Spiritual Health: A Holistic Perspective
By Beatriz Martinez
reviewed by juliana ascolani
Health is the greatest wealth one can achieve, and focusing on our wellness while acquiring the right techniques can help us improve the quality of our lives. While doing this, we may want to adopt a holistic approach and take care of our physical, mental, social, environmental, economic, and spiritual health as well.
At SolaVieve we consider that spirituality is innate within all humans and we agree with ancient medicine systems, like the Traditional Chinese Medicine, which states that the body, mind, and spirit of a person are inseparable. This is why we pay special attention to cultivate our spirituality, as it is one of the bases for our wellbeing, helping us to manage emotions and worries, improving our relationships, and boosting our motivation and passions.
This series of articles connects the six dimensions of holistic health to understand how prevention through lifestyle and empowerment can improve our overall wellness.
What is spiritual health?
Spiritual health entails the capacity to live a meaningful and purposeful life based on your own values and beliefs, as well as to create a connection between you and the world that surrounds you, with the final goal of living a transcendent life beyond the present context. By experiencing a spiritual life, people can become aware of their inner peace, hope, compassion, and harmony with others and themselves.
When talking about transcendence, spirituality aims for individuals to move beyond their centeredness, to look around and increase their knowledge about human existence and other abstract things, empowering them to understand and love themselves.
What are the benefits of optimal spiritual health?
- More positive feelings;
- Finding meaning, purpose, and a sense of joy and wonder;
- Appreciating life’s experiences;
- Building a stronger spiritual immune system;
- Developing resilience to handle difficult times;
- Gaining strength and comfort;
- Getting better sleep;
- Developing harmony and happiness within oneself and the surrounding world.
What are the key components of spiritual health?
- Meaningful and purposeful life: Finding deeper meaning and purpose is essential to living a profound and happy life. Spirituality can help us ask and contemplate questions about our principles and objectives. Slowing down and questioning our behaviors, feelings, emotions, and thoughts can be beneficial when defining meaningful and purposeful life goals.
- Beliefs, values, and ethics: Spirituality can guide us toward finding our beliefs, values, and ethics. Through this, we can behave and live according to our principles, feeling satisfied and balanced in our life pursuits.
- Connection: The way we connect with ourselves, others, and the transcendent can influence our self-esteem, satisfaction, empowerment, and attitudes positively, as it allows us to get to know ourselves deeper. Likewise, a connection with others is important for our overall wellbeing. This outward connection provides us with a sense of community, respect, and empathy. Lastly, a specific connection with nature and the transcendent can provide a sense of belonging and gratitude.
How does spiritual health connect with the other dimensions of holistic wellness?
- Mental: Having balanced mental health can enable us to fully explore our spirituality and enjoy the connections we create with ourselves and our surroundings. Likewise, meditation, breathing exercises, or the connection with one’s environment, among other spiritual practices, can be beneficial when dealing with difficult situations. These practices can help us manage stress and anxiety, improve our connection with the present moment, create optimism and hope, and feel more satisfied.
Studies show how having meaning in life is associated with, for example, physical and psychological health, length and quality of life, work adjustment, and social attractiveness. What is more, by having meaning in life people can avoid distress and cognitive decline. At the same time, by having optimal spiritual health, people can experience a sense of coherence in their life, which means that they can feel that their environment is predictable and life is in order, helping to cope with distress and suffering. Studies define spiritual wellbeing as a powerful predictor of self-esteem and the ability to cope effectively with challenges and distresses.
- Physical: Being physically active can increase our motivation and help us explore our interests and passions. Likewise, a zest for life can encourage us to be physically engaged. Spirituality can provide personal support, comfort, tranquility, strength, and vitality to people coping with different types of health disorders, and the recovery process can be smoother. Also, spirituality showed a protective effect against several diseases by managing emotions, improving the lifestyle (sleep, nutrition, and avoidance of addictions) as well as accelerating the success of treatments. By decreasing stressful emotions and promoting healing ones, spirituality can positively influence our physical body and particularly the immune, cardiovascular, hormonal, and nervous systems.
- Social: Spirituality can help us find the best tools to prevent antisocial behavior and increase our empathy, respect, and harmony in our relationships with others. Spiritual practices can provide the skills to become aware of our behavior, as well as the skills to cope with the behaviour of others in a healthy way, without negatively affecting our overall health. At the same time, spiritual people tend to foster love and peace, and help others improve their own spiritual health as well.
- Environmental: By connecting with nature and our surroundings, we can increase our awareness of the importance of taking care of the environment, our planet, and our community. Research showed that people regularly exposed to nature increase their sense of connectedness to it, feeling part of the natural environment and experiencing more creativity and inspiration. At the same time, people who have optimal spiritual health and enjoy having purpose in life and accepting themselves more tend to be closer to nature.
- Economic: Money worries can lead to stressors, anxiety, and possible health disorders that can be avoided and treated through spiritual practices, such as meditation or journaling. Spirituality is a positive tool to explore our emotions and feelings and helps us learn to manage them, as well as to set our purpose and goals in life and work on a better economic reality. Spirituality also widens our perspective, which can help us navigate difficult times.
SolaVieve is dedicated to making a difference in your overall health and wellbeing. We invite you to explore your spiritual dimension by finding out what works best for you, building on your potential, and continuing your holistic journey with us.
I am a journalist specialised in international relations, and writing is my absolute passion. I translate my knowledge and feelings into words, a process that has become my profession and at the same time my personal healing practice. I believe that being curious about what surrounds us is the key to educating ourselves and to further being able to express it to others. I love reading and am mostly interested in politics, human rights, social movements, and the passionate world of health.
I am a health researcher who bridges data science and health research with direct experience in healthcare and university institutions, passionately and collaboratively pursuing the integration and synergy of all key areas of health and wellness. I believe in inclusion as the main pillar of our society, especially when it comes to health. Promotion and prevention in health empower people to adopt healthy decisions, thus I have been working during the last years in the development of inclusive and holistic health systems. What do I enjoy the most about my job? Realizing how we are making a difference in people’s lives, and seeing the result in their health journeys. I enjoy the challenge of questioning new paradigms and creating debate around them.
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