Enhance Your Spiritual Wellness: Practical Tips and Techniques
In recent years, there’s been a society-wide emphasis placed on the importance of both physical and mental health. And yet, despite these efforts, teens and young adults report that they’re sadder, lonelier, and more depressed than ever.
This raises the question: what's missing in modern society? There’s more to the human experience: the spiritual element.
As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin famously wrote: "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience." Our lives aren't just to-do lists and career goals. At the core, we are beings searching for meaning, for connection—be it to a higher power, the universe, or our inner selves.
So, how do we find balance and strengthen our spiritual health and wellness? Today, we’ll provide some actionable tips for how to improve spiritual wellness.
What Is Spiritual Wellness?
So, what is spiritual wellness exactly? Spiritual wellness is a nebulous phrase, but it speaks to something that makes humans uniquely different from all other life on earth: spiritual consciousness.
In the words of Thomas Aquinas, we’re "rational animals." We go beyond mere existence and survival; humans seek to interpret the world, find meaning and order in it, and act in a way that reflects this understanding. It's this intrinsic drive that has led nearly every society throughout human history to establish some form of religion or set of spiritual practices.
So, what is the essence of spiritual wellness?
It's the awareness and cultivation of this unique human capacity. It's the practice of connecting deeply, to yourself, to others, and perhaps to something even greater. It deals with our deep beliefs, values, and search for meaning. While this doesn't have to be tied to any specific religion or spiritual practice, it could.
The core idea of spiritual wellness is to live a balanced life imbued with a sense of purpose that transcends the material and the immediate. To live beyond oneself; to consider our neighbors and the wider world around us. It's the recognition that life isn't something that merely happens to us, but a journey that we actively shape through our choices, connections, and actions.
What Are the Benefits of Spiritual Wellness?
The final outcomes for spiritual wellness will look different for every person. No two spiritual journeys are identical. And, as Buddhism emphasizes, the path to achieving “enlightenment” is a continuous journey rather than a fixed destination. That said, there are common benefits that can enrich your life:
- Better mental health – Studies have shown that regular focus on spiritual growth leads to improved mental health outcomes, including reduced anxiety, stress, anger, and depression.
- Inner peace – Dedicated time spent in contemplation, meditation, and quiet helps promote a sense of inner tranquility that makes it easier to deal with life’s slings and arrows. Think of this inner peace as your spiritual anchor. When storms come—stress, conflict, uncertainties—this anchor keeps you grounded.
- Adaptability – Spiritual wellness enhances your resilience and ability to adapt to life’s curveballs and deal with the inevitable loss and suffering that’s part and parcel of the human experience.
- Goal-driven success – The more in tune with yourself and your immediate surroundings, the easier it becomes to outline your goals and chart a path towards achieving them.
- Quality relationships – Constantly seeking to improve yourself tends to create positive ripple effects in your home, work, and interpersonal relationships, making it easier to foster healthier and more meaningful connections. This can foster both your emotional and social wellness.
How to Improve Spiritual Wellness
So, how do you proactively take meaningful steps to improve your spiritual health and wellness?
#1 Treat It Like a Muscle
You wouldn't run a marathon without training or ace a test without studying. Spiritual wellness requires the same rigorous discipline.
Think of spiritual wellness as a muscle. Like any other muscle, it needs to be exercised and nurtured, or else it will atrophy. Hope alone won't build it. Neither will sporadic, inconsistent attempts.
Just like with your physical fitness, consistent and focused effort is key when supporting your overall wellness. Whatever spiritual practices resonate with you, embed them into your daily routine. Make them habits that are as non-negotiable as eating or sleeping.
#2 Surround Yourself with People Who Lift You Up
Humans are social creatures. We're wired to connect, to share, to belong. And guess what? We're also prone to subconsciously picking up habits, thoughts, and even beliefs from those around us.
Ever tried to stick to a rigorous diet while everyone around you is chowing down on burgers and fries? It's tough, right?
The same logic applies to spiritual wellness. As motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
So, take a good look at your social circle. Are they lifting you higher or pulling you down? Whether it's a book club, a church, or just a tight-knit group of friends, surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals can amplify your spiritual journey and social wellness. You need people who will push you beyond your comfort zone and hold you accountable.
#3 Create Spiritual Wellness Habits
Habits are the building blocks of major, lifelong growth. Small actions, repeated consistently, can lead to transformative changes over time. Here are some habits that are touted as particularly effective for enhancing spiritual wellness:
- Yoga – It's more than just a form of exercise. Yoga is a practice that unites the body, mind, and spirit, teaching you to be present in the moment. The postures and breathwork are tools for tuning into a higher state of consciousness.
- Meditation – Mindfulness is not a fad—it’s a life skill. Carving out a few minutes every day to meditate can help you center yourself. It's a reset button for your mind, allowing you to approach life's challenges with a clearer perspective.
- Prayer – For those who are religious, or even just spiritual, prayer can be a grounding force. It creates a channel for communication with a higher power and offers a moment to reflect on your values and your purpose. It also allows you to express gratitude and think about others.
- Kava – Kava is a traditional Polynesian root known for its calming effects. For centuries, Polynesian cultures have incorporated kava ceremonies into their daily spiritual practice to help them relax and achieve a deeper state of contemplation or meditation.
- Journaling – Writing down your thoughts can be incredibly therapeutic. It forces you to slow down and contemplate your experiences, fears, and dreams. A journal can serve as a private space to explore your innermost feelings and as a record of your spiritual growth and journey.
#4 Seek Quiet and Solitude
You might have noticed a running theme with many of the spiritual practices above—practically everyone involves some form of solitude and introspection.
Have you ever wondered why the writings of ancient philosophers and religious leaders are so rich in depth and wisdom?
Perhaps it's because they had the luxury of undistracted time to sit with their own thoughts. They had uninterrupted opportunities to flex their mental and spiritual muscles, which allowed them to dive deep into the complexities of human existence and spirituality.
Naturally, the thought of boredom and quiet are anathema to many in today’s digital society. In a study from the University of Virginia, researchers found that many adults would rather administer an electric shock to themselves than spend 15 minutes alone with their thoughts.
This is shocking, literally. It suggests that people have become so accustomed to external stimulation that they’re fearful of spending time with their own thoughts.
So, consider this a wake-up call. If you want to nurture your spiritual wellness, create those pockets of solitude for yourself and practice mindfulness. Sit in the quiet. Let yourself be bored. Let your mind wander.
Spend Time in Nature
Nature is Earth's original cathedral. Towering pines, majestic mountains, endless ocean horizons—these natural wonders are the archetypes for our human-wrought temples.
Being in nature has a grounding effect. When you step into these hallowed spaces, the world's noise fades. All that's left is Earth's primal hum. Suddenly, you're small—a speck in a cosmic tapestry—and yet deeply connected to the world at large.
The beauty of it all can make your spirit cry out in joy and wonder. It helps put life's challenges into perspective. That overwhelming deadline, that nagging sense of inadequacy—they all seem less daunting, less world-breaking. It provides a sky-high vantage point that can turn life’s mountains into molehills.
This isn't just romantic musings; there's science to back it up. Countless studies have shown that being in nature can lower stress, improve mood, and even enhance cognitive function.
So, next time you feel your spiritual muscle slackening or you’re suffering from a lack of motivation, maybe what you need isn't a new self-help book or another inspirational quote. Maybe what you need is to just take a hike.
Reach the Peak of Your Spiritual Wellness Climb
Humans are innately spiritual creatures. As such, nurturing your spiritual self is every bit as important as focusing on your physical and mental well-being. By taking a holistic approach—one that includes disciplined practice, mindful habits, and purposeful connections—you're not just living; you're thriving.
As you pursue this path, consider adding a kava drink from Botanic Tonics to your spiritual wellness routine. Known for its calming effects, this traditional Polynesian root could be the missing piece in your wellness puzzle, elevating your spiritual practices to new heights.
- Denison Forum. Why are teens sadder, lonelier, and more depressed than ever before? https://www.denisonforum.org/current-events/why-are-teens-sadder-lonelier-and-more-depressed-than-ever-before/
- The Daily Guardian. Spiritual beings having a human experience. https://thedailyguardian.com/spiritual-beings-having-a-human-experience/
- Loyola EDU. Contemplation and the Human Animal in the Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas. https://ecommons.luc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1204&context=luc_diss
- Mass.Gov. Spiritual wellness. https://www.mass.gov/info-details/spiritual-wellness
- Ellevate. You Are the Average of the Five People You Spend Time With. https://www.ellevatenetwork.com/articles/9895-you-are-the-average-of-the-five-people-you-spend-time-with
- Washington Post. Most men would rather shock themselves than be alone with their thoughts. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/07/03/most-men-would-rather-shock-themselves-than-be-alone-with-their-thoughts/
- APA. Nurtured by nature. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/nurtured-nature