There’s no widely-accepted, clear-cut answer to how spiritual and physical health are connected – but the consensus seems to be that they are. Spirituality refers to the way you go about finding inner peace, comfort, hope, and meaning in your life. Some people find spirituality through religion while others find it through nature, art, or music. Still others find it in their principles and values.
The important thing is to recognise that the body, mind, and spirit are indeed connected and that the health of any one of these does appear to affect the health of the others. The comfort, strength, and positive beliefs you can gain through spirituality can contribute to mental and physical well-being and healing. It’s not that spirituality will, in and of itself, cure any specific illness, but rather that it can help you cope with illness, stress, or loss, and may help you stay healthy and avoid some health problems altogether.
How to Improve Your Spiritual Health
To strengthen your spiritual health, try identifying the things in your life that give you a sense of comfort, inner peace, love, or connection. When you’ve identified some things that help you spiritually, set aside some time each day to do them. This could be anything such as attending religious services, praying, meditating, singing, reading inspirational books, doing volunteer work, taking quiet nature walks, doing yoga, or just thinking quietly. There’s no one right way to go about realising your spirituality; everyone is different, so do what feels right for you.
You should also share your spiritual beliefs with your doctor. Knowing what kind of effect your spirituality might have on your thoughts and feelings about your medical situation, particularly if you are being treated for an illness, can help your doctor make the best choices and provide personalised advice to maximise your chances of making a full recovery. This is especially true if your spiritual beliefs affect your health care decisions or your willingness or ability to do as your doctor advises. Finally, even if your doctor can’t help you with any worries or concerns you may have related to your spirituality, he or she may be able to refer you to someone who can.