In today’s technology-driven, fast-paced world, it can be easy to neglect our inner lives. But research shows that spirituality – be it through traditional religion, meditation, crystal healing or something of your own making – can have lasting, positive effects on our mental health, self-esteem, anger management, and even, yes, physical health.
Benefits of Spiritual Wellness
According to the Center for Lifestyle Medicine and Wellness Care, the benefits of spirituality can include:
- Help reduce stress and depression
- Reduce anxiety
- Lower blood pressure (and therefore, risk of heart disease)
- Strengthen your immune system and lower blood sugar
- Help sustain concentration, memory and cognition
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Is spirituality right for me?
Spirituality can be a loaded term for many people, particularly when religion and politics tangle in our national headlines. But at its core, spirituality is deeply personal, and you – and only you – define the role it has in your life.
The Laborer’s Health and Safety Fund of North America offers this beautiful, simple definition of spiritual wellness:
”Spiritual wellness is being connected to something greater than yourself and having a set of values, principles, morals and beliefs that provide a sense of purpose and meaning to life, then using those principles to guide your actions.”
Easier said than done! But the best self-care starts by looking within. And whether you’re a practicing Buddhist, a regular church- (or synagogue- or mosque-) goer, or if it’s been a while since you gave much thought to prayer, these simple activities can help you jump-start your spiritual life and regain a positive outlook.
10 Spiritual Wellness Activities
Activity 1: Personal reflection
Just as your physical and emotional health change and experience ups and downs throughout your life, your spiritual life may, too – and that’s completely normal. As you embark, re-embark, or continue on your emotional journey, take the opportunity to stop and reflect on what matters to you and the values that guide your life. Consider:
- What gives my life meaning and purpose?
- Which values do I live by, and how do I demonstrate them in my thoughts and actions?
- Do I find spiritual energy in a community, or as an individual?
- How do I navigate challenges? What sustains me in times of need?
- What brings me inner peace and comfort?
- Am I kind to those who are different from me?
- How do I make an effort to understand those from other backgrounds?
- What would I like to accomplish in this life?
These answers are different for every person, and may change throughout your life. Set aside a time to revisit them – maybe just once a year, or more often as you need in response to life events and other challenges.
Activity 2: Find mentorship
If you belong to an organized religion, you may find solace in speaking with your rabbi, minister, priest, imam or other leader of your congregation. If you’re more secular, your spiritual health and spiritual journey are just as important. You may find mentors in personal relationships with family members, teachers, coaches or other respected community leaders.
If asking a boss or other trusted figure to serve as your mentor feels like a scary step, you can start with something easier, like a coaching service. We love CoachCrate, which empowers your inner journey by supplying a monthly growth plan, as well as an empowering book with a reading guide, 2-4 coaching videos, and well-being items. (For a similar service with a religious Christian bent, check out Christian devotional Faithbox.)
No matter what, make sure your journey is in the hands of someone you trust – you don’t have to do it alone.
Activity 3: Take “10” during the workday to reflect
The most important element of self-care is dedication. When we’re busy, and work tasks and to-do lists are heaping up, it can be hard to give ourselves permission to do something as seemingly selfish and “unproductive” as taking care of our own needs. But this way of thinking can lead to burnout, and chances are, if you’ve had these thoughts, you’re neglecting your spiritual side, too.
Reduce anxiety by giving yourself permission to take 10 minutes out of the workday (like a cigarette break, except it’s good for your soul and won’t give you lung disease) to attend to your spiritual needs. Maybe this is a moment of silent prayer, reflection via journaling, or an anxiety-reducing exercise like MindWander – it’s up to you. The important thing is that you prioritize yourself and give your spiritual wellness the attention it deserves.
Activity 4: Meditation
The benefits of meditation for your overall wellness – including stress reduction, improved emotional health, boosted self-awareness and more – are well known. If you’re not a practitioner already, dip your toe in with this simple, attainable intro exercise:
- Find a comfortable, seated position in a quiet, distraction-free space. (No lotus pose necessary! Be gentle with yourself as you start your journey.)
- Set a timer for five minutes. (It’ll feel long, trust me!)
- Begin by focusing on your breathing. Count to five on your inhale, and five on your exhale. Focus on the feeling of the breath as it enters and exits your body.
- If your mind wanders, that’s okay! You’re doing an exercise with mental muscles you’ve never used before – it’s normal to find it difficult. Just bring your mind back, gently, to your breath.
Activity 5: Yoga
Yoga pairs elements of meditation and breathing with a full-body workout, a holistic approach that increases flexibility, improves overall health, promotes better sleep and more, all while reducing stress and anxiety.
There are tons of resources for starting your own practice even if you can't find yoga classes nearby. We love the free YouTube videos from Austin, Texas-based teacher Yoga With Adriene, and also the luxe lifestyle box Do A Shot of Yoga!, which sets you up with props, yoga journals, learning resources and more. Stick with this one – it gets easier, and the benefits for physical health and mental health are worth it.
Activity 6: Care for the body
At the base of Maslow’s hierarchy are those physiological needs: In short, you’ve got to make sure you’re taking care of your physical health before you can approach spiritual wellness. Make self-care part of your practice: exercise, drink water, and eat right.
Try indulging in some DIY bath bombs, or treat yourself to a therapist-curated bliss experience with Therabox, which combines a monthly “happiness activity” with wellness goodies like aromatherapy, bath salts, skincare products and more. Caring for that body reminds you that you’re dedicated to yourself, and frees you up to focus on the big stuff.
Activity 7: Do good works
Volunteerism, mentoring, and giving back your communities can powerfully nourish you. Revisit those self-reflection questions to consider the values that drive you and how you exhibit them in your actions. Whether you think globally and act locally or pursue good works across the world, volunteering can help you just as much as it helps others.
Activity 8: Build your own rituals
Your spirituality is yours and yours alone – so honor the things that matter to you. Consider making a DIY shrine to celebrate what’s at your spiritual core, or use this easy worksheet to create your own rituals.
If you want a helping hand (and a dash of old-school earth magic), check out the rituals suggested by Magickal Folk – their curated packages come with herbs, crystals and more with an emphasis on healing, grounding and connection. Options include tea rituals, meditation, kid-friendly rituals, and more.
Activity 9: Keep a gratitude journal
If meditation and prayer don’t quite fit into your spiritual life, start simply: Jot down 5 things you’re thankful for before you go to sleep each night. The element of reflection helps establish your spiritual practice, and gratitude is proven to improve sleep, boost mental health, and strengthen your relationships. (Looking for journals? We love the Feeling Fab and CLOTH & PAPER.)
Activity 10: Explore ancient practices
Many modern practitioners in recent years have turned to ancient tradition to inspire their spiritual growth. With the resurgence in interest in Wicca, witchcraft, and energy healing, it’s no surprise to spy crystals on your friend’s dashboard or spot someone walking down the street in a “Witch, Please!” shirt as capitalism collides with craft.
If you’re curious about herbalism and crystals, there are a wealth of avenues to explore. We recommend dipping your toe in with Tamed Wild Apothecary, a monthly herbalism subscription with an emphasis on teas, tinctures, essential oils, crystals and more, plus a new intention-setting ritual each month. For a more modern feel, check out Goddess Provisions, an empowering box that promotes “the goddess within” with jewelry, bath products, crystals, snacks and more.