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  • Jesse Williams, LPC-MHSP

How Do You 'Spiritual Health'?

Religion. God. Deity. Higher Self. Higher Power. Ancient Ones. Divine books. Divinity. Atheism. Agnostic. Allah. The Devil. Prayer. Past Lives. Trinity. Heaven. Hell. Goddess. Pagan. Islam. Buddha. Shrine. Temple. Church. Soul. Religious Texts. Christ. Reincarnation. The Universe. Karma. Witchcraft. Satanism. Christianity. Pantheism. Afterlife.

Before we even get started, I want you to check out that list of words above. Look them over.

Depending on who you are and what you believe, some of those words might have been welcoming for you. Friendly and relatable. Yet other words may have felt foreign. Offensive. Scary. Triggering. Notice the emotions that come up as you read through that list.

Now, throw those words out the window. Forget about them. Why? Because religion is not a requirement for Spiritual Health. Religion can uphold Spiritual Health and provide an excellent connecting point for inspiration, yet it is not a requirement. It is not necessary. And furthermore, just like when you read through that list, things of religious nature can spike anxiety, jubilation, fear, resentment, excitement, or gratitude. In other words, religious material is many times emotionally and highly personal.

Yet, why throw those words out the window when we are talking about Spiritual Health? Because I don't want this topic to be charged or offensive or limiting in who can read this blogpost and get something out of it. And if Spiritual Health feels a little uncomfortable for you, call it Inspirational Health instead.

Because regardless of religious beliefs or doctrine, we all have a spiritual side. We all have Spiritual Health. Whether you are Atheist or Baptist, Hindu or Pagan--- you have a piece of your Holistic Health known as Spiritual Health, and you cannot ignore it without feeling negative effects.

But what exactly is Spiritual Health? What does that even mean? I conceptualize Spiritual Health as one of the pieces of overall Holistic Health,along with physical, mental, emotional, social, self-expressive, and energetic. It refers to our internal requirement for inspiration, meaning, exploration, growth, and connection to something bigger. I think of it as viewing life in a "bigger-picture" type of way. At its core, Spiritual Health is the necessity for being inspired and have meaning. Think of feeling that warm fuzzy feeling spreading through you, leaving you energized, awake, and aware of the greater things in life.

Oftentimes when I think of Spiritual Health, I think of the Medicine Wheel. In working with the Medicine Wheel, the Spiritual North is that piece of the life process that brings meaning to our lives. In the world of emotional processing, it helps us to understand why we went through a tragic event. It helps us to realize how we grow, change, and develop through difficult circumstances. It helps us make meaning of all emotions and all thoughts. It is the Spiritual North that calls us to the bigger pictures of our lives, encouraging us to leave behind the limited views of the current circumstances.

I feel like that pairs nicely with the idea of Spiritual Health. It inspires us to understand the how and the why. Whether it's science or religion--- Spiritual Health requires us to look at the larger picture, to feel inspired, to explore, to grow, and to connect to something more than ourselves.

Again, this is all separate from how you view yourself religiously.

Because we all require inspiration, growth, exploration, and bigger-picture perspective.

Yet how do you fulfill your Spiritual Health? How do you honor it? How do you shift into the perspective of the bigger picture? Some people get this bigger picture when reading world news. Others get it when learning about different cultures. Or learning a new science. Or engaging in a preferred religion.

While your religious preferences do not dictate whether or not you need inspiration, your religious preferences do dictate how you may choose to go about tapping into inspiration and the bigger picture. Your religious beliefs (when not experienced as oppressive, hampering, or traumatic) can give you a great clue as to how to go about honoring your Spiritual Health. For instance, if you are religious, you may feel as if you are honoring your Spiritual Health when you pray. Or when you attend a religious service or ceremony. Read religious texts. Light incense or candles. Work with prayer beads, prayer cards, devotionals, or religious podcasts.

But what if you aren't religious? What if you have no religion preference? What if you prefer not to think about religion? What if you feel traumatized by the idea of organized religion, and you generally steer clear of all things religious-based?

Then try going to an art museum. Or get yourself directly involved with the art process by pursuing some creative hobby, such as writing, painting, drawing, dancing, singing, or playing a musical instrument. Meditate on universal-based principles of love, peace, or patience. Work with archetypes, which are excellent sources of inspiration that are unrelated to religious preferences. Read about global issues. Ask yourself "What life lesson am I learning through this current experience of life?" Observe your general experience of life, trying your hardest to squeeze every drop of LIFE out of your days. Learn about your culture. Learn about the culture of others. Observe and be a part of the movement of paying it forward. Volunteer. Read about a person who inspires you, whether it is a college athlete or a religious saint. Read song lyrics and allow yourself to feel the inspiration within a piece of music. Get out on a hiking trail, a park bench, a sandy beach, or a rocky shoreline. Allow yourself to fully experience nature with all of your senses. Examine tree bark, a blade of grass, or a beetle.

Ultimately, ask yourself: "What inspires me? What brings me to life? What enlightens and enlivens me deep within my core? What is the reason for me going though this? What life lesson am I currently learning?"

After asking yourself these questions, stay true to what your intuition tells you. Working with Spiritual Health requires you to be aware of your own intuitive voice and stay true to that voice. If something is drawing you in intuitively, explore it. Exploration is a necessary part of growth.

Explore and embrace your answers to these question. Follow that which inspires you. Discover where you feel inspiration in your body. Feel the oneness. Feel the openness. See the bigger picture. Cultivate meaning making. Breathe in openness and inspiration. Breathe out rigid thoughts and limiting views of self.

And that is how you 'Spiritual Health.'


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