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According to the Oxford Dictionary, ‘wellness’ means ‘the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.’ This overarching concept is further classified into five dimensions of personal health or wellbeing – physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual. While all of these are interlinked and interdependent, and thus combining to ensure ‘wellness’ of the individual, they are also separate entities in themselves that need to be nurtured and catered to individually. Here, we will focus on spiritual wellness and ways of enhancing it.

What is spiritual wellness?

While wellness talks about your individual identity and wholesomeness of life in general, spiritual wellness is perhaps the deepest and most profound of all the dimensions. The concept of ‘spirituality’ focuses on the connection with one’s inner self, with the source of life or a divine being, resulting in a deep understanding of who we are, why we are here, and how we fulfill our purpose in life.

According to the International Institute for Lifestyle Medicine and Wellness Care, ‘spiritual wellness is an evolutionary process of discovering meaning and purpose of life and includes. That includes seeking truth, thinking of others, healthy eating, loving, playing, serving, working, healthy sleep habits, and living a spiritually driven life, among other things.

Spiritual wellness is thus an all-encompassing approach to a person’s health and happiness – it is an internal positive way of looking at life and being in harmony with the present and the future. It stands for hope, positivity, acceptance, forgiveness, worship, and purpose.

How to improve your spiritual wellness?

Although the concept may initially seem broad and daunting, spiritual wellbeing is actually made up of small steps that we can practice every day and make it a part of our routine. Once they become a habit, they will gradually seep in as part of our life and start to show the results in our overall health and wellbeing. While some of them are straightforward, such as praying and finding quiet time, others such as meditation may require a bit more effort and introspection. Nevertheless, improving your spiritual wellness is not an uphill task.  The list below highlights some of the ways in which you can foster spiritual wellness.  Most of these points will be interconnected, which is intrinsic to the nature of the topic; spiritual wellbeing is a holistic approach towards life, one that requires us to be fulfilled physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, whether it be in the relationship with our self or that of others.

  1. Focus on your diet

What we eat and how we eat it plays a massive role in our outlook on life. People who eat clean, healthy food with balanced portions are reported to feel happier and more fulfilled in all aspects of their lives.

According to an Australian study published in 2017, people who eat more fruits and vegetables experience an increase in overall happiness and life satisfaction. A second study from the University of Konstanz in Germany drew similar conclusions, finding that consuming vegetables led to a higher level of happiness over time than sugar or unhealthy food.

Also, focusing on our food while eating and being ‘present’ at the moment (vs. multitasking during mealtimes or eating hurriedly) can really help calm our nerves and improve our diet and mental health. All these might seem trivial steps, but play a vital role in improving our spiritual wellness.

  1. Engage in physical activity

Yoga, also linked with meditation, is an excellent form of de-stressing your mind and body and helps lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and reduce anxiety, fatigue, and depression. If yoga isn’t your cup of tea, make any form of physical exercise a part of your daily routine, be it going to the gym, doing Zumba, jogging, or even walking. Your mind and body are closely connected, and you cannot hope to improve your spiritual wellness without taking care of one and not the other. Apart from the physical benefits, exercise is a great way to relieve stress and fight negative thoughts, anxiety, and depression.

  1. Slow down and meditate

The fast-paced life of today can often result in unnecessary stress and anxiety. Once in a while, we need to pause, breathe, and meditate. Meditation is one of the oldest and most widely recognized forms of attaining internal peace and self-consciousness. It could be as disciplined and proper as yoga, or it could be as simple as spending some quiet time with yourself every day. Meditation is all about being in the moment, being fully here, with all the concentration focused on the now. By eliminating worries of the future and thoughts from the past, we focus all our energies at the current moment, on our breathing and our innermost thoughts, relieving our minds and bodies of stress and anxiety. Many people find peace in prayer; some merely close their eyes and do breathing exercises while others may take some ‘downtime’ to write their thoughts in a journal. Whether we do it for ten minutes each day or one hour, whether we choose to start our day with it or end with it, doing it consistently will free our minds and make the relationship with our inner self stronger.

  1. Travel

According to the UN World Tourism Organization, the happiest people on earth travel more. One of the key reasons for this, according to neuroscientists, is that traveling rewires our brains. The new experiences open up more creativity and thinking patterns, resulting in a more open and positive outlook towards life.

Moreover, travel comes with a lot of other perks – the thrill of exploring new places, the joy of eating new food, the experience of meeting new people, and the chance to make lifetime memories. Resultantly, travel plays a significant role in improving your spiritual wellness and impacts on the way we approach life and our selves.

  1. Appreciate nature

A walk in the park, watching the birds sing, feeding the ducks in the pond, a stroll through the wilderness – all these can have a lovely therapeutic effect on the mind and body.

Nature has a wonderfully magnanimous and calming presence; use that to your advantage and take a few minutes out every day to appreciate God’s creations and the beauty around you. If you have an interest in animals, keep a pet. Or simply walk outside every day for a few minutes to freshen up your mind and body.

  1. Engage in self-care

Identify a couple of activities/tasks which give you great pleasure, and allow yourself to indulge in them once in a while. They could be as simple or as elaborate as you wish them to be. You could be doing a digital detox and disconnecting from your phone for a day, taking a long warm bath with bath salts, listening to music while sipping on a warm cup of coffee, getting a pedicure, cooking your favorite meal or reading a book.

The trick is to understand what ‘me-time’ means for you and do it religiously to uplift your confidence, spirits, and ultimately to improve your spiritual wellness.

  1. Think positively

Consciously focusing your mind on good, positive thoughts will yield unbelievable results for your overall health and happiness. By trying to focus on the ‘good’ in every person and every situation, we deliberately eliminate negativity from our life. Peace and calm come from gratitude, acceptance, and positivity, allowing our minds and bodies to be more free and relaxed. Keep a journal where you can note down the positives of each day, or simply make a list of all the things you are grateful for. When feeling down or dejected, open the journal, and it is sure to lighten up your spirits instantly and provide an energy boost.

  1. Engage in personal reflection

Explore your spiritual core. Ask yourself – why was I brought into this world? What is the purpose of my life? What values and principles do I stand for? How do I deal with conflict and change? What gives me inner peace and comfort? How do I behave with others? What do I want from this life? How do I define success? What do I value the most?

Once we start this internal monologue, the answers will allow us to delve deeper into our minds and our souls, revealing more about our personality to ourselves and enriching the bond with our spiritual wellbeing. This is one of the most profound ways to improve your spiritual wellness.

  1. Give back to society

Acts like volunteering and mentoring can go a long way in building a person’s self-esteem and improving spiritual wellness. There are multiple volunteering opportunities in every part of the world; look for something that interests you and take the time out to give back to the community.

Moreover, becoming a mentor to someone, whether personally or professionally, is another excellent way to give back to the community. You could be helping someone out in distress, lending them a listening ear, or helping them achieve their dreams through your advice; mentoring is a great way to feel good about yourself and the world.

  1. Consciously avoid negative triggers

This is again tied to the concept of self-reflection. Ask yourself – what is it that annoys or irritates you? Is there a particular person, behavior, act, or situation which makes you angry or depressed? Seeking out the answer for this will allow you to identify your ‘trigger points,’ which you can then consciously avoid. Once we know what situation or behavior sparks negative feelings within us, it becomes easier to work our way around it and minimize the negativity.

  1. Prioritize your choices

As humans of today, we are faced with multiple options and decisions every day, which can often become overwhelming. Once you slow down your pace and reflect on what really matters to you, it will become easier to prioritize. Keep asking yourself – is this urgent? Can it wait until tomorrow? Does it affect my happiness or the happiness of those I love? How will I feel if I do it/don’t do it? Is something else more important/critical at this point?

Once you have the answers, you will feel more organized and in control, both with yourself and your surroundings. Consequently, you will feel much lighter even with the same amount of work.

  1. Foster relationships

Here comes another thing that plays a significant role in improving your spiritual wellness.

One of the longest-running studies on happiness revealed that closed and fulfilled relationships are the single biggest contributor to a person’s happiness. Meaningful relationships filled with love, friendship, and joy, protect people from mental and physical decay and are a better predictor of a long and happy life than social class, IQ, or even genes.

Simple acts like spending time with loved ones, communicating correctly, doing activities, and traveling together are some of the best ways to invest in our relationships. Nurturing strong and meaningful relationships, therefore, can have a very profound impact on our physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Similarly, toxic relationships and individuals need to be avoided or excluded to achieve a higher level of spiritual wellbeing.

Spiritual wellbeing is not a destination; rather, it is a journey marked by truth, happiness, gratitude, satisfaction, and a deep sense of self. Those who genuinely take care of their physical, mental and emotional needs can attain spiritual wellbeing where they are one with themselves and with nature.

They have understood the essence of life and how to derive the most out of it to attain maximum pleasure and satisfaction. According to The Laborer’s Health and Safety Fund of North America, Spiritual wellness is being connected to something greater than yourself and having a set of values, principles, morals, and beliefs that guide your actions. This beautiful yet straightforward definition sums it up perfectly – it is only when our purpose of life is aligned with our internal values and belief system that we can truly achieve our potential and start giving back to society. While doing so, we are becoming a completely fulfilled, happy, and grateful person.

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