Tools for Tough Times: The Spirit

My guess is you are staying strong in the storm and helping others to do the same.  So look in the mirror and tell yourself “You ROCK!”

Spiritual well-being, or spiritual wellness, is built upon important life decisions that we all need to address.  Sadly, a great many people do not think much about these decisions or the spiritual aspects of their living.  When we invest time and energy in making healthy, informed decisions regarding our spiritual selves, much growth can come into our lives.  In many native American traditions, wellness is expressed in four major areas – physical, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual.  A healthy approach to life is one that is balanced in all four areas of expression. 

The Blue Zones research initiative (National Geographic Society, the National Institutes for Health) has focused on five geographic areas – the Blue Zones – where locals live significantly longer with less disability than anywhere else.  The research has identified common practices likely to contribute to health and longevity.  The practices with the greatest impacts are those with some relationship to the spiritual life of the inhabitants.  For instance, those who practice their faith with others every week add as much as 14 years to their life span.   Clearly, minding the spiritual side of our house is important.

Kevin Coder, a US military chaplain, explains how one’s values, beliefs, and morals that can guide the actions and responses in every area of life.  He identifies the following important steps:

  • Contemplating one’s purpose in life.
  • Achieving greater mindfulness.
  • Harmony with one’s surroundings.
  • Balancing one’s personal needs.
  • Considering and settling one’s values and needs.
  • Acting compassionately in life.

Kevin talks about the concept of “spiritual fitness,” a measure of the overall spiritual health that in part predicts how well we live according to what motivates us and engages us.  Of course, we cannot be spiritually fit if we have not explored how our values, beliefs, and morals guide our actions and responses.  Not paying attention to these factors can leave us stressed, depleted, or drained.

What can you do to increase your “spiritual fitness” and spiritual well-being?  Remember that practicing your faith with others regularly is one of the healthiest things you can do for your life overall.  Here are other strategies that may help you toward spiritual well-being:

  • Practice Mindfulness – check out the post on this topic from a few weeks ago:
  • Volunteer – giving yourself away to others is healthy and healing.
  • Determine your life purpose and values.
  • Join spiritual, faith-focused groups – a good Blue Zones solution.
  • Express gratitude – there are many resources on the web to help with this.
  • Contemplative practices

For me, my faith in God is the anchor of all my living, and my source of meaning, energy, and compassion. This is not religiosity as it is commonly practiced in most Christian churches. It is a true and intimate conversational communion with the God of all things every day. You can find out more about this kind of faith at my other website and blog, 1

Remind yourself and your teams that the spiritual is as important as the physical, cognitive, and emotional areas and it deserves one’s attention.

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