I had a very interesting conversation with one of my clients recently. She was sharing with me how she defines her own spirituality and what encompasses spiritual health for her. Relationships, friends, and community were a big part of spirituality for her; her interactions with significant others, her sense of belonging in her community. As we chatted about it a little longer, it became evident she appeared to have high emotional intelligence, or EQ, which seemed to be partly due to her regular connections with others and a strong feeling of belonging.
Our spiritual well-being affects our physical, mental and emotional health. That’s why I include it as one of the12 Spots on the Peacock’s Tail, the 12 general areas I believe we all need to be accountable to ourselves, and look after.
So, spirituality may mean something different to many of us, and what we believe we need to stay spiritually well may also be different. But it is a basic human need to search for meaning.
For me, spirituality is about a real, dynamic, daily, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I find much comfort, guidance and hope from this relationship. So, like the client I shared about earlier, for me it is also about relationship, belonging and connections. So as human beings, it seems we need to feel a deep, spiritual connection and to practice faith.
Dan Buettner, in his book The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer discusses his research findings regarding the longest lived peoples in the world: “I realised that most of the 200 centenarians I had met believed in a similar guiding power. The Seventh Day Adventist faith was rooted in a strong faith tradition; Okinawan elders believed that their deceased ancestors watched over them; and Sardinians were devout Catholics….The fact that God is in control of their lives relieves any economic, spiritual, or well-being anxiety they might otherwise have. They go thorough life with the peaceful certitude that someone is looking out for them.”
A few health benefits of spirituality(The Essence of Health, Dr C. Hassed)
- Reduced depression
- Reduced substance abuse
- Better physical health
- Reduced mortality from all causes and greater longevity
- Reduced incidence of, and longer survival with, (bowel) cancer
- Reduction of lifestyle related diseases.
3 tips to enhance your spiritual health
- Set aside time each day, even if it’s only 5 minutes, to stop and look at the beauty around you. Be thankful. Be present. Be grateful. Watch the sunrise or sunset, inspect a flower closely, watch a bug go about his day nonchalantly, or be a hidden spectator of a bird’s cautious movement in your garden.
- Share with someone about your spiritual journey, what it means to you, or your faith.
- Find a Poem, Proverb, Psalm or Wisdom saying that encourages you, and write it down.