5 min read
The Connection Between Spiritual Health and Physical Health
By: OHI on Nov 2, 2023 5:00:00 AM
Holistic wellness is the integration of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. To achieve holistic health and overall wellness, you need to put effort into fueling your body, engaging your mind, and nurturing your spirit so that the balance shared between the three optimizes your health. But what is the connection between the various aspects of wellness? Is there a direct connection between spiritual health and physical health that science can explain? In this article, let’s explore the connection between spiritual health and physical health, and then look at ways to enhance your spiritual health so that it improves your physical health.
What is Spirituality?
Everyone has their own interpretation of what spirituality means. Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, provided this explanation of spirituality in his book The Music of Silence: “Spirituality is a vital awareness that pervades all realms of our being. Someone will say, ‘I come alive when I listen to music,’ or ‘I come to life when I garden,’ or ‘I come alive when I play golf.’ Wherever we can come alive, that is the area in which we are spiritual. To be vital, awake, aware, in all areas of our lives, is the task that is never accomplished, but it remains the goal.” Overall, spirituality is a sense of connection to something bigger than yourself, and often involves the search for meaning in life and to understand your purpose.
What is Spiritual Health?
Spiritual health is achieved when you feel at peace with life, and able to find hope and comfort in even the most difficult times. If you are struggling to maintain your spiritual health, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What makes me feel most complete?
- When do I feel most connected to the rest of the world?
- Where do I find the most inner strength?
- What am I doing when I feel whole?
The answers to these questions provide a good starting point on your journey to improving your spiritual health.
The Connection Between Spiritual Health and Physical Health
By fostering a healthy spiritual life, can you better manage your physical health? Consider this hypothesis — A healthy spiritual life contributes to inner peace. Striving for inner peace means actively coping with stress and eliminating internal turmoil, and that allows your body the grace to rest and recover. That recovery fuels the strength needed for physical healing. Look at all the ways that a healthy spiritual life can contribute to a healthy body:
Lower blood pressure: High blood pressure damages your circulatory system and is a significant contributing factor to heart attack and stroke. By fostering a healthy spiritual life through positivity, you reduce stress which helps lower your blood pressure.
Lower risk of depression: Depression has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar levels. A healthy spiritual life embraces positivity, self-acceptance, and an enthusiasm for learning and growth, and that engaged attitude lowers the risk of depression.
Stronger immune system: A healthy spiritual life is founded on optimism, and optimism lowers your fight-or-flight response and gives your body the green light to turn on the rest-and-repair response. That charges your immune system up and guards your body against illness.
Reduced stress: Chronic stress can cause lasting damage to both the mind and body, making you feel fatigued, distracted, or irritable. A healthy spiritual life steeped in positivity reduces stress, which improves your energy levels, your focus, and your mood.
Improved sleep quality: Insomnia is often caused by stress and anxiety. Fostering a healthy spiritual life reduces stress, which makes it easier to fall asleep as well as improves your sleep quality and duration. The more restful and restorative your sleep, the better your physical health will be.
Ways to Improve Spiritual Health
To improve your spiritual health, think about what brings you a sense of hope and positivity…
- Religion: If fostering a relationship with God brings optimism to your life, try seeking out the ritual and practice of religion. The sense of belonging that a church family offers could really buoy your spiritual health.
- Nature: If immersing yourself in nature brings all five senses alive for you, strive to spend time outdoors every day. Try gardening, hiking, or even apple picking. Sit under a tree and meditate or practice yoga. Lie in the grass and ground yourself, feeling the support of the earth down your spine and the warmth of the sun on your face. Those moments in nature will fuel stronger spiritual health.
- Art: If you find beauty and meaning in art, embrace that connection. Visiting an art museum is a wonderful choice, but why not try creating art yourself? Take a woodworking class, drop in to a paint-your-own-pottery studio, or take up a creative hobby like knitting or quilting. Whatever kind of art speaks to you can energize your spiritual health.
- Music: If music sparks joy, then embrace it! Make yourself a “spirit mix” of music that speaks to you. Or take your connection to music to the next level and learn to play an instrument or sing. You could support music in schools and foster a love of music in children. You could volunteer at a senior living community and create different music genre libraries so seniors can listen to the type of music that triggers long-term memory. Make music the centerpiece of your happiness and the happiness of others to deepen your spiritual health.
- Helping Others: If you find fulfillment in helping others, that service can take on many forms, whether it be doing volunteer work, being kind to a stranger, or offering help to a friend or family member in need. Lean into that source of gratification and find a way to be of service every day, and you’ll jumpstart your spiritual health.
- Gratitude: If focusing on all the things in your life you are grateful for brings you peace, there are many gratitude practices you can tap into — journaling, prayer, mindfulness, meditation. Start or end each day listing 5 things you are grateful for. Reach out to people to express your gratitude for all the joy they bring to your life. Fostering an attitude of gratitude is a great way to fortify your spiritual health.
Improve Your Wellbeing at OHI
Spirituality is a sense of connection to something bigger than yourself, and includes a search for meaning in life and to understand your purpose. By fostering a healthy spiritual life, you can better manage your physical health through reduced stress, improved sleep quality, a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, and lower risk of depression. To improve your spiritual health, embrace what brings you a sense of hope and positivity — fostering a relationship with God, spending time in nature, enjoying art and music, helping others, or expressing gratitude. The effort you put into supporting your spiritual health today will pay itself back to you with improved physical health tomorrow. Healthy Spirit = Healthy Body
One of the best ways to improve your spiritual health is with a wellness retreat at OHI. Our holistic healing retreats give you the time and education you need to implement meaningful change in your spiritual life. The gift of a healing retreat at OHI promises to be life changing.
Strengthen the connection between your spiritual health and your physical health. Learn these and other healthy tips at Optimum Health Institute. OHI has two health & wellness retreat centers located in California and Texas. Give yourself the gift of a healing retreat at OHI and jumpstart your holistic healing journey.