Combining Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Health for Whole Healing
As 2019 draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on the goals you set for yourself last January. How did you do? Were your goals realistic? Did you have a hard time achieving any? If so, or if you feel like something is still missing, it may be time to re-evaluate your approach and do some things differently in the New Year. Optimal health is not just about physical health. It is equally important to nurture and take care of your mental and spiritual health as well. Only when all three areas are aligned in a healthy way can you truly experience balance and live the life you were meant to live. As we close out the year, let’s take a look at each area and what it may mean for you.
Taking care of yourself physically is essential to feeling well. While there are lots of different things you can do to improve physical health, some of the basics are still the best: eat a healthy diet, exercise, drink plenty of water, and get enough quality sleep each night. Manage any medical conditions in cooperation with your healthcare provider, and listen to your body when it needs rest or a healthy snack. Honor your body by truly listening to what it needs, and avoid using food or substances to feel better emotionally. Forgive yourself for times you may have neglected your body, and know that you have the power to change.
Mental health is all about managing your emotions, working on relationships with others, and being able to give and receive love in a healthy way. It means making peace with your past, loving yourself for who you are, and giving yourself permission to make mistakes and learn from them. It means understanding that healing is a process, and knowing that sometimes you will move forward, and other times you may slip back for a bit. It means letting go of past resentments and forgiving yourself and others, setting boundaries, respecting differences in others, and expressing your feelings in a healthy way. Learning to own your part in relationships is vital and allows you to focus on how you can heal and have healthier relationships, instead of focusing on how others behave.
Finding and nurturing a spiritual connection can be challenging for some folks. Perhaps you grew up with negative or confusing images of God or spirituality. Perhaps you found that people who claimed to be Godly were anything but. The good news is that you can establish a spiritual connection that works for you, whatever that may look like.
Spirituality comes in many forms. Some people may find it by being part of an organized faith, others may find it in nature, animals, community service, or by practicing a simple life of prayer and meditation. Two key things are necessary to increase your spirituality. The first is to accept that there is something more powerful than you in the universe. After that, spirituality grows stronger as you learn to release yourself from ego and turn your will over to whatever that power is for you. Spirituality is an individual journey and needs tending to as much as your physical or mental health. By working toward healing spirituality, you may find you don’t always get what you want, but in the long run you are likely to realize you get what you need.
You deserve to feel your best and be happy. If you find yourself continuing to do the same things over and over again and expect different results, it is time to rethink your approach. Life has a funny way of repeatedly providing similar situations and relationships until we learn what we need to learn. We can each choose how to respond. We can place blame, feel taken advantage of, or play the role of victim. Or, we can choose to change. We all have a unique journey, and pain is part of it. Life can be hard. People hurt us, loved ones die, relationships end, and personal circumstances change. While it is entirely acceptable to sit with your pain when you need to, at some point it will be time to make a decision. Do you want to continue experiencing pain, or do you want to heal? When you choose to heal, the real work begins. Know that we are here for you for whatever you may need.
Next time I will provide some suggestions on setting reasonable expectations for the New Year.