The fifth pillar of Wellness to achieve optimal wellbeing: Spiritual
Spiritual wellbeing ultimately represents our connection to ourselves and the world around us. It is the ability to experience and integrate meaning and purpose in life through connection with oneself and others, as well as through other contexts in life such as music, art, literature, nature or something greater than oneself.
It is about the relationships we build; the positive engagement with others, self and the environment. Therefore, it doesn’t necessarily only reflects religious beliefs. However, for those who have religious belief a religious faith is a central feature.
Finding purpose and developing our spiritual wellbeing can be daunting. There is so much misconception around these concepts, and with the pace and distractions of modern life, it is easy to get disconnected from our authentic self and the things we value the most. Having a purpose in life doesn’t need to be something grandiose. In fact, finding purpose is finding what drives us, what brings meaning to our lives and is innate in every single one of us.
Many believe we come to this world with a purpose – or as the Japanese concept of ‘Ikigai’ teaches us – our ‘Reason for Being’ already. However, due to our nurture, and stories about ourselves that are usually imposed by others, we disconnect from our true and authentic self. Therefore, we get disconnected from our purpose.
To find one’s purpose is to find the connection and love towards oneself, others and the world at large. When we live in our purpose, we are congruent with our beliefs. Fully accepting and loving who we are. We start trusting ourselves and our actions because we live the life that matches our belief system and we move to a place of love and contentment, rather than fear and anxiety.
Improve your spiritual wellbeing
The benefits of spiritual wellbeing are endless as they directly impact your daily life. When you are experiencing optimal spiritual wellbeing you feel increased contentment with your life; you build positive and meaningful relationships and you feel like your life has a purpose, a meaning. You accept new challenges with ease and you keep expanding and growing.
Here are some tips on how to start improving your spiritual wellbeing:
Practice living in the present moment
‘Stay present!’. Many therapists and coaches advise their clients to focus on what is right here, right now. As one thing is for certain, we cannot control the future and we cannot change the past. Therefore, what we can do is to be in control of our present state. This means, being in control of how we act, what we say, do, eat, buy etc. Not focusing on things that you cannot change, such as natural disasters, or pandemic, but focusing on the things you can – like your attitude and behaviours. The grounding exercise is very powerful and it has this name for a reason. To ground yourself means to come back to your body, to your five senses. Feeling the surface underneath you, hearing the sound and seeing what is around you. It is that simple! Just to keep coming back to your body, your breath and connecting to the environment or people around you. Rather than getting stuck in your head with anxious thoughts or worries.
Forgive and let go
Feeling anger and disappointment towards someone doesn’t necessarily affect the person who has triggered these sensations, but it always affects the person who is holding onto these emotions. Holding grudges and bottling up hurt is not healthy, as it affects our inner peace and overall wellbeing. Therefore, we need to learn to let go and forgive. The best way to do this is to practice compassion. Having a compassionate mindset will help you be less judgemental towards yourself and others. This is not to say that we should tolerate any kind of abuse, we absolutely must remove ourselves from situations that can cause us harm or distress. However, we need to let go of negative experiences, so we don’t continue to relive them, and experience the same pain over and over again.
Keep a journal, write about your experiences you think you can’t let go of. Reflect on what happened, why it happened, how it affected you and why you reacted the way you did. Finding clarity will help you move forward and find a way to let go. Remember to stay kind to yourself and not judge actions you can no longer change.
“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” ~Chinese proverb
It is human nature to take care of each other and support one another when struggling. In fact, studies have shown significant health benefits of giving. The psychological benefits include decreased chances of suffering from anxiety or depression and improving one self-esteem. Whereas, physical benefits are seen through improved blood pressure and a decline in stress.
When we give without expecting anything in return, we are practising kindness and a selfless way of being. This contributes towards our positive outlook of life and it creates more optimism towards things we do. Start practising giving, by simply complimenting someone each day. Explore the benefits of just giving without expecting to receive anything in return will inspire you to do it more often!
Post solely for the use of stress.org.uk by Anja Predojevic