Spiritual Health: Definition, Explained, Tips & Tricks
Spiritual health is the state of your spirit being at peace concerning your outward life. It is when your life is flowing smoothly as per your spirit’s preferences. It is all about being satisfied with the kind of life you are living i.e. your spirit being satisfied with your life.
This satisfaction with life is not measured by your mind because your mind is not the one that determines the course of your life. This is done by your spirit. Your life really runs from your spirit.
For you to understand spiritual health, you must first of all understand what your spirit is. This is key in helping you direct your efforts towards the right place.
Many people have talked about spirituality as they try to explain this inner part of the human life. Unfortunately, too many of them end up confusing between the human spirit and the human soul. These two, though closely related, are distinctly different.
As a human being, you are made of three parts: the body, the soul and the spirit. Let’s look at the first two a bit more before getting to the topic of today—your spiritual health.
This is the most easily understood part of your life. Being physically visible allows a lot of focus to be put on the body.
From the moment you were born, you started actively interacting with a physical world. You could see things, touch them and gradually start reasoning on the basis of what you see. It’s all about the visible.
With each of the five traditionally recognized senses, you have been gathering a lot of information throughout your life. You still do this, albeit without much known effort. It all happens without your direct intervention. As long as you have eyes, you see; ears, you hear; a nose, you smell etc.
You have picked on smells and you know the good and the bad. You therefore can avoid the bad ones and naturally get pulled towards the good ones. You can identify the kind of music you love and buy lots of that for your own joy.
There are also the internal parts of your body which you don’t always see. In fact, some of them, like your brain and heart, you have never seen them but believe that you have them. Thanks to science.
Knowing your body is important because you can keep it healthy. You can watch your weight and regulate it with specific foods. You can add more muscle by exercising and also taking certain foods.
If you get sick, you know what to do. If it’s mild, you head to the pharmacy for some over-the-counter solution. If it’s big, you see a doctor.
All in all, your physical body is visible and quite easy to deal with.
Now to some invisible stuff. And this is where your soul comes in.
Due to it’s invisible nature, a lot of confusion has reigned around the subject of the soul. It has been equated with the spirit while even being regarded as the spirit by some. As you will learn, none of these is correct.
Your soul is essentially the home of some of the very important aspects of your life. These are your mind, your will and your emotions.
1. Your Mind
Your mind is very easy to know and not very difficult to understand if you commit yourself to the task. This is thanks to the many available resources covering the subject. But how exactly does the mind stand out from the other parts of your soul?
Your mind primarily functions as the source of thinking and reasoning. If you need to solve a problem, then your mind is what you will engage. If seeking to implement some new habits upon your body, it is your mind that you will need to train.
When it comes to reasoning, your mind determines whether something is good for you or not. This is based on the amount of information it already has. It is your mind that will analyze the pros and cons.
Your mind is indeed powerful and can do many things. The power of your thinking has been documented by many scientists and different kinds of therapists. Experts universally agree that the results of your thinking (your thoughts) have the power to determine your reality.
For the benefits of thinking right, you have to make the right choices. You don’t just think right, you also act right. You act right by choosing to do what the right thought is telling you. And this is where your will comes in.
2. Your Will
This is where you make your choices from. You have some options to be considered and your mind does the analysis and reasoning then provides the results for decision-making.
Your will considers the pros and cons then picks one solution for implementation. It may make the most logical decision, the least logical one or one that sits somewhere in the middle. All the same, the decision will carry the day.
But what happens when your will picks the wrong option? Is it possible?
Since your will is just a decision maker, it relies on the information it receives, the various options presented to it by your reasoning mind. As it however turns out, your will can make decisions which your mind never expected.
Your logical mind does not have the monopoly when it comes to feeding your will with information. Something else has an equal share, if not a bigger one. And it is part of your soul too.
That thing is your emotions.
3. Your Emotions
Your emotions are powerful and in their power, they do influence your will. In very many cases, you actually move in line with what your emotions dictate as opposed to how your logic dictates.
This is clearly seen when you buy things which you know you don’t need. The purchased items may not be part of your budget but you liked them and decided to buy. Whereas your logical mind was telling you to prioritize the more important things, you decided to postpone them.
Emotions are associated with feelings of good and bad. This is something that marketers have understood and always use when advertising. This explains to you why you buy things on impulse.
Ever wondered why you deeply connect with some advertisements and remember them while quickly dismiss others? It is because the advertisement you connected with was based on emotion.
When your emotions are targeted, it is a guarantee that you will respond. Great and successful marketing is the one that touches the emotion. If you are advertising and want results, just engage the emotions of your target market. Marketers call this Telling a story.
The below video has more on this.
So these three, your emotions, your will and your mind, make up your soul. Your soul directs your life through your brain and your body acts accordingly.
At the spirit level is where things get rather blurred for some. But as you read on, you will be able to see the differences between the soul and spirit.
In comparison to your body and soul, your spirit is the deepest part of you and most difficult to study or assess. Whereas part of your soul—the mind—can be studied through psychology, this is impossible to do with your spirit.
The reason is quite simple in theory, though complex in reality: you cannot use the upper parts of your life to study the deeper parts.
Your body is the uppermost part of you and it can neither control nor study your soul. Why? Your body is controlled by your soul (mind). In a similar way, your soul can neither control nor study your spirit because your spirit is master over all.
What causes confusion and leads some people to think they can study their spirits through their minds is the fact that the mind is a gateway to the spirit. As the gateway, the mind is only a path or an access route. It has no power to control the destination where it leads to (spirit).
The connection between the mind and the spirit is however very strong and with enough knowledge and sufficient understanding, you can influence your spirit through your mind (note that influence is not control). Still, your spirit can reject whatever is coming through your mind.
Your spirit is the real you and it is the one that really directs your life.
Although we are saying that your spirit is the real real you, we are referring to it as a part of you just to make this article easier to understand.
Three important things to know in regards to your spirit are your conscience, intuition and your values.
1. Your Conscience
We mentioned earlier that your will makes decisions based on the logic employed by your mind. This logic is essentially a matter of what is good vs bad; right vs evil etc. These are determined by your value system.
Whenever you do something which is not good, somewhere inside you, you know that you have done the wrong thing and it hurts you. You try ignoring it and it haunts you. You feel the need to make amends so as to have some peace on the inside.
The voice that makes you lose sleep over such matters is your conscience. Your conscience is in your spirit.
2. Your Intuition
Some people call intuition the gut feeling or the sixth sense. People have experienced being advised by their intuition and had different results depending on whether or not they followed the advice.
Science says that your intuition is part of your mind. But if so, then how does your mind predict the future? Your intuition always speaks of the future. Something which your mind has no knowledge of.
In some instances, your gut/intuition/instincts tell you to make a certain choice but you make a different one. Your logical mind overrules your intuition because its advice doesn’t make sense.
Months or years later, you realize that you should have followed the advice. How come your mind made the wrong choice if it could know what would happen in the future? Note that this is a situation where you did not have any information about what lay ahead.
From birth till your death, you are always learning. From what you learn, you are able to make good choices. In fact, in the absence of knowledge, you are almost guaranteed to make wrong choices.
Your mind depends on learning.
This is why an unschooled person cannot match up to an educated person’s wisdom. But still, the uneducated person can make some life decisions which are wiser than those made by the educated person.
How? He followed his gut feeling. What his intuition told him.
Your intuition is a wealth of intelligence beyond your mind. Thus, it is not part of your mind (soul) but your spirit. It is something everyone was born with. You just get to benefit from it if you train your mind to listen to and obey it. To prioritize it over your logical analyses.
3. Your Values
With your values ingrained in your spirit, your conscience keeps watch over them. As the most native guides of how best to live life, your values are very important.
Now remember that we said your mind is a gateway to your spirit and that with some knowledge and understanding you can influence your spirit.
Therefore, you can cause your spirit to either adopt new values as a replacement of what it already has or just add onto what it has. This is how you can learn new habits by embracing habit-changing knowledge. And if you diligently follow that path, you eventually reap the benefits.
You change from bad habits to good ones. From there, you strive to do good and when you don’t, you feel guilty and quickly make amends. That feeling of guilt comes from your conscience communicating that you have erred.
If you continue listening to your conscience and making immediate changes, your life starts changing. You have formed new habits that are evident on the outside.
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN YOUR BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT
Your soul is a possession that you have whereas your body is the ‘house’ you live in. Both your soul and your body are subject to your directions or commands.
This is why you hear experts telling you that you can live without being controlled by your environment. It is because as much as your body interacts with the outside world, your interpretation of those interactions is what matters.
These interpretations are determined, not in your mind (soul) as some perceive, but your spirit. Your spirit has the final say in everything. But only if it is very aware of itself and stamps its authority.
When this is the case, then the hierarchy from lowest to highest becomes your body, soul then spirit. All of them being very aware of their place.
If this is not the case, then the hierarchy remains the same but with the spirit almost non-existent. This is whereby your desires (emotions) literally run your life. Your soul will run the show while you constantly feel that there is an unfilled gap which you just can’t identify.
You crave fatty foods despite knowing they are unhealthy but you end up buying and eating them. Your outbursts of anger are ruining your relationships but the temper is there to stay.
Explanation? Apparently, you cannot control yourself.
If you want to experience life in a totally different way, the right way, then it is important that you understand these things.
For example, when someone steps on your clean white shoes, you may get angry. This is your body responding to your environment. At this point, your body is working like a sensor, gathering information from around you.
Now that you are angry, you can decide to either hit that person or just calm down. The very first impulse is to hit him. But since you know that it was a mistake, you tell your will to choose to calm down. But then you have to work against the emotions and energy released in readiness for a fight.
So your will engages your mind. Your mind starts reasoning. This is where many people lose the battle.
Assuming you are not one of those people, you have sufficiently trained your will and it insists that violence is not an option.
Although this directive does not make sense to your mind, its logic is overruled and the appropriate instructions passed on to your brain. Your brain implements various strategies to deflate the built up anger.
You may go for a short walk, take out your phone and start listening to music or do anything else that will make calming down possible.
The results? Your will has won the battle against your logical mind. And your spirit (the real you) is satisfied with the outcome. This is how your environment loses power over you because you no longer react to it but you do what you know is right.
This way, you achieve satisfaction in life. You say good bye to feelings of guilt and regrets.
The above example refers to when you have trained your will to be strong and have its way. So what happens if you haven’t trained your will well enough?
The anger quickly gets the better of you since controlling yourself is difficult. Remember what we said about emotions having the ability to overrule logic?
As you fume because someone stepped on your white shoes, your emotions justify the intended response and your logical mind agrees with it.
Results? You hit the person. You are very sure that you did not do anything wrong because you were the one wronged. You just responded to the wrong act committed against you.
But in case it’s a big situation and you get arrested, convicted and jailed, then you regret your actions. Sitting alone in your cell, you will remember that a ‘small voice’ told you not to get into a fight but you didn’t listen.
DEVELOPING YOUR SPIRITUAL HEALTH
Having seen how your spirit differs from your soul, let’s now look at ways of developing your spiritual health. This is all about achieving fulfillment in life. Being satisfied with the way you live your life.
Although the below tips can be applied randomly, they have been written in a progressive manner. You can easily follow them as steps from one to another. As such, every subsequent step builds up on the previous one.
Using this method of developing your spiritual health, it also becomes easy for your logical mind to follow through.
Train your mind on the truth
There is nothing as powerful as the truth. As it is said, knowing the truth sets you free. One of the biggest truths that you have so far received from this article is knowing that your soul is different from your spirit.
The truth opens the door for deep understanding and an ability to come up with solutions.
In a world where fake news travels faster and farther than the truth, it’s easy to be carried away by the lies floating around. It becomes even worse when the lies are broadcast by those who are supposed to be trustworthy.
This was the case in the times of the Nazi Germany. Propaganda was used to effectively make the public believe that Jews were enemies and thus needed to be killed. Such large-scale lies can be hard to escape from but if you are true to your values, you can still stand.
Watch the below video for some insight on how the agenda to kill Jews was carried out.
When you find out that what you have been believing is a lie, you will definitely get angry. But when you discover that the lies are all over, you may feel helpless.
This often leads to despair as many people give up on politicians and all kinds of leaders.
Giving up however is tantamount to giving away your power. Your power to determine the kind of life you will live.
You have the power to decide how your life will be like. So take responsibility and seek out the truth. Avoid the laziness that causes people to settle for what they have because according to them, seeking the truth is tiresome.
If you think that looking for the truth will make you tired, then you don’t understand the value of being knowledgeable.
Consider the charismatic politician who successfully sells his manifesto to the general public. In it, he makes some claims which sound right but are incorrect. But since they are technical and the sound of them appeals to the ears, he passes as someone knowledgeable enough. Therefore he gets elected.
Someone else happened to have some knowledge of the subject and immediately faulted the politician. Not many knew the truth anyway and as such, the politician still won the vote.
This other person knows that there is no way the manifesto will be implemented, at least not on the basis of the information given. On the other hand, you eagerly expect your life to turn around due to the implementation of the manifesto.
At the end of the day, you have been deceived while the other person knows better. He therefore gets himself busy in changing his own life. His diligence in getting knowledge has saved him.
What about you? Your hopes are on the politician to make life easier.
Lies make you believe the wrong thing. This is dangerous because those lies will affect and influence your outlook of life. With unfulfilled promises, you can easily become heartbroken.
You are likely to start seeing life as a meaningless journey. You feel cheated and lose hope. Since you are walking towards fulfillment in life, you do not want this to happen.
The solution is to start educating yourself on the truth. This helps you in knowing the below:
- Your identity – knowing who you are is the beginning of attaining satisfaction in life. Understand that you are unique; and that it is by design, not by mistake. This helps you accept yourself, believe in your strengths and be willing to work towards improving your own life.
- Your values – your values determine what you can do and what you cannot. These are what dictate your moral behavior. Your values are central to your life as they also determine the kind of company you keep.
- Your priorities – one of the most important things you can ever learn is how to prioritize. Lacking this skill guarantees that you will waste time and be very unproductive in life. This is a sure recipe for feelings of failure, guilt, helplessness and eventually, hopelessness.
When these feelings take over your mind, you have little chance of experiencing any satisfaction in life. In any case, what would you be satisfied about if you have not achieved anything due to having wrong priorities and wasting time?
This helps you channel your efforts to the right direction. It is like someone who is clear on the career he wants to pursue. He does not waste time and money trying several careers but goes straight for his choice.
When you know yourself and your values, you have an easier time focusing on the right things. You do not get easily distracted because your priorities are set right.
Spend some time alone
Just as rest is important for your body, so is spending time alone important for your spiritual health. This is the time you reflect on your progress towards achieving fulfillment in life.
You cannot reflect on this progress while in the midst of company or any other kind of distraction. Time alone must be without TV, radio, internet, mobile phone etc. It is time for yourself.
For this to be effective, you need to plan for it. Considering the numerous things which demand your attention, you will not succeed in picking time at random. The reason is because there will always be something that needs to be done.
Another benefit of planning for time alone is that your mind gets to prepare for it. It clears the way and even looks forward to it. Though you may struggle teaching your mind a new habit, it will eventually adapt if you are consistent.
So what do you do during this time?
You will need to get a comfortable place in your home for this time. Whether inside your house or outside. If you have a garden area or somewhere you can experience the flow of fresh air, that would be better.
Alternatively, get an area in your house where there is free flow of air. This can even be in your bedroom or living room where you have your windows open. Fresh air helps you breathe more easily and your memory responds better.
Whether outside or indoors, ensure you are in a quiet environment. You do not need any soothing sounds or music for this because you need your mind to be fully alert. A quiet environment helps you focus your mind on what you are about to do.
Think about your life values
Your life values are the essence of your spiritual health. These are powerful enough to transcend your career goals and other pursuits of life. If you have not developed any life values, you can get some help here. Some values you can think of and even incorporate into your life are being kind, helpful and honest.
Thinking about these helps you bring to perspective what you are seeking to achieve. This is because you cannot achieve a goal you are not aware of. In the normal running of your life, you might be too busy to notice these values. When you take time to think about them, you are telling your mind that these are important and need to be considered in your day to day living.
Check whether you have been true to your values
Have you been faithful to your true self? This is the question you will be seeking to answer at this point. As you are comfortably seated or lying down in a quiet and comfortable place, slowly replay the events of the previous week.
A week is a good period to use for this exercise since it is neither too short nor too long. With a rested and focused mind, check your conduct and interactions with people throughout the week. Did you act in line with your values?
If you noticed that your colleague needed help and you were free, did you assist? If someone was looking for the toiletries aisle at the supermarket, and you knew where it was, did you leave them to figure it out by themselves?
As you answer these questions, remember to be honest and do not allow guilt to stop you. The important thing is to recognize the flaws then deal with them and become better. You might also consider having a notebook or journal with you to record your progress.
Commit to change or maintain consistency
After seeing how you fared, it is time for some commitment. If you did not fare well, don’t worry too much about it. Learning is never automatic. It is also the journey of improvements that is most encouraging.
In case you did well during that week, start by congratulating yourself. Allow yourself to be happy for yourself. Smile. Laugh. Celebrate yourself. Having done that, commit yourself to being consistent.
It is only consistency that will guarantee long-lasting results. It is never a hard thing to slip back to old habits. So you need to keep yourself on check.
Gratefulness cements your progress because it is appreciative of your efforts. When you appreciate your efforts, you make it easy to put in more effort in the future. You will always feel good about yourself when you recognize the work you put in.
Also be grateful towards the people who make it possible or easy to live out your life in view of your values. If your employer has created a conducive environment, be grateful for him. If you are married and your spouse is helping you in this journey, be grateful for him.
As you progress, you will realize something else about being grateful. You will move from being grateful to people who make things easier for you and start being grateful for the opportunities to live out your values.
For example, one of your values may be to help those in various kinds of need. When you meet a beggar on the street and you buy him food, you will be filled with joy that you were able to help him. You will start looking for opportunities to help and finding those opportunities gives you great joy.
This is the point at which you might hear those close to you comment on how you are always happy. As they probably complain about the number of beggars all over the streets, you see it as an opportunity to help. An opportunity to live out your life. An opportunity to experience true joy.
The below video shows how being grateful is beneficial.
Walk by faith
Walking by faith is an act of doing what your logical mind is cautioning you against but your spirit is advising you to do. You see, just as your mind (soul) knows things your body doesn’t, your spirit knows things which your mind doesn’t.
Walking by faith is more commonly referred to as following your gut feelings or instincts
As we noted, your spirit is the real you. So when you walk by faith, you are just doing what the real you knows to be right. This will be an obvious challenge for you when beginning but do not worry much. Remember you are learning.
Do not condemn yourself if you notice that you did not follow your instincts. When feelings and thoughts of guilt come upon you, remind yourself that you are on a journey. This journey is an adventure and so mistakes are part of it. Mistakes also serve as milestones on your journey.
Remember we talked about priorities? Those are what hold the key to success in walking by faith. When you have your priorities set right, you will realize you have less to accomplish. Not because you are not ambitious, but because you have dropped the things which never added real value to you.
With those out of your way, you suddenly have ‘more’ time and can be more effective on the fewer tasks you have to work on. This creates time for you and you are able to live a less hectic life, not controlled by the busyness of life.
This has the effect of enabling you hear what your spirit is telling you because your mind is quieter than before. Your mind is also gradually getting tuned to this new source of directives and becomes more willing to step down its reasoning in favor of your spirit’s commands.
A continued walk by faith will quickly raise your levels of confidence and joy. Your friends will be praising you for your wisdom as you always seem to know what to do. At the same time, you will be saving yourself so much time and effort by not doing the wrong things.
Live for others
You may have already noticed that your life values point you towards focusing on other people and not just yourself. This is because life is all about living as part of a community.
If I live for self, I can only live for one; if I live for others, I can live for 3,000,000,000. Jack Hyles.
Does living for others mean disregarding yourself? Definitely no. If you disregard yourself, how then will you be in good shape to live for other people?
Many have talked about work-life balance. But in truth, there is no such thing as balancing your life and work. In this case, there is nothing like balancing living for yourself and living for others. It is all in your life.
When you focus on your values, you get to understand that your life is meant to positively impact many other people. This has other benefits too. As such, you work on yourself to ensure you’re in your best shape to help others.
Therefore, hitting the gym stops being something you’re doing for yourself but something you’re doing so as to be in a better position to help by being healthy enough. Working and investing stops being a creation of wealth for your consumption but an opportunity for you to gain the financial means to help others.
As you continue in this, your sense of fulfillment is guaranteed and you always experience it such that you do not need anyone to approve of your deeds.
The motivation for your actions comes from somewhere deep inside you and your intentions are pure. As a result, you will not struggle with issues like jealousy, unhealthy competition or pride. You have nothing to show off. You are simply doing what flows naturally out of you.
Although praying can be done as a religious obligation, it is really an expression of humility. You are being humble in recognizing that you are not the one above everyone and everything else.
You will understand this well when you consider that living for others is also an expression of humility. This is because you have chosen to prioritize other people’s needs and preferences over your own.
Praying is a time of opening yourself up. You lay down whatever burdens and challenges you have carried in your heart. These may be from the situations you have witnessed of people living in hardships or just situations where you struggle living for a specific person who is just difficult.
Do you know that even counselors need counseling? This is because they pick up a lot of concerns and burdens that they also need to release. As you go out to help, you will often feel a similar burden weighing you down.
Praying therefore is a moment of seeking to be strengthened for the journey ahead.
If you are living for others, you will realize that it is easy to become weighed down with other people’s issues. Where you have struggled, you will address those challenges at the next stage of spending time alone. But even then, you still need to get renewed strength from a more powerful source than your own spirit.
Praying works just like visiting a counselor. As you talk to your counselor, you release what has been burdening you and after the session, you feel light and ready to embark on the journey again.
Share the experience
Nothing is as good as sharing your story with someone else, especially someone who understand what you are doing.
You will attain more fulfillment from sharing your story with other like-minded people. As you continue on this path, also seek to influence others towards embarking on a similar journey.
Sharing your experience with people doing something similar works like a support group during therapy. You can plan to meet monthly or bi-monthly, depending on your individual schedules. During this time, share the stories of your adventure with each other.
You will be greatly encouraged and even motivated by what others have done, even as you also encourage them through your story.
You may also find that the challenge you are currently facing is something someone else has passed through. As such, he is able to advise you on how best to handle the situation. This time of sharing in wisdom is necessary for regaining strength.
Also, if you get to a point of feeling like you would give up for whatever reason, you can be sure that your support group will make time to lift you up. As people who help others, they will do this with love as they seek to resuscitate one of their own.
Not only do you deserve this love, but you also need it for yourself and those you help.
Spiritual health is a key part of your life and understanding it is the beginning of enjoying it. Remember that your spirit is you and that your soul is a possession which you have then the body is your home. You have authority over your soul (mind, will and emotions) and consequently, your body.
That means you can do what you know deep inside you, is the right thing to do. Just practice it.
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