According to the National Wellness Institute
Mindfully focusing on wellness in our lives creates resilience and enables us to thrive amidst life’s challenges. Addressing all six dimensions of health in our lives builds a holistic sense of fulfillment.
In my view, those six dimensions are the foundation of aging well, with an exception. I substitute functional health - the ability to perform the usual tasks of daily living and carry out social roles - for occupational wellness. The interrelated and fluid components play a vital role in a person’s overall health and well-being.
We’ve talked about wellness throughout the newsletter. I recently wrote the article emotional wellness, and realized it was time to revisit them all.
Some experts argue that an essential component is spiritual health. So, let’s start there by considering a few questions.
What makes you feel hopeful?
During difficult times, how do you cope, and where do you turn for comfort?
Where and how do you find meaning and purpose in your life?
Do you have tolerance and empathy for other people’s life views and issues?
What are your values, and are they guiding your decisions?
Not much these days. Guess I need to find some better ways.
I write and seek counsel from my inner guide.
My purpose has changed over the years. Initially, it was to take care of my family. Then it was to build a career. Today, it is to age well, support my family, and share the lessons I’ve learned with others.
Much more so. My husband’s struggle with dementia and death taught me to be compassionate and empathic.
My values include being honest, caring about others, and aging well. Yes, they guide my decisions.
What might your responses be?
People may find spiritual wellness through faith, a deeply felt connection to nature, or passion for a professional vocation. It is a diverse and often individualized aspect of health, giving context and meaning to all parts of the self and life experiences.
Spiritual wellness has the power and capability to make decisions and choices more accessible, ground people during periods of change, and give them the resiliency to survive with inner peace in the face of adversity. This dimension of wellness complements and impacts our physical and emotional well-being.
The ability to recognize the search for meaning and purpose and to develop an appreciation for life and the world around us are signs of spiritual well-being. Some people follow specific religious practices, while others lean toward a more general pursuit of harmony and self-awareness.
So, what can people do to improve their spiritual wellness? It’s best to figure out what works for you because everyone is different. Spiritual health involves your values, beliefs, and purpose. You can achieve it in several ways—both physically and mentally.
How to Build Spiritual Well Being
The article, 5 Spiritual practices for Aging well, suggests the following
Gratitude. “I have an exercise I call the ‘thank you’ prayer. People repeat the words ‘thank you’ silently to themselves and watch what comes up. It's amazing how many and how readily images of gratitude come to mind.”
Generosity. “It's scientifically proven: giving back and helping others makes us feel happier and more content. Giving is a universal spiritual value taught by every religion, and the desire to give back naturally increases as we age.”
Reframing. “Aging includes its share of reverses, losses and sorrows. What makes the difference is our attitude about them. If a bad knee means we can't jog anymore, we needn't despair; we can take up swimming. If we become ill, we rejoice when we recover.”
Curiosity. “Curiosity is an important attitude to cultivate as we age. There's a tendency to hunker down in old familiar routines. It's good to resist that temptation. Physical exercise grows new muscle, mental activity grows new brain cells, emotional engagement lifts the spirit.”
Flexibility. Things change as we age, and some of them are irrevocable. Our youthful stamina is gone forever; a dying friend will never return. In the face of these changes, it's vital that we not become stuck in our ways. With every reversal comes a new opportunity.
The article Seven Ways to Improve Your Spiritual Health suggests
1. Explore your spiritual core. Ponder the five questions posed earlier. Those questions can lead you to think more about yourself and allow you to notice things that help you achieve fulfillment.
2. Look for deeper meanings. Looking for a deeper purpose in life and analyzing occurring patterns can help you see that you have control over your destiny. Being aware of this can help you achieve a happy and healthy life.
3. Get it out. Expressing what is on your mind can help you remain focused. After a long day or a significant event, you may feel confused and unable to make sense of your feelings. By writing your thoughts down, you may be able to think more clearly and move forward.
4. Try yoga. Yoga is a physical technique that can help improve spiritual wellness by reducing emotional and physical strains on the mind and body. It is taught at different levels and can help lower stress, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, and reduce anxiety, depression, fatigue, and insomnia.
5. Travel. Traveling to a comforting place or somewhere new can do wonders for your mind. When you are at a place where your mind can keep out distractions and help you reflect, you may have a better connection with yourself.
6. Think positively. Once you view things in your life positively, you will find yourself thinking differently and refocusing your mind to a happy, healthy place. You may notice yourself being more relaxed when you eliminate negativity and reframe how you feel about certain things and situations.
7. Take time to meditate. While managing your time and daily tasks can be challenging, it is crucial to devote time to connect with yourself. Whether in the morning when you wake up, during your lunch break, or before you sleep, take five to 10 minutes.
You can also think of it this way.
Out of those suggestions, I use gratefulness, generosity, writing it out, and going to the ocean or woods for renewal. I am working on being more curious, meditating, looking for deeper meaning, and thinking more positively.
Benefits of Spiritual Well Being
Feeling content with life
Maintaining balance and control of life
Building positive relationships
Feeling a purpose and meaning in life
Experiencing a connection with a power greater than oneself
Accepting and growing from the challenges and changes in life
So focusing on spiritual wellness is a primary step in a person’s goal of aging well.
On another note:
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I find hope in seeing my former students & their children succeeding in life. My mission to serve others; to make the world a better place take different forms as I'm aging. Now that I'm retired I am mainly an encourager & supporter of others. I am going to enjoy reading your blog, Janice. Sometimes the "encourager" needs to "fill the pitcher." Glad I found you!
This is lovely, Janice, thank you. I find these "check lists" really get me thinking and sorting things out. I find that "being grateful" and "getting it out" are the two most important concepts for myself right now. Being grateful for all I still am and have, and not dwelling on the losses is exhilarating. And I am infinitely grateful to SUBSTACK for allowing me a channel to express myself. Life is good. You are good. Sharron at 🍁 LEAVES