you notice something that has a particular interest, sit down in front of it and just gaze at it for a few minutes and see how you feel. Take three deep breathes as you do this and close your eyes. Lean back at this point and look up into the sky. If its evening, notice the stars and if it’s day time, see what’s happening to the clouds. Think of yourself in the greater Universe and how small of a dot you are in relation to everything else around you. Small but precious of course, but nevertheless, small in context to the Universe. Now, think of that problem in the same way.
While your problem may feel big in relation to the “here-and-now” ‘job’, ‘issue’ or the ‘person,’ consider its size in the context of the entire length of your life – how will you feel about it in twenty years? How much meaning will it have then? How about in fifty years?
Notice how you feel about yourself.
Give the problem a shape and begin to visualize that shape getting smaller and smaller as it moves out into the skies, the solar system, the Universe beyond until it’s completely out of sight. Notice how you feel about the problem at this time.
Take three deep more breathes and look around. While we may be Souls and Spirits living a human existence, we’re still living a human existence, so from this perspective, we realize that there are many ways to solve our problem. That said, imagine if “love” were the only way to solve this particular problem, what would that solution look like in the context of love? Shape it, create it, name it and say it out loud.
Learn to let go and just be
While this may not work 100% of the time, you’d be surprised at just how often it does work, or at a minimum, diffuses the problem to something a whole lot more manageable and digestible. We so often turn problems into bigger issues than they are and sometimes we fear problems that ‘may’ arise when they haven’t even arrived yet. We’ve all done it. All of this fear-based living wreaks havoc on our emotional well-being and our spiritual health.
When we can learn to let go and just be, we’ll find that we’re not only more attuned to our Higher Self, but we’re far more attuned to others as well. We become truly connected and develop a sense of belonging that feels liberating, free and light.
Ultimately, it’s about stepping into our own lights. I feel so strongly about this raison d’etre and way of ‘being’ that I’ve expanded our Mind/Body balance section of We Blog the World and it now has six dedicated sections to Spirituality: Spiritual Health, Spiritual Events, Spiritual Products, Spiritual Voices, which highlights people who are walking the light in their lives, shining on others, and shining on the world. Note that the Spiritual content on We Blog the World is far from religious however it does touch on all spiritual faiths, including none at all in the structured sense.
We write about love and passion for our Earth and planets around us including nature as such a powerful way to heal. Connecting to nature is far more vital to our emotional and spiritual health than we can ever realize.
Join me on a journey of educating others about the importance of community, connection and love.
As you find others walking a life of light, have them reach out and be part of the We Blog the World community, contributing content where they can or recommending others we should highlight who do. If you don’t know how to begin but are curious, start to read our Spirituality Section, our Wellness Section and join the dialogue – we’d love to meet you!