What is spiritual wellness?
Spiritual wellness is an often overlooked aspect of our lives that is hugely important to the foundation on which we live our lives. It drives our personal values, and is about various areas of connection with the self, the earth, and with the bigger picture of beyond what the eye can see.
How to balance my spirituality
Below are some examples of activities that can help to balance and enhance spiritual wellness. These include spiritual practices in terms of belief of being part of something bigger than us, along with connection to self, our loved ones, and the various communities we are part of. Remember, as all areas are interconnected, some of these activities can overlap with mind and physical wellness activities. Tuning into what feels like it will be the most beneficial thing for you to do in the moment is what will be most soothing. Loosely defined, these are activities that are helpful in the moment (coping strategies) when we're feeling out of balance, or can be used as ongoing or enhancing foundational practices (self-care) that help bring more balance and health to our spiritual and foundational experience. They're listed in no particular order, and we're continually adding to our list, so please check back regularly.
Meditation is a practice that has been around for thousands of years, and for good reason! It has countless benefits for the mind and body, along with creating or deepening a connection with our higher selves. There can sometimes be a hesitation to meditation because it feels 'undoable" or it can feel like one is doing it wrong. The great thing about meditation is that it can't be done wrong! It is called a "practice" because it does take some time to learn how meditation best works for each of us individually, and how we best practice. There are many resources out there, including guided meditations of varying lengths (some are one minute long, and some are over an hour) that are wonderful for anyone at any level of familiarity of meditation.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation can be a wonderful practice, especially before bed or whenever anxiety is high. It helps us get back into our bodies and serves as a mindfulness practice. This is a practice you can do most anywhere, and you can do it on your own or find a guided practice to follow. Times on the guided practice last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or so.
Calling or texting a good friend
Our spiritual wellness includes connection with other folks around us. Our circle of close friends and family does not have to be huge to have a fulfilling spiritual life. Paying attention to how we feel when we are around certain people is a good indicator of who we are connected with in a healthy way, and those are the folks it is nice to put our energy towards when we can. Calling or just sending a "Hey, I was just thinking about you and wanted to say hi and that I hope your day is going really well" text, from a neutral place and without expectation or need for a return of the energy, can feel both freeing and connecting at the same time.
Write a letter or note
Expression through the written word is a powerful form of connection. Writing a letter or simple note to someone can feel mutually beneficial on many levels. The letter or note does not have to be super in-depth (unless that feels right to you), it can be a sentence or two, or it can be a poem or quote. It can take just a couple of minutes, but the positive emotions and connection can last for quite a while.
Prayer can truly be defined as an act or invocation used to deliberately communicate or connect with something bigger than oneself. Especially when offered in conjunction with others, prayer is a powerful connector, during and after which we often feel an energetic shift taking place.
Connect with loved ones who have passed or spiritual guides
Being able to talk to or communicate with loved ones who have passed or with our spirit guides can be powerful and healing and connecting. It is a gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) reminder that we are really never alone, we are inseparably connected to all that is, and only feel alone when we are not actively open to experiencing that connection. Tuning in and listening (and feeling) for the support of the collective is available to us always, and creating a spiritual practice that includes tuning in to this connection allows it to come easier with time.
Lying flat on the ground (or on a bed or couch) with the intention and focus of feeling the support of the earth below you can feeling so very connecting spiritually. Feeling the earth hold us close to it with an embrace, as our physical bodies are part of this entire system, reminds us that we are connected to all that is. The same feeling can go with gently pressing our hands up against a tree, and feeling the energy of this living being as it extends high up towards the sky, and deep down into the earth below.
Ancestral work is a simple name for what can be a complex process. This can be anything from talking with family members about traditions and other familial stories, or preparing meals or eating specific foods related to your lineage, reading and researching the history of your family or ethnic or racial group, or even connecting spiritually or energetically with your ancestors going back many generations or guidance or protection. Knowing that we did in fact come from a line of many, many people before us creates an undeniable, unbreakable connection. Depending on our family history, this can feel like something we would want to break, and though we cannot actually break the connection, we can break any cycle of trauma by doing our own healing work, along with healing generational trauma should it be something we are called to do.
Drawing, painting, singing, dancing, playing instruments are only a few examples of the many ways to express ourselves spiritually through art. When we are aligned with ourselves, and we know the undeniable feeling of when we are in that space, it allows for expression to flow from a higher place. There is much healing and connection with expressive art, and is a beautiful way to practice our spirituality.
In today's world, we tend to be preoccupied with the ever-fast moving pace of life that we are not as present as we could possibly be. Mindfully taking the time to look up to the sky can help evoke that sense of wonder and awe and contemplation of the delicate balance of our interconnectedness and autonomy as we live as individuals who are part of an expansive collective.
Spending time outside
Spending time outside and connecting with our earth is a powerful practice that helps across the major areas of life. Feeling our feet against the rich, life-giving soil beneath us and intentionally focusing on the interconnectedness of the microscopic organisms in the soil that help to nourish the grass and vegetation and fruit that help to feed the animals (including humans) who then grow and live and eventually return back to the earth to feed the grass and vegetation and fruit... It is a beautiful cycle that our physical bodies are part, contributing to the expansion of our spirits that occupy these bodies during our time here.
Music is a strong connector for many of us. There are certain songs that can take us right back to a time in life that we cherish, and it can also connect us with a part of ourselves that is sometimes difficult to access. Finding the songs that align with us and mindfully playing them and allowing and welcoming the emotion that comes up is a beautiful practice for embracing or releasing or both.
Smiling, making eye contact
When our for a walk, or driving, or even when at home, if we can intentionally make eye contact with others and perhaps even offer a smile, it can not only feel connecting, but it can help improve mood (and often times the moods of others), increasing the felt sense of positive energy within us. When we do this from a place of neutrality, not expecting the energy in return from others, it can be a nice act of kindness for ourselves.