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Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life 

  • Writer's pictureTerri K. Lankford, LPCS

Holistic Health: What is Spiritual Wellness?


If you’ve been following along with our Holistic Health blog post series, you’ll have learned about six aspects of holistic health: sleep, movement, diet, finances, your occupation, and your social situation. You would have learned that:

  • Holistic health means looking at a person as a whole being, not just a part of a being.

  • Sleep is tied intimately with both physical and mental health.

  • Joyful movement releases those feel-good chemicals that help our mood.

  • Intuitive eating can be better for your mental health than rigid, inflexible diets.

  • Financial wellness is tied to our mental health (financial trauma) and physical health (think housing, meal stability, healthcare).

  • Occupational wellness impacts both our mental health (quality of life) and physical health (through the work environment).

  • Your social life improves your mental health through connection and co-regulation, and improves your physical health by combating the impacts of loneliness.

In the seventh part of this series, we’ll be talking about spirituality.


Spirituality refers to the deeply personal and subjective aspect of human existence that seeks to explore and connect with a higher power, divine essence, or universal consciousness. It encompasses a wide range of beliefs, practices, and experiences that go above the material world. While spirituality is commonly associated with religious traditions, it can also be pursued independently, embracing diverse perspectives and philosophies.


How does our spirituality impact our mental health? Can it impact our physical health? Keep on reading to learn the answers!


The Impacts of Spirituality on Physical Health:

While we don’t typically think about the physical aspect of spirituality, a positive spiritual practice has been linked to a plethora of health benefits. Check out just a few of them below:

  1. Healthier Lifestyle Choices: Spirituality often promotes healthy lifestyle choices, such as adopting a balanced diet, regular exercise, abstaining from harmful substances, and getting sufficient sleep, all of which contribute to better physical health outcomes.

  2. Social Support and Connection: Spiritual communities and practices can provide a sense of belonging, social support, and emotional connection, which are crucial for maintaining good mental health. Positive social interactions and support networks have been linked to improved physical health outcomes - just like we talked about in our last blog post.

  3. Positive Mind-Body Connection: Spirituality emphasizes the connection between mind, body, and spirit. Cultivating a positive mindset, fostering gratitude, and practicing self-care can have a profound impact on physical health by reducing inflammation, boosting the immune system, and promoting overall healing processes.

The Impacts of Spirituality on Mental Health:

When we picture spirituality, we most often picture the impact on our thoughts and emotions. Consider the following impact of spirituality on your mental health:

  1. Emotional Well-being: Spirituality has been associated with greater emotional well-being, including increased feelings of happiness, contentment, and inner peace. Spiritual practices often emphasize self-reflection, mindfulness, and compassion, which can help manage and alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress.

  2. Coping Mechanisms: Engaging in spiritual practices provides individuals with coping mechanisms to navigate life's challenges. Prayer, meditation, or engaging with spiritual communities can offer a sense of comfort, solace, and resilience during difficult times, contributing to improved mental health outcomes.

  3. Meaning and Purpose: Spirituality can provide individuals with a sense of meaning, purpose, and a connection to something greater than themselves. This sense of meaning can foster a positive outlook, enhance self-esteem, and promote psychological well-being.


How to Cultivate Positive Spirituality:

Cultivating a spiritual practice can be tricky to navigate, especially if you’re doing so outside of organized religion. Consider the following ways to cultivate a spiritual practice outside of institutionalized religion (if that’s your choice!):

  1. Meditation and Mindfulness: Engaging in regular meditation or mindfulness practices can cultivate a deeper sense of presence, self-awareness, and inner peace. These practices allow individuals to connect with their inner selves, explore their thoughts and emotions, and develop a sense of spiritual connectedness.

  2. Nature Connection: Spending time in nature and developing a connection with the natural world can be a powerful way to cultivate spirituality. Engaging in activities such as hiking, gardening, or simply immersing oneself in natural surroundings can foster a sense of awe, wonder, and reverence, providing a connection to something greater than oneself.

  3. Journaling and Reflection: Taking time for self-reflection and introspection through journaling can be a valuable spiritual practice. Writing down thoughts, feelings, and insights can help individuals gain clarity, process emotions, and explore their spiritual journey.

  4. Engaging with Arts and Creativity: Exploring creative outlets such as painting, writing, music, or dance can serve as a spiritual practice. Expressing oneself through art can be a form of self-discovery, tapping into one's inner wisdom and connecting with the transcendent aspects of life.

  5. Mind-Body Practices: Engaging in activities that integrate the mind and body, such as yoga, tai chi, or Qigong, can foster a sense of harmony and balance. These practices promote physical well-being while simultaneously nurturing the spiritual aspects of life.

  6. Engaging in Acts of Service: Cultivating a sense of spirituality can involve acts of kindness, compassion, and service to others. Volunteering, helping those in need, or engaging in philanthropic endeavors can foster a deep sense of connection and purpose beyond oneself.

We hope this blog post helped inform you about holistic health, and just one element of it: spirituality! If you want more holistic help, look no further than Rise and Thrive Counseling. Our holistic counselors can help address all areas of life - including spirituality. Reach out today to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Welcome to Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life.

 

I’m Terri Kiser Lankford, owner of the Rise & Thrive Counseling Practice, a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (in NC), and the host here at Rise & Thrive Counseling, PLLC and the Embrace| Overcome|CreateYourLife Blog.

 

I’m also an entrepreneur, Syltherin, foodie on a fitness journey, complete book nerd, photography novice who happens to think music is life. 

 

Warning! This site is about motivation, health & wellness, and self love.  but its also about various mental health issues and may talk about subjects such as suicide, self-harm and other touchy subjects at some point. This site is not intended for youth and may be “too much” to some.

 

Nothing on this site should be considered a medical recommendation. I am not a doctor. Anything of interest should be discussed with your doctor or therapist, or me (in person) if you are my current client.  No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. (Sorry, I have to say that.)

 

All writing and mental health information here are accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of publication. However, keep in mind my opinion, and available information, changes over time.

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