Spiritual health is an important component of an individual’s well-being and an integral aspect of the holistic health philosophy. Physical, mental, and spiritual health are deeply intertwined and have a profound effect on one another.
This truth is clearly exhibited, for instance, when someone who is sad on the emotional level experiences fatigue, a loss of energy, and/or decreased appetite on the physical level and on the spiritual level they feel out of touch with their true self and disconnected from the Universe.
Another clear example would be that when spiritually we feel lost and unbalanced, this may cause us to be moody and discontent with life, perhaps we grow emotionally distant from our loved ones, and on the physical level, we may experience stress or fatigue.
On the other hand, when we feel spiritually connected and fulfilled, everything in our life including physical and emotional pain, is easier to deal with. We feel lighter and happier.
There’s no denying it, when we feel connected and balanced spiritually we feel better physically and emotionally. Nourishing our spiritual self is as important as food, water, and exercise.
Some people claim to experience complete healing from certain health conditions through a variety of spiritual methods, but this doesn’t happen all that often. However, even if complete healing is not attainable, our physical health and overall sense of well-being can be greatly enhanced by improving our spiritual health.
This is an extremely helpful asset for anyone living with a chronic health condition. You may not be able to cure your illness, but your spirituality can be used to help you feel better, cope with pain, symptoms, limits, and daily challenges, continue to find meaning and purpose in your life, and live life more fully. When things get really rough it gives us the strength to carry on and elevates the quality of life.
Although I am certainly not thrilled that I have faced a variety of chronic health conditions in my life and all that it entails, I do believe we can be transformed by it in a positive way. Illness can be a spiritual journey that helps us to know ourselves better and to grow. It has the ability to put us in touch with the metaphysical world and a different level of consciousness. It brings us back to our true selves and offers spiritual transformation and self-realization. It pushes and nudges us to transcend the mundane material reality that most of us live in into a higher spiritual realm.
For some unknown spiritual reason, it appears that it takes a great deal of pain, suffering, and challenges to push one to grow spiritually and emotionally and without there tends to be little growth within. I often feel angry that spirituality operates this way, but I have seen it be true over and over. In the book, The Alchemy of Illness, Kat Duff teaches that “Indigenous communities believe illness is one of the most reliable means of revelation and knowledge.”
Most people are unaware of the importance of spiritual health, caught in the whirlwind of life, mindlessly and without question, living an illusion. Illness shatters this illusion. We are forever changed by the experience of illness and we learn things we would have never learned otherwise. We can take these spiritual lessons and the knowledge we acquire and share it with those around us to try and make the world a better place so that hopefully it won’t come to the point where all those that come after us will endure the same suffering that we have, and so the earth can begin to heal.
If you’re not living with any chronic health conditions, spiritual health is still very important for many of the same reasons and to maintain balance in your health. Enriched spiritual health offers all of us comfort, meaning, harmony, purpose, hope, strength, and inner peace in our lives.
Improving Spiritual Health
There are many different spiritual paths and no one can tell another which is the right one to choose. Each of us must follow the yearnings of our own core or true self and find our way.
It’s important to note that we aren’t talking about religion here. Some people may find spiritual fulfillment in religion, but it is only one of many ways. Religion and spirituality are not one and the same. Spiritual connection is about finding meaning and purpose in your life, discovering who you truly are, and connecting with the sources that provide you inner strength, comfort, hope, inner peace, and feelings of well-being.
Be still and listen. Tune into your inner voice and identify what it is that makes you feel whole, alive, and connected to the Universe; this is your spiritual food. When do you feel most fulfilled and complete? What gives you inner peace, comfort, strength, and harmony?
For some it may be a daily ritual such as meditation, yoga, or breathwork, while for others it may be weeding the garden, watching the sunset, taking a walk, or other forms of communing with nature. Others may find it through community service, art, music, dance, or by simply being more mindful. The sources of spiritual fulfillment are many.
Your spiritual health, as well as your mental or emotional and physical health, may be improved by cultivating more humor and gratitude in your life. Remembering to appreciate the simple things in life and not taking yourself too seriously.
Eating a healthy diet and living by green principles is very important for the health of your spiritual self, as each of these has a significant impact on your brain chemistry and your autonomic nervous system. If neurotransmitters in your brain and your autonomic nervous system are disrupted by toxins and poor diet, then it can be very difficult to find inner peace and feel connected. Your diet sets the groundwork for your spiritual experiences.
Once you identify your spiritual needs, nourish them on a regular basis. Don’t ignore them or put them off. If you neglect your spiritual health, then you become hungry and search for food in the wrong places like sugar, caffeine, drugs and alcohol, which is destructive and zaps you of your life-sustaining energy.
After years and years of neglect, one becomes disconnected from their spiritual self and gets lost. Our world is sadly full of people who neglect their spiritual self and the consequences of this are seen all around us in the level of addictions, violence, crime, depression, suicide, lack of compassion and respect for one another, divorce, and ultimately the destruction of our planet exhibited in our society. If you have neglected spirituality, it is never too late to start again. The spiritual self has an amazing ability to recover and flourish in splendor once again.
A lot of people think that the search for the spiritual is a big mystery or requires attendance in retreats or meetings with great spiritual gurus, but that is not the case. Spirituality is an integral part of everyone and can be found in all aspects of your life. You only need to become aware. Spiritual development is a process that takes place throughout the course of one’s life.
Experiencing life completely, fully, and consciously, and being present with each moment even in the midst of great pain and suffering, is the essence of spiritual health.