“When you find yourself in need of spiritual nourishment, it is in the opportunities to serve others that you will find the abundance you seek.” ~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
My current definition of spirituality is much different than it would have been when I was growing up. The younger version of me would have equated spirituality with religion. In fact, some very spiritual people would not consider themselves to be overtly religious. Interestingly, the converse would not likely be true. If you are in the presence of a spiritual person, you can often feel a very positive aura or energy from them. Can you think of someone like this? If so, would you consider them to be happy? The connection between our spirituality and emotional well-being is extremely interesting, and hence, why discovering what it means to you is such a worthwhile practice.
What is spirituality?
Many different meanings of spirituality exist, but at the core of its definition is that everyone has their own version of what it means to be spiritual. I like how the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality & Healing defines it: “a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience – something that touches us all. People may describe a spiritual experience as sacred or transcendent or simply a deep sense of aliveness and interconnectedness.”
How can spirituality improve your well-being?
When I first developed my vision of wellness about 2 years ago, I included spirituality with self-esteem which in turn connected emotional wellness to overall personal wellness. Fortunately, my vision remains the same today. Aligning with your meaning and purpose in life is so powerful for both your sense of self and emotional wellness. People who feel passionate and purposeful in life are often more fulfilled and generally happier.
Recently, I read an Arnold P. Gold Foundation post based on the research article, Attitudes and Habits of Highly Humanistic Physicians, that aimed to identify the habits of the most humanistic physicians by interviewing the ‘top physicians’ according to medical residents. One of the habits these physicians identified in themselves was practicing mindfulness and other spiritual methods. These physicians also recognized their desire to seek meaningful connections with patients, believing this to also be beneficial in preventing burnout.
How can you continue to discover spirituality in your life?
- Believe in something larger than yourself, a greater purpose.
- Become aware of what you are passionate about, what ignites you and what drives you toward a greater purpose.
- Practice kindness and generosity toward others.
- Engage in service toward others such as charitable organizations and volunteering.
- Practice self-reflection and mindfulness by becoming aware of your thoughts and actions.
- Practice gratitude by considering each and every one of the gifts in your life.
- Practice compassion toward yourself and others.
- Practice creativity through art, writing, reading, etc.
- Practice mind-body exercises such as yoga.
- Enjoy nature through walking, hiking or just pausing to reflect upon the beauty around you.
- Be curious and interested about the world and all that inhabits it – there is so much to wonder and be inspired by.
Do you consider yourself to be a spiritual person? Is it important to you to have a sense of spirituality in your life?