Holistic health encompasses more than just the body. When taken as a whole, people need to reach for wellness physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Spiritual health is difficult to define but can lead to a better sense of purpose and belonging. When all aspects of health care in balance, it becomes easier to find joy in everyday life.
So, what is spiritual health? In general, spirituality is the ability to have faith and recognize the connections between you and the people around you. Ready for a spiritual health quiz?
Answer these Questions to Understand Your Spiritual Health
A sense of connection is a major tool for those in recovery. Some studies show that one of the leading causes of addiction is the inability to form healthy connections with other people. When people can connect openly and with security, the need to seek pleasure and stimulation from chemical sources diminishes. Take this spiritual health quiz to find out more about spirituality in daily life. There’s no specific science to spiritual health, but more and more researchers are recognizing the importance of connection in long-term rehabilitation. Answer each question below, then expand the explanation to understand how your response is important.
1. Do you have a well-defined faith or set of beliefs?
Taking the time to codify what you believe can be helpful when trying to make life-changing decisions. Understanding morals and ethics based on your beliefs allows you to make choices that don’t lead to guilt and negative emotional spirals. Being proud of your decisions is an important part of your holistic wellness, and a solid foundation of faith is often a part of the process.
2. Do you regularly commune with a higher power or spend time on meditation?
For some, prayer is a form of meditation that involves reaching out while also looking inward. People may meditate on their actions and ask for guidance for repeating situations. The quiet practice of introspection is an important aspect of spirituality. Mindfulness meditation teaches the practice of awareness without judgment. As Dr. Bruce Goderez describes it in his Psychiatric Times column, meditation is “the art of not taking our own thoughts too seriously.” By learning to acknowledge thoughts without obsessing over them, the same skills translate into everyday activities. Something that may have turned into an all-day stressor before meditation may become a momentary mood change. Plus, the things that may have once caused anxiety have no purchase to continue dragging down your day. Instead, an altercation or other stressor becomes something you notice, but not something you focus on.
3. Do you sometimes feel hopeless or alone?
While depression is often correlated with addiction, feelings of hopelessness can also be an indicator of poor spiritual health. When you lose hope or feel like there is no one around you who cares or who would miss you, it’s not true. What is true is that you may have lost touch with the people who do care or trusted the wrong people with an emotional connection. Part of developing a strong spiritual foundation often begins with building relationships that matter. Solid friendships and mentors who share the same beliefs can play a key role in helping to combat negative emotions when they crop up.
4. Do you have a clear sense of how you contribute to society?
Feeling like part of the community often starts with a sense of your place within it. For example, a person who volunteers at a local nursing home or acts as a Big Brother or Sister to young child has more ties to the community. Those ties are important and also help with feelings of self-worth. While no one should need a reason to exist, having a higher purpose can help those in recovery find meaning in their lives, particularly on days when sobriety is more difficult. Becoming a role model or being the person someone depends on to get groceries or mow their lawn means you have strong ties to your community. Your contributions matter. So, take some time to think about what you already do and how you can expand on your contributions. The rewards are often immediate and paid in happiness.
5. Do you have a strong and supportive network of friends and mentors?
If you have lots of friends, it might feel like you have a strong support network, but not all relationships are created equal. Solid friendships are the relationships that don’t break, even when under strain. Good friends are those who can tell you hard truths and hope you understand that they speak from a place of love. Good friends build you up and help you reach out. They are part of the fabric of your life, and developing these relationships is crucial to developing a strong sense of spiritual wellness. Long-lasting, meaningful relationships are some of the best defenses against relapse. When the people around you care and are invested in your success, the result is dozens of people putting their energy toward the same goal. Finding the right group of friends or family can be challenging, but spirituality often plays a role, giving all parties a shared set of beliefs.
6. Have you researched different religious beliefs to find the one that speaks most clearly to you?
Spirituality and religion are not always intertwined, but for many people, religion is the most comfortable framework in which to explore the spirit. Religion takes beliefs and faith and codifies it in ways that are more accessible to groups of people. Within a religion, you might find prayer an easier mediation medium, or you might look to a religious figure to help you better define what spiritual health looks like for you.
7. Can you separate spirituality from religion?
Yes, spirituality can be separate from religion. Some people may find a shared religion to be comforting and helpful in building support networks, while others may find the framework to be a barrier to spiritual health. Mindfulness and meditation can add value to your lifestyle, regardless of your religious beliefs.
8. Do I have a distinct sense of purpose and meaning in life?
A crucial part of spirituality is determining life purpose and what makes life meaningful to you. Understanding this can help you reprioritize and align your life with your values. For some people, this may mean accepting that work is just a way to generate income and that their priorities lie with their relationships with friends and family. For others, work might be an important source of purpose.
Living without a clear sense of life purpose and meaning can have negative effects. You may waste energy on things that don’t bring you joy, such as long hours at work. You might feel unmotivated and unchallenged, which can sometimes lead to depression or other mental health conditions. You may even find that you’re more susceptible to unhealthy patterns of behavior like addiction.
9. Do I feel in harmony with the world around me?
We go out into the world every day and interact with others and our environment. The world around us can have a massive impact on us, and it’s essential to understand how we’re engaging with the world. If you’re not in harmony with the world around you, it will cause inner turmoil. As a result, you may lash out at others, feel unhappy, and/or start to isolate yourself.
Ask yourself how you feel when you are out and about in the world around you, interacting with people and nature. Do you feel like you’re working with the world’s rhythm rather than against it? And do you take guidance from the universe when it pushes you in specific directions? Learning to do all these things can make you feel more at peace.
10. Do I feel at peace with myself?
If a sense of harmony with the world around us is one part of the equation, inner peace is the other. Unfortunately, in today’s busy world, many people forget to prioritize the latter—but without inner peace, a person is susceptible to anger, unhappiness, and discontentment.
Here are some signs by which go gauge whether you have inner peace:
- You don’t rush to judge yourself or others
- Your thoughts aren’t constantly racing
- You worry less
- You have an inner joy that you feel more regularly and deeply
- You wholeheartedly love yourself and others
The good news is that if you’re not currently at peace with yourself, you can work to get there. Committing to meditation, yoga and even a regular exercise routine can help you prioritize connecting and taking care of yourself. Inner peace can carry many benefits, including bringing you more happiness and self-awareness.
11. Do I prioritize moments of relaxation in my daily life?
A lot of spiritual health and wellness comes down to pausing and taking a moment to relax. If you honestly can’t say you prioritize taking moments to relax daily, you’re likely not giving your spirituality enough time. Relaxation can’t just be reserved for those semi-annual vacations. It’s important to remember we only have one life here, and we need to take in those small moments of peace every single day. These small daily moments help us feel relaxed, grateful, and re-energized. If you need help prioritizing daily relaxation, try writing in a journal, taking up morning or evening meditation, or going for a walk.
12. Do I have acceptance of the views of others?
The world is made up of unique people whose personal experiences have led them to their own set of beliefs. And, it’s apparent in interacting with others that not everyone will have our same beliefs. But that’s what makes the world so special. Everyone has a right to their own opinions and can offer a different perspective.
When you find that you can’t accept or understand the views of others, it speaks more about you than that person. Even if you disagree with another person’s ideas, you should be able to appreciate that you have had different upbringings, experiences, and values that bring different perspectives. A differing opinion shouldn’t bring up feelings of anger. A spiritually healthy and accepting person can listen to opposing views with an open mind and appreciate hearing a new perspective. And, having an open mind with people will also help you foster healthier relationships.
13. Do my values guide my decisions, actions and behavior?
What is spiritual health? As we said, it’s a difficult concept to describe, but a big part of it is self-examination. Spiritually healthy individuals often check what their values are and if they’re living in line with those values. Ideally, our decisions, actions, and behavior will align with our values.
Try checking in with yourself after every significant decision. Did that decision feel right and make you feel good? If the answer is no, consider why not. Does the decision not reflect your values? Is it too late to fix it? Can you learn from it and do better next time?
None of us are perfect, and there will be times when you realize you’re not following your core values. That is okay and to be expected. All you can do is recognize when it happens and try not to repeat the same mistake in the future. And, don’t forget to check in with your values, as they may change over time.
14. Perspective on your progress
It can become easy in busyness of daily life to get lost in routine and forget about accomplishments. When you fail to appreciate where you’ve come from, you can start to focus on all the wrong things—like what you haven’t achieved.
Whether you’ve found sobriety, sought help for a mental health condition, or just committed to spirituality and bettering yourself, remember to credit all that you’ve done. This can help you maintain perspective on how far you’ve come and what you’re capable of. One way to practice perspective on your progress is by journaling what you’re grateful for every morning. It can foster a positive mindset for the rest of the day and serve as a tangible reminder of how far you’ve come.
If you are struggling with spiritual health and need help finding resources or defining the problem, give us a call today at (833) 596-3502. Our compassionate team of counselors is always available to program alumni or those who may need a little extra help during sober living. We are always ready to help with a holistic approach to health.