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Spiritual Health

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

In therapy, we talk a lot about the importance of “spiritual health” but what does that mean? It doesn’t mean you need to believe in a higher power or God, necessarily. Spiritual health encompasses that area of our lives where we look at the bigger picture: what makes my life meaningful? Why do I and others suffer? Why am I here and what is the purpose of my life? Sometimes, individuals find the answers to these questions in the religions of the world and the spiritual practices and the God(s) represented in those religions. Other folks may find meaning in other ways: through nature, through community activities, the arts, or other non-religious practices that address these big existential questions. It’s not important whether or not you choose to practice a religion. What research shows is that as far as mental health goes, being able to create meaning out of our life experience can significantly increase our ability to cope with stress. We’re all trying to navigate the human condition; how do we process the feelings that come with that experience? Practicing spiritual health on a regular basis can create a more balanced and meaningful life. Prioritizing spiritual health can promote mental and even physical well-being because it provides a framework for understanding ourselves and the world around us. Cultivating this curiosity and understanding fosters a sense of interconnectedness and purpose, two key aspects of finding and sustaining a meaningful life.

  • Reflection and self-awareness: Take time to reflect on your experiences and emotions. Understand how they have shaped you, your beliefs, and values. This introspection can lead to personal growth and a deeper understanding of yourself. Journaling is a great way to do this, or if you need more structure, a guided journal like this one.*

  • Learning and growth: Embrace both positive and negative experiences as opportunities to learn and grow. Every experience, whether joyful or challenging, can provide valuable lessons and insights. Framing our painful experiences as important chances to develop resilience can create a sense of meaning in our suffering.

  • Relationships and connections: Meaningful connections with others can bring a sense of purpose and belonging. Look for ways to stay connected to your community, family and friends. Stay intentional in cultivating that feeling of community and connection and remember that finding friendship and community can often take a lot of effort, but it’s always worth it.

  • Helping others: Finding meaning through acts of kindness and service to others can be immensely rewarding. Contributing to the well-being of others and making a positive impact on their lives can give your own life a profound sense of purpose. Volunteer work, community gardening, even lending a compassionate ear to someone, are all ways we can enlarge our sense of purpose.

  • Pursuing passions: Engaging in activities and hobbies that ignite your passions can bring a strong sense of fulfillment and purpose. When you invest time in what you love, it adds depth and meaning to your existence. Be curious about what brings you joy; it’s never too late to try something new.

  • Overcoming challenges: Rather than avoiding difficulties, confront them head-on. The process of overcoming challenges can instill resilience, strength, and a sense of accomplishment. Remember that suffering and set-backs are part of the human experience and sooner or later, everyone will grapple with these negative experiences.

  • Mindfulness and gratitude: Practice mindfulness to appreciate the present moment and be grateful for the blessings in your life. Recognize the beauty in the small things and find joy in the simple pleasures. Keeping a gratitude journal* is a practice that many people find helps them get into a habit seeing life from a positive perspective.

  • Embracing change: Life is a continuous journey of change. Embrace it with an open mind and a willingness to adapt. Every change presents new opportunities for growth and meaning and when we meet these changes with openness and curiosity, we are making space for deeper meaning in our lives. *

  • Leaving a legacy: Consider the impact you want to have on the world or the people around you. Leaving a positive legacy can provide a sense of fulfillment and meaning that extends beyond your own lifetime. We have the opportunity to touch peoples’ lives in all kinds of ways, through our children, through teaching new skills, through spreading creativity and kindness. Though we may not live to see the seeds of our actions bear fruit, these acts of generosity have the power to shape future generations and, ultimately, create a better world.


By: Alison Napoleon

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