Health and wellness are multidimensional concepts. To obtain optimal health, there is more to do than just eating healthy foods. One should have a balance of healthy diet, physical activity, adequate sleep, emotional well-being, and spiritual comfort – to name a few. March is the month of the year that has historically focused on spiritual wellness. As we enter this month, consider where your spiritual health is at and how it could be improved.
We’ve all heard people say things like, “I never would have gotten through it without God” or “I believe everything happens for a reason”. Humans, whether intentionally or not, are constantly seeking meaning and purpose within life. This is a healthy act, as we are not merely bodies. What makes us think the way we think? Where did we come from? Why am I here? These questions and more seek a deeper understanding and a spiritual connection.
Researchers have noted that spirituality is the most overlooked dimension of health. There have been significant relationships observed between religion and a reduced likelihood of disease and disability (George et al., 2000). In addition, there are strong links between religion and life longevity, religion and pain tolerance, as well as religion and high quality of life during times of poor health (George et al., 2000). As far as recovery and outcome when experiencing health-related issues, spiritual coping strongly associates. The outlook for someone with strong spiritual beliefs is often more positive. Spirituality is often linked with positive health qualities such as lower blood pressure, lower cortisol levels, and more endorphins released in the brain.
Within the realm of mental health, religious involvement has specifically been related to a decreased likelihood of anxiety disorders. Furthermore, religious involvement increases the chances of recovery from depression and substance abuse disorders. (George et al., 2000)
Of course it is not uniform that being religious or spiritual will ensure good health. Genetics and lifestyle also play a factor. Religion and spirituality are not magic in themselves, but many believe in a God who performs miracles, even in current day. In addition to that, religion has a comforting effect to people. Furthermore, many religions promote health and vitality. There is possibly even the social aspect that contributes to enhanced health. Another example of how all aspects of health are intertwined.
How does one go about reaping some of these benefits then? Try the following 3 ways to enhance your spiritual wellness this month…
- Ask yourself questions and search for answers – What are my spiritual beliefs? If I died today, where would I go?
- Have quiet time daily – take time to reflect, pray, meditate, journal
- Connect with others about spirituality – find a study or discussion group and find a church to try out.
The following are some community resources in the Columbia area that are worth checking out during the month of March:
- Woodcrest is a Christian church with many activities and ways to explore many of life’s most important issues. Community members rate this as an open and welcoming church.
- Spirituality therapy groups are available for those who may be seeking some support or going through tough times.
- Do your own research in the Religion/Spirituality section at Barnes and Noble at the Columbia Mall and check out this complete list of area churches.
George, Linda K., Larsons, David B., Koeing, Harold G., & McCullough, Michael E. Spirituality and health: What we know, what we need to know. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology; Spring 2000; 19, 1; Psychology Module. pg. 102