Understanding our Spiritual Health

In one of the earliest posts for You Matter Too (The Importance of our Mental Health), the wholistic approach to health was broken down and discussion was had around how our dimensions of health worked together with particular relation to enhancing our mental health. Over the past few months, each of the dimensions were examined, with a focus on how we can enhance them so we can truly optimise our overall health and wellbeing. This month, the focus turns to our spiritual dimension of health.

As with all the other dimensions of health, our spiritual health plays an extremely important role when it comes to supporting our mental wellbeing.  I truly believe that this dimension has one of the strongest connections to that enhancement of our mental health.

What is the spiritual dimension of health?  

Spiritual Health relates to our sense of overall purpose in life. A willingness to seek meaning, be curious and to appreciate things that cannot easily be explained. 

When we look at our spirituality, we are looking at a sense of connection with something bigger than ourselves.  We are trying to find our purpose through values and beliefs and this can be through a faith system, or by even creating one’s own purpose. This dimension of health is closely related to feeling a sense of belonging and connectedness. 

When we were children, most of our values and beliefs came from our family. As we grow and experience life, our values and beliefs start to change and at times it can be difficult to find our purpose, especially if we start to question previously held beliefs and begin to be curious about the world around us.

Why is our spiritual health important?

It has been said that a person who has purpose and meaning in life is healthier than those who do not.  By having this purpose in life, it can improve our self-worth, help in our overall happiness and motivation, as well as support our ability to set realistic goals and move towards achieving them. 

By being spiritually healthy, we are able to love freely, show compassion, experience joy, forgive others and be altruistic.  All of these aspects link strongly to being able to enhance our mental health.  In particular by:

  • Increasing our self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Reducing the risk of anxiety and depression
  • Providing a sense of purpose and of belonging
  • Improving resilience and coping skills

Strategies to enhance spiritual health.

Just like with all of the other ways to enhance our dimensions of health and our overall wellbeing, we need to find strategies that work for us.  There are many different ways to help enhance our spiritual health, but they will not work if we feel forced to do them.  A small list of these strategies include:

  • Journaling
  • Meditation/mindfulness practice
  • Spending time in nature
  • Prayer
  • Appreciation of music and the arts

Each of the strategies listed above can take on many different forms and it is up to the individual to find the best fit for themselves.  There are no set rules on how to do any of these strategies and finding a way to truly enhance your spiritual health is very unique as it is about the individual trying to find their own meaning and purpose in life.

One of the key things though is to continue to be lifelong learners.  Be curious, question your values and beliefs, be inquisitive about things you don’t quite understand, learn new things and most of all, don’t be afraid to re-learn.  Keep an open mind and allow yourself and others to truly be your unique selves.

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