Although they may not use the term to describe their struggles, many people today grapple with spiritual wellness and feel at odds with their environment or where they’re going in life. This can lead to mood disorders like depression and anxiety and manifest in destructive behaviors such as substance abuse. Seeking help through in-person or online therapy can help, and there are several other ways to improve your spiritual wellness.
For some, the road may be long and will involve working through past trauma. But the benefits of strong spiritual health are significant and include feeling more content, more capable, and more at peace.
Since March is Spiritual Wellness Month, now is a good time to work on improving your spiritual wellness. Here are 9 ways you can get started on your spiritual wellness journey.
1. Practice Mindfulness Through Meditation or Prayer
Mindfulness is defined as being intentionally and acutely aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, and surroundings without judgment or reaction. It helps calm your mind and facilitates feelings of harmony and connectedness, providing an appropriate space to work on spiritual wellness. It sets the stage for evaluating your relationship with the world and how it can be improved, making it a powerful tool for improving spiritual wellness.
Meditation and prayer are both excellent ways to practice mindfulness, and there is no shortage of material available online to guide you through the process.
Spiritual wellness does not by definition involve communion or communication with some divine entity (like God or Mother Nature). But many religious individuals will find the two coincide significantly, especially as they relate to meaning in life, direction, principles, and morals.
2. Identify Opportunities for Improvement
Spiritual wellness, as we’ve seen, has a broad definition encompassing a variety of states and goals. How one reaches them varies from person to person. Thus, it’s important that you understand what spiritual wellness means for you and what you hope to improve in your life.
Doing so requires self-reflection: taking time to evaluate and understand your own motivations, desires, fears, thoughts, and feelings. While it can be tricky at first, simple tools can help you become more adept at self-reflection.
One of them is journaling, which studies have shown to promote self-reflection and learning. What’s more, there are a variety of free tools and prompts available to help get you started, like this list from the online mental health platform Cerebral.
Another good tool for identifying areas of opportunity is therapy. Therapy is like guided journaling with a partner—one who’s spent years studying the mind and developing strategies for understanding it. Online therapy has helped make therapy cheaper and more widely accessible. It’s a good place to start if you’re unsure how to move forward with your spiritual wellness.
3. Connect With a Community
People who struggle with spiritual wellness often feel disconnected from the world and the people around them. Communities are important to humans. They are the foundation of our social organization and one of the keys to our evolutionary success. Feeling out of step with one’s peers can have a negative impact on your overall well-being.
For this reason, seeking out a community of like-minded individuals can help improve your spiritual wellness. Communities take all different forms, from running groups to pottery classes, church choirs to cosplay events. Communities provide a sense of belonging and companionship, which are essential to the feelings of harmony and unity necessary for spiritual wellness.
Thanks to the internet, there are many ways to find local and international communities, in-person and online. Websites like Reddit and Hive and chat applications like Discord bring together people with similar interests and passions. Your region’s or city’s official website may also provide a list of communities or community centers in the area where people meet or classes are offered.
4. Practice Gratitude Through Journaling
We already mentioned the benefits of journaling for introspection and self-reflection at the start of this article, but this is just one of many ways that journaling can help you improve your spiritual wellness.
It is also a powerful tool for practicing gratitude, which is known to enhance empathy and reduce aggression. This makes it easier to build connections to those around you and improve overall physical and psychological health. Practicing gratitude also helps you to reframe problems in your life and put them back into perspective. This can have a profound effect on your spiritual wellbeing by leading to increased feelings of harmony with your personal environment and situation.
5. Use Journaling, Therapy, or Your Community to Define Goals and Aspirations
Direction in life is a core component of spiritual wellness. A sense of direction enables you to go through periods of transition or hardship without losing sight of what’s important to you. Without a sense of direction, people often have difficulty navigating such periods and may even feel like they have no real purpose.
Defining direction in life requires looking inward in a critical way and teasing out the threads of what you find most important in this world before they can be woven into a meaningful tapestry. Journaling, therapy, and engaging with members of your community are all excellent ways to do this.
Importantly, many online therapy platforms like BetterHelp include a comprehensive questionnaire during the sign-up process and before matching you with a therapist. You can easily find someone to help you with this kind of goal-setting and deeper search for meaning and direction.
6. Volunteer or Offer Support to Someone in Need
Volunteering is a great way to improve your spiritual wellness for a number of reasons. Not only does it involve some level of community engagement, but it’s also associated with improved overall mental health and provides a sense of purpose and meaning. It helps you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself: a collective effort to do good in the world, however you define that.
This is especially true for older individuals, although these benefits are not limited to any age bracket or demographic. Likewise, the manner in which you volunteer doesn’t really matter. What matters most is deciding on a cause that has meaning to you and then working to further it.
7. Reconnect With Nature
It may sound cliché, but reconnecting with nature can help bring balance to one’s life and lead to feelings of harmony and unity with one’s surroundings. Spending time in nature is scientifically proven to improve cognition, reduce stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and improve overall happiness and quality of life. And the more connected you feel with nature, the stronger these benefits are.
Feelings of harmony and unity with the world at large are integral to spiritual wellness, and it’s impossible to achieve these if you spend too much time away from nature or confined to a single environment. Humans inherently recognize something of themselves in nature. Simply spending time outdoors and around greenery is sufficient for fostering feelings of connectedness.
Finally, stress, anxiety, depression, and pain can all cloud your sense of purpose and diminish feelings of connectedness. Spending time in nature is known to reduce all of these.
8. Speak to a Mentor or Community Leader
Mentors are individuals in your life who are able to offer guidance and wisdom thanks to their greater level of experience. Think carefully about who in your life you turn to for advice, and consider speaking to them about your spiritual wellness or any specific doubts or troubles you have that relate to it.
If there’s nobody in your life you feel comfortable discussing these things with, you can reach out to an online therapist, use an online mentorship platform, or speak with a community leader.
Community leaders, including local religious leaders, academic leaders, and political leaders, typically have years of experience understanding and helping the people around them. Their position as a leader very likely stems from an eagerness to help their community, and that includes you. Like therapists, they are also used to helping people explore the more difficult aspects of spiritual wellness.
9. Address Existing Mental Health Problems
If you are struggling with mental health difficulties such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or substance abuse, it can be difficult to move forward with your goals regarding spiritual wellness. The kinds of negative thoughts associated with mood disorders are antithetical to the harmony, connectedness, and direction characteristic of spiritual wellness. It is important you deal with them, either first or concurrently.
Therapy is one of the most effective methods of addressing mental health disorders. There are many excellent online therapy platforms for depression, anxiety, and all other forms of difficulty.
Importantly, mood disorders and other mental health troubles both affect and are affected by overall spiritual wellness. You cannot address one without the other, and it will be difficult to improve your spiritual wellness in a meaningful way while suffering from other disorders. Whether through traditional or online therapy, it’s important to address these.
Spiritual wellness is a key component to overall mental health. A variety of methods exist for improving spiritual wellness, focused around feelings of connectedness, meaning, and direction. Tools like journaling and meditation, plus resources like community leaders and online therapists, can help you on your journey to improved spiritual wellness and a happier, more fulfilling life.