4th Pillar: Spiritual Wellness, Asking Some Hard Questions

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Spiritual Wellness has become an important part of our everyday lives.

“Spirituality does not come from religion … it comes from our soul”

(Anthony D. Williams – ‘Inside the divine pattern’)

Darlings, we’ve all done a serious amount of soul-searching in our lives, haven’t we? Generally when we’re wondering whether we’re in right relationship or the right job.

The trouble with 21stcentury life is that all too often we neglect the spiritual part of our health which is an essential, and also the most personal, piece of the holistic health jigsaw.

We exercise to keep our bodies in good shape, we learn to keep our minds healthy so why don’t we nurture our spirits in the same way?

Our spirit not only enhances the connection between our mind and body, it’s what carries us through life’s ups and downs. If we take care of our spirit we can survive and thrive.

What Is Spiritual Wellness?

The Laborer’s Health and Safety Fund of North America (LHSFNA define spiritual wellness as: “Being connected to something greater than yourself and having a set of values, principles, morals and beliefs that provide a sense of purpose and meaning to life, then using those principles to guide your actions.”

Of course, spiritual wellness has a different meaning for each and every one of us because it is something that comes from within ourselves and only we can define the role it has in our lives.

It exists though, when you create a connection with your inner spirit, are conscious of your place in the universe and understand that everything you say and everything you do each and every day matters.

A spiritually healthy person generally has a positive outlook on life, more meaning and purpose, a sense of self-worth, clear values and a peace of mind that everything that happens will be in their best interest

So, essentially the core of spiritual wellness is discovering the meaning and purpose of your life. (Even though we all know the answer to the ultimate question, the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42!)

And, as you know the best self-care starts by looking within, so are you ready to ask yourself some hard questions?

Explore Your Spiritual Core And Look For Deeper Meaning

Just as with other aspects of holistic health, your spiritual wellness will fluctuate throughout your life. It’s perfectly natural to experience many emotions, both positive and negative, along the path to spiritual wellness.

And by exploring your spiritual core you are simply asking yourself who you are.

You, the true you, not the façade, the brave face that world sees, but you.

And as you answer the questions, you can then begin to analyse the patterns you see developing to give yourself a deeper understanding of you and that you, and only you are in control of your destiny.

Ready for the questions darlings?

  1. Who am I?
  2. What gives my life meaning and purpose?
  3. What do I value most?
  4. What values do I live by and how do I show them in my thoughts, words and deeds?
  5. How do I approach tough times and challenges?
  6. What helps me get though the tough times?
  7. What would I like to accomplish in life?
  8. Do I make time for relaxation, meditation and/or prayer during my day?
  9. Do I feel harmony with the world around me?
  10. Am I accepting, kind and tolerant of other people’s views and opinions?

Just as we are all uniquely different, the answers to the above questions will be personal to you, and who you are. They may even change throughout your life as you learn and grow.

So why not try setting aside time to revisit them once a year? Or indeed as and when you need, in response to life’s challenges.

Benefits Of Spiritual Wellness

Spiritual wellness not only improves your sense of well-being and your understanding of your place in this crazy world, but it can also contribute to better physical health.

One of the biggest benefits of improving your spiritual wellness though is a sense of empowerment, and the realisation that even though life sometimes throws you a curve ball, you are not defined by your circumstances.

This, in turn, puts you in a better position to deal with future crises and heal quicker, as you are more able to express yourself and have greater self-esteem.

How to Improve Your Spiritual Wellness

What else can you do to improve your spiritual wellness?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to that one. Rather like finding physical exercise that you love, finding ways to improve your spiritual wellness is also extremely personal. It’s important to find ways to improve your spiritual wellness that involves your values, beliefs and, of course, your purpose.

Here are six activities that can help improve your spiritual wellness:

Meditation

Who doesn’t meditate these days? From Gwyneth Paltrow to Kim Kardashian, everyone’s going Zen!

Meditation, has been around for many millennia and is the best tool you can use for self-awareness as you relax your body, quieten your mind and awaken your spirit.

It is the process of being fully here, fully now, living in the present, letting go of the past and not worrying about the future.

As you meditate you survey what is happening both inside and outside yourself, which encourages a deepening of awareness and understanding of yourself as well as a clearer sense of right and wrong.

The benefits of meditation are well-known and include; improved emotional health, increased self-awareness and a reduction of stress, anxiety and sometimes even depression.

So, how do I meditate?

You don’t need to ‘ohm’, you don’t need to burn incense, you don’t adopt the lotus position and you don’t need to spend hours meditating.

The best way to start is with five or ten minutes.

  • Set aside a time and place where you can meditate quietly and distraction-free
  • Find a comfortable, seated position. This can be the lotus position, if you like, but equally sitting on a chair with your legs uncrossed is equally fine
  • Set your timer for five or ten minutes – it will feel like an eternity when you first start
  • Just breathe
    • Inhale for a count of 5
    • Exhale for a count of 5
  • Focus on the breath and the feeling as it enters and exits your body
  • Don’t worry if your mind wanders, just try to gently bring it back to focusing on the breathing

If you find you’re struggling or feel you may do better with prompts along the way you could join a meditation group, or try one of the many meditation apps out there.

Yoga

Yoga likewise has seen a resurgence in recent years, and for good reason.

Yoga is physical technique that combines a full-body workout with elements of meditation and breathing. It’s a holistic approach that improves not only your spiritual wellness but also your flexibility and overall health. It also promotes better sleep, reduces the emotional and physical strains of your mind and body and reduces stress and anxiety.

You can find yoga classes in most places, but where do you start?

After all, there are so many types of yoga to choose; hatha, bikram, ashtanga, karma, kundalini, etc. Not to mention the more recent additions such as doga (dog yoga), cat yoga, goat yoga, beer yoga and even laughter yoga.

Then on top of that you have yoga fusions that blend traditional yoga poses with other fitness regimens, such as Pilates, strength training, dance, or even kickboxing.

Personally, I’m a big fan of Louise Solomon’s ‘Yogalates’, a fusion of yoga and Pilates and I’ve also got Boxing Yoga and Yoga Boxing workout DVDs (which are, I hasten to add, two completely different DVDs)

If the range of choice or thought of joining a class as a complete beginner scares you then why not simply check out YouTube, or invest in a Yoga DVD as a starting point? That way you can learn the basics in the relative safety of your own home until you feel comfortable trying out a class.

Do good deeds

Have you ever done a random act of kindness or paid it forward?

When you are consciously contributing in ways that are unselfish, by expressing both respect and gratitude you honour the source of your creation and align mind, body and spirit.

Volunteering is an excellent way of giving back to the community and improving your spiritual wellness.

You remember those questions you answered? When searching for volunteering opportunities these questions provide the perfect starting place.

By considering the values that drive you, consider how you can best show them in your actions. And then get searching for opportunities.

From volunteering at a local hospice to fundraising for a global charity, doing good deeds can help you just as much as the organisation you help.

And, like bathing, volunteering is best when it’s repeated frequently.

Travel

Travel broadens the mind, so they say.

And travel, be it retreating under the duvet for a PJ and film day, a day out, a weekend away, a two-week holiday or even something longer can do wonders for your soul. It allows you to leave your day-to-day obligations and problems at home and gives you a break.

When you find yourself somewhere you can truly relax and where your mind is not distracted, it’s easier to connect with your spirit. Allowing you to weed out what’s stressing you, time to obtain some perspective, contemplate deeper questions and reflect so you can get yourself back in the right frame of mind and ready to face the world.

Find/Become a mentor

You don’t have to do it alone.

Professional or personal mentors can help make your journey smoother. However, it’s always best to make sure your mentor is someone you can trust.

Likewise, becoming someone else’s mentor can be beneficial to your own spiritual wellness as you are helping others achieve their dreams.

Build your own rituals

As previously mentioned, your spirituality is as unique as you are, and only you know what it means to you.

Honour what matters most to you and celebrate what’s at your spiritual core.

This could be something as simple as intention setting or keeping a gratitude journal. Why not treat yourself this Christmas and buy Selfish Darling’s amazing gratitude journal?

Or, for the more daring amongst you, why not explore some of the more ancient practices, such as energy healing and Wicca, which include herbs and crystals and emphasise more on healing, grounding and connection.

I love my crystals and can thoroughly recommend crystal healing, but more on that in another post.

There are a wealth of avenues to explore, so what’s stopping you?

 

Improved spiritual wellness has the power to make your decisions easier, ground you in times of change, give you the resilience to survive the challenges you face and, most importantly of all … inner peace.

However you decide to explore your spirituality in pursuit of spiritual wellness, just remember to learn and have fun.

 

Do you meditate regularly? What do you find works best for you?

I have huge problems with the visualisation aspect, do you have any tips?

Drop me a comment below.

I’d love to hear from you.

Claire

xx

 

Change your mindset with Selfish Darling’s Gratitude Journal

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