What is Spiritual Health?
Like Mental Health, there is a lack of understanding of what Spiritual Health is. Perhaps because a single definition is too small to determine what either are.
There is an intersection of psychology and spirituality. Meaning that the two can benefit each other, and we can use techniques from both sides to heal either. Think about the concept ‘mind, body, soul’. We can apply it to our mental, physical and spiritual health too.
You could even say that spiritual health is the balance of the mind, body and soul.
In a study by Ghaderi et al., (2018) about defining the concept of spiritual health, they found there are three components of spiritual health. They were religious, individualistic, and material world-oriented.
The religious components may be the result of human connection with God, including
– a sense of connection with God
– love of God
– the feeling that God is effective
– God-oriented knowledge, attitude, and behaviour
A participant said, “The most important and essential component of spiritual health is communication with God”.
For the individualistic component, the human connection explores the connection to self, including
– examining the meaning of life
– moral virtues
– peace, responsibility for oneself
– knowledge, attitude, and behaviour in relation to oneself
A participant asserted, “The second component of spiritual health is the humans’ connection with themselves”.
Material World-Oriented Component
The connection refers to human connection with others and nature.
Connection with others can create and affect:
– a sense of responsibility
– unconditional love
– harmony with others
– knowledge, attitude, and behaviour in relation to others
Connection with nature can create and affect:
– development of responsibility
– development of love
– knowledge, attitude and behaviour in relation to nature
To quote a participant: “One component of spiritual health is that man should form his relationship with others and with the nature”.”
So, we can narrow down our understanding of spiritual health. It is living with meaning and purpose and living in accordance to the values and ethics you have—all which affect the mind, body and soul.
You don’t need to be part of a religion or to practise a particular belief to have spiritual health. But, if you are part of a religion, it is likely to influence your values, ethics and purpose.
A Booming Industry
The promotion of mental and spiritual health has boomed with the wellness industry. Sometimes adding more confusion in understanding what it is. But, the rising health and wellness industry comes with side-effects. For example, there is an increased risk of people falling victim to the charms of advertising. It is a sad fact of the world that we should question everything.
In fact, you should question this page too. What is my intention of posting this information? What am I trying to sell? My purpose is to promote mental and spiritual health. To promote something that I did not have experience and belief in, would be immoral and unethical.
Even though it is a booming industry, you will not find anyone that can heal you by themselves. The point of spiritual health – mental health, too – is that you have to make the changes.
Yes, you can learn and grow from the information received by others. Still, there are determiners to your path to spiritual health. How willing are you to search for your purpose? How willing are you to commit your decided purpose, ethics and values to your life?
Sometimes the pay off for spiritual health is that you are different from others in society. So, the path to spiritual health is as challenging as the mental health journey. Sometimes it is just as isolating. The reward, though, is fulfilling.
Empowerment is defiance to commit to other people’s expectation of health.
Wellness is sometimes synonymous with both spiritual health and mental health. But I find that it is primarily connected in reference to religion. As in, if you have a good connection with your God, then you are well. However, wellness is an ongoing process of change and growth.
There are eight interconnected dimensions of wellness, like the interconnectedness of the social determinants of health and well-being. The connections of these aspects of our lives make it easy to see why there is pain. Experiences such as the poverty cycle and intergenerational trauma are lifelong battles.
The Chakra System, also associated with mental and spiritual health, looks like this.
Image Source: Mind Valley
Even though they are two different things, health and wellness are all interconnected. If one is misaligned or unbalanced, we suffer. The symptoms could appear physically, mentally or emotionally.
How to Have Spiritual Health
As mentioned, health is a very personal journey. So I wish to recommend only what I have found works best for me.
Foundational healing is necessary for all health. Healing any wound, no matter the size requires time and energy, and we often can’t do it alone. That’s not to say that we are weak or cowards for seeking professional help. Rather, it is to be bold and step into a scary and exhausting adventure. Some things are done unto us that requires us to have treatment by those who have studied healing.
Daily journaling and prompt journaling are two ways to nurture your spiritual health. You can keep track of all that you have been experiencing and take note of patterns. In this way, you can identify where you might need to set boundaries and where you are struggling. It’s also a great way to keep a note of all the great things you have been doing and experiencing. Like looking at photos, we can remember good and bad times and reflect on it.
Exercise is excellent for well-rounded health. Sometimes we can’t keep a regular exercise regime, we can’t afford the gym, or the weather is too bad to be outside. If we can maintain some movement every day, we allow our mind a break. We give our body the opportunity to shake out tension. Stretching, dance, yoga, performing a concert in your room ~ just move!
4. Hermit Mode
There is a big difference in being alone and loneliness. Hermit mode refers to going inside. Sometimes the noise of all those around us affects us too much. We are influenced by those we love, those we look up to and the scare of the gnawing anxiety inside of us. But in life, it is necessary to jump off the edge of cliffs so we can experience new adventures (figuratively). We have to learn to trust our own instinct, that is a significant element of spiritual health. Don’t be afraid to spend time with yourself, just make sure you’re not alone all the time.
5. Embodying All feelings
Toxic positivity describes maintaining a positive attitude in response to valid emotions. We should sit and accept those feelings, identify why they have occurred and healed from them. I am a positive person, and I love that about myself. But, I would never respond to someone’s pain by telling them to keep their chin up. Feeling all that we do is what makes us all human. We must feel our emotions and process them to achieve spiritual health.
6. Saying No
Setting boundaries and saying no is difficult when it comes to family and friends. At some point, we have to put ourselves and our needs first. Again, this will look different to everyone. This is also important to saying no to yourself too. First, recognise poor patterns of behaviour that are negatively affecting you. Then, you have to make the changes and say no to those bad habits.
Expression of gratitude is important because it reminds us of all the good that we have in our lives. We must take the time to pause and reflect on abundance, big and small. Our conscious and subconscious minds can recognise the feeling of pleasure and hone in on it. When we focus on gratitude, we move away from feelings of lack. Gratitude can help us find the strength to stay on the spiritual health and wellness journey.
My Free Daily Diary Template is a great way to start practising Gratitude daily.
Above all, meditation. Spiritual health is suited to the art of meditation. Check out my Meditations on Youtube!
What does spiritual health look like to you?