Spiritual wellness means that you are able to find meaning, hope, comfort, and inner peace in your life, whether through work, nature, art, music, family, or volunteer work.
- Do I make time for meditation and/or prayer?
- Do my values guide my decisions and actions?
- Consider your current level of spiritual wellness: how fulfilled do you feel in your life?
- Do you lack a sense of purpose or efficacy?
What do the categories mean?
- Sense of Belonging
- Do I feel like I fit in? Can I connect with others? Am I a part of something? Do I feel valued by others?
- Regular Mediation, Prayer, Affirmation, etc
- Do I take a moment of silence everyday to connect with my higher self and/or higher power? Am I able to break away from my hectic daily routine to reflect?
- Am I able to focus on the present task at hand? Am I aware of my breathing? Do I remember where I put my keys and park my car?
- Compassionate Toward Others
- Am I able to put myself in another's shoes? Do I take time to teach others? Do I express gratitude?
- Faith in Something Greater than Ourselves
- Do I allow enough room for the sacred in life? Am I able to release control of my life to a higher power?
- Giving of Time and/or Money
- Do I volunteer? Do I donate a set percentage of my income?
- Am I in touch with my intuition? Are my gut feelings reliable and do I listen to them?
- Sense of Meaning and Purpose in Life
- Do you feel your life's meaning is clear to you? Do I know what my life is for? Do your daily activities make sense to you?
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Want to Take Action on Certain Areas?
Sense of Belonging
Having a solid sense of belonging is a basic human need. Having a sense of belonging can provide us with greater meaning in life. Everyone wants to feel like they belong somewhere. There are actions that can be taken to increase your sense of belonging:
- Find ways that you are similar to others instead of focusing on differences;
- Find ways to better accept others;
- Become more socially active by being willing to put yourself out there;
- Promote togetherness in your words and actions;
- Introduce yourself to others;
- Compliment others;
- Invite others to do things; and
- Everyday greet and meet someone new.
Regular Mediation, Prayer, Affirmation, etc
A prayer is a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship. To meditate is to think deeply or focus one's mind for a period of time, in silence, as a method of relaxation and obtaining mental and emotional clarity. Lastly, an affirmation is a word or phrase that is repeatedly said either in silence or out loud which reinforces a new belief that a person wants to adopt. What do all three have in common? One link is the action itself. All three are internal tools that are used to connect our spirituality with an outcome that we want to see manifested into our reality.
- Make prayer a part of your daily routine;
- Take an online meditation course;
- Write down ten affirmations and post them on your bathroom mirror;
- Take 10 minutes a day out of your routine for your daily practice;
- Find some affirmations online that resonate with change you are trying to create;
- Be clear about what you are asking for; and
- Stay focused for the time you are allocating to your daily practice.
Mindfulness is an active state of attention on the present. It is the ability to live in the moment without placing judgement. There are many benefits to having a mindfulness practice including stress reduction, increased happiness, and a general boost to overall health and wellness.
- Try one minute breathing (20 second inhale-20 second hold-20 second exhale);
- Practice mindful observation using all of your senses;
- Sit and relax then imagine yourself melting into everything around you;
- Spend an hour or two in complete silence;
- Close your eyes, focus your attention, and slowly count to ten without getting distracted (when you do start over with the counting);
- Focus on your breathing or learn a new breathing technique; and
- Pick up a book by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Compassionate Toward Others
The Dalai Lama once said, "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." It is true that when we are truly able to love ourselves then we can show love to others through our kindness and compassion. The reverse is also true that in showing compassion to others it comes back towards us.
- Express gratitude;
- Be mindful;
- Practice a morning ritual suggested by the Dalai Lama: "Today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can;"
- Practice commonalities by saying “Just like me, this person is learning about life;”
- Do random acts of kindness;
- Give the gift of truly listening in a conversation; and
- Have compassion for yourself too!
Faith in Something Greater than Ourselves
Faith in something greater than ourselves can give us strength to keep going when the challenge seems daunting. Faith is not restrained to a particular belief system but does rely on trust and complete confidence in a person or thing without proof to justify the beliefs. It is important to remember that having a connection to a higher power does not require a religious practice.
- Find periods of silence (even five minutes) when you can silence your mind;
- Allow yourself to play with childlike abandon;
- Be willing to surrender;
- Set aside sacred time; and
- Read a book for 15 minutes a day on a spiritual practice or religion.
Giving of Time and/or Money
You can reward yourself by giving time and money to others. The act of helping others, whether by giving money or sharing your time, can create an improved sense of well-being. It helps to provide a sense of purpose in life which equates to increased inner satisfaction. The ability to give selflessly is a key component to many belief systems and will bring a sense of inner peace.
- Put a percentage of your income in your budget;
- Commit to volunteering part of your time every month to a cause;
- Choose a charity for a portion of your dividend using the "Pick. Click. Give" campaign; and
- Donate clothes, phones, cars, and other household items that are no longer used.
Our intuition is considered to be our 6th sense. It can be increased by engaging in creative activities which simultaneously calms down the cognitive (left brain) side of the brain. Try out some of these activities to learn how to use it more:
- Spend more time using your right brain;
- Take steps to trust your intuition;
- Set aside time in silence so that you can begin to hear your intuition;
- Pay attention to your dreams and write them down;
- Keep a journal so you can learn how your intuition speaks to you through your body, such as a feeling in your gut or a light or heavy feeling;
- Spend time outside in nature;
- Start out more often with words such as "I feel..." instead of "I think..."; and
- Read books about how to develop your intuition.
Sense of Meaning and Purpose in Life
- Drop from your head to your heart;
- Release the pressure of finding only ONE thing to do because that is extremely misleading;
- Get in touch with your passions;
- Take action on things that have importance to you;
- Take one little step every day on something that matters to you;
- Find a time to journal and ask yourself:
- What makes you smile?
- What activities make you lose track of time?
- What makes you feel good about yourself?
- What are your deepest values?
- Create a personal mission statement:
- What do I want to do?
- Who do I want to help?
- What is the result I want to achieve?
Want some more general tips to improve your Spiritual Wellness?
Here are some things to try:
- Deep belly breathing;
- Ground Yourself: See, hear, feel, smell
- Mindfulness practice;
- Mindful body scan;
- Taking time to explore your beliefs about the meaning and purpose of life; and
- Taking time to think about how you want to guide your life by these beliefs.