Spiritual wellness. It can sound scary or daunting to individuals in the early stages of recovery. As part of the holistic healing process that collectively focuses on promoting the wellness of mind (mental health), body (physical health), and spirit (spiritual health), achieving spiritual wellness is wrongly assumed by many to be the least important element to long-term holistic recovery success.
What people fail to understand is that anyone can be spiritually healthy, regardless of whether they have a particular religious affiliation. As a matter of fact, you don’t have to be considered religious to discover a spiritual path that is yours. Just like you don’t have to subscribe to only being a runner or a swimmer to be considered physically healthy. There are many ways of finding and nurturing spirituality in your everyday routines, just as there are many ways to take care of your physical health. It’s discovering ways that foster an inner harmony between your thoughts, your beliefs, and most importantly in recovery, your actions.
Much like the chicken or egg dilemma, one does not really come first. These three areas of health wellness work in conjunction and in harmony with one another. It is difficult to be spiritually healthy without also being mentally or physically healthy. And it can be challenging to find that motivation to exercise if your mind and heart simply aren’t engaged in inspiring you.
And it’s not the perfection of each you seek. It’s progress. It’s setting wellness goals and celebrating even the smallest and easiest milestones. It’s knowing that because you are stronger physically, or mentally, having a difficult spiritual day isn’t enough to derail all of the progress you’ve made in your recovery. Or knowing that you aren’t going to suffer a mental health crisis if you don’t feel like exercising today. It’s ok.
What Is Spiritual Wellness?
Spiritual wellness is finding and being connected to your life’s meaning and purpose. It’s understanding the values, morals, and beliefs that guide your actions.
It’s a belief in something greater than just yourself. It’s vastly different from the selfishness you exhibited while in the grip of your addiction, and a true mindset change from when the only important activity on any and every day was finding ways to feed your habit.
Achieving spiritual wellness means you will be better equipped to overcome adversity, in particular the emotional struggles and ups and downs that come at you hard in the early stages of recovery in the form of employment and financial concerns, rebuilding relationships, navigating new relationships, and dealing with addictive cravings.
Most importantly, spirituality is a deeply personal journey, and you are the only one who can define the role it has in your life.
How To Achieve Spiritual Wellness
As you traverse the difficult early stages of recovery, it’s important to find an activity that works for you in understanding and developing your spiritual needs. It may take you some time before a particular practice resonates with you, and that’s ok. Everyone taps into their life’s meaning and purpose differently. Some embrace true organized religion, some achieve peace and balance through meditation, while some find their meaning in spending time in nature. Just remember, there’s no right or wrong way to achieve your spiritual wellness.
Here are some practices to consider when getting started on your spiritual wellness journey.
While yoga may seem to be an activity to help with your physical health, the practice of yoga involves learning how to connect mind and body through breathing exercises combined with a series of poses and physical postures. Unlike other physical exercises, yoga is designed to help you focus your mind to get in tune with your body while regulating breathing. This promotes not only increased physical stamina and strength, but also stress relief, improved self-awareness, and better sleep habits.
Learn to meditate.
Meditation is another way you can connect and synchronize the mind and body for improved mental wellbeing. By taking deep, counting breaths, and focusing your mind on nothing else, meditation can help reduce feelings of depression and will lead to increased focus, concentration, and awareness. A very effective way to calm your mind when you become stressed or anxious.
Participate in 12-step support groups.
The Twelve Steps, as originally presented by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) but adopted for use in other addiction recovery programs, is steeped deeply in a spiritual foundation for long-term recovery. These 12-Step programs have guided many in not only overcoming their addiction but experiencing an entirely new way of life.
Prayer and Bible Study
If you have a religious affiliation you are a part of, setting aside a few moments each day for prayer, quiet solitude, and daily devotional readings is an effective way to reflect on your spirituality and connect with your higher power. Establishing a routine that works for you is important, either at the beginning of the day or before bedtime, so you get in the habit of prayer, expressing gratitude, and studying inspirational readings.
Spend Time In Nature
Hiking a trail through the woods through the forest on a crisp fall afternoon. Sitting on a dock overlooking a lake enjoying a cool breeze on a hot summer day. Lying on your back in the soft grass watching the clouds roll by, daydreaming. There is something about nature that is pure and peaceful to one’s soul. Spending time outdoors, communing in nature, can stir deep emotions as you ponder the “larger than our self” question so important in spiritual health.
JacobsWay provides safe and structured sober living and holistic restoration in transitional homes for men and women. If you or a loved one are struggling on your journey toward a life free from addiction, contact JacobsWay today for information on how we can help.