A 30-Day Journey Exploring a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
Today, we will begin to focus our discussion theme on ‘Lift Your Spirit’ more in depth and continue over the next few days. This is the third dimension of living a heart healthy lifestyle.
We began our 30-Day Journey conversation with: Let’s Have a Conversation About a Healthy Heart Life in which I laid the foundation of living a heart healthy lifestyle involving its three dimensions: Work Your Body, Train Your Mind and Lift Your Spirit. Over the last 15 days we discussed two of those three important dimensions.
Spiritual Health is the third dimension, a very important one but often a forgotten aspect of heart health. It was easily considered “fluff” or “soft evidence” but fortunately, this is changing. The health science community is recognizing the power of spiritual health.
What Does Spiritual Health Mean To You?
Spiritual Health may have a different meaning for different people. For some it means practicing one’s faith. For others it means to incorporate meditative activities or prayer rituals into one’s daily life. All is an aspect of spiritual health.
But to bring us together to a common understanding, let’s look at some definitions experts in the field of spiritual health have formulated. This will help us to evaluate our own spiritual health level, how it is part of our life style and where we could strengthen it to gain maximum health benefits.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) describes spiritual health as one of four dimensions to well-being which include physical, social, and mental.
The spiritual dimension is understood to imply a phenomenon that is not material in nature, but belongs to the realm of ideas, beliefs, values and ethics that have arisen in the minds and conscience of human beings, particularly ennobling ideas.
- University of California, Riverside, Wellness Center addresses spiritual health in terms of spiritual wellness:
Spiritual Wellness is a personal matter involving values and beliefs that provide a purpose in our lives. While different individuals may have different views of what spiritualism is, it is generally considered to be the search for meaning and purpose in human existence, leading one to strive for a state of harmony with oneself and others while working to balance inner needs with the rest of the world.
- National Wellness Institute (NWI): Dr. Bill Hettler (NWI) developed “The Six Dimensions of Wellness Model.” This model includes dimensions of Physical, Social, Intellectual, Emotional, Occupational and Spiritual. By applying the model, a person becomes aware of the interconnectedness of each dimension and how they contribute to healthy living.
Specifically, the spiritual dimension of this model recognizes our search for meaning and purpose in human existence. It includes the development of a deep appreciation for the depth of life and natural forces that exist in the universe.
Your search will be characterized by a peaceful harmony between internal personal feelings and emotions and the rough and rugged stretches of your path. While traveling the path, you may experience many feelings of doubt, despair, fear, disappointment and dislocation, as well as feelings of pleasure, joy, happiness and discovery. These are all important experiences and components to your search and will be displayed in the value system you will adapt to bring meaning to your existence. You’ll know you’re becoming spiritually well when your actions become more consistent with your beliefs and values.
If you are a person engaged in the process of spiritual wellness, you are willing and able to transcend yourself in order to question the meaning and purpose in your life and the lives of others. In addition, you seek to find harmony between that which lies within and the social and physical forces that come from outside.
From the discussion we can surmise that spirituality defines our religious faith, values, beliefs, principles, and morals while our spiritual health is embedded in our lifestyle involving compassion, the capacity for love and forgiveness, altruism, joy, and fulfillment.
Spiritual health brings body and mind together. It is the power or energy of health and feeling well.