Spiritual Wellness: What It Means & How It Affects Your Mental Health

By Lauren Hall
September 20, 2023

Craving meaningful relationships? We all are. According to the Journal of Marriage and Family Review, there are six essential relationship habits: appreciation/affection, commitment, positive communication, time together, strong coping skills, and spiritual well-being. 

We’ve looked at the principles behind these relationship habits and explored practical ways to cultivate these habits with your family. And now we’ll look at the final relationship habit– spiritual well-being.

Why is spiritual well-being important?

Medical and mental health associations acknowledge spiritual well-being as a critical part of one’s overall health. Physicians and psychologists recognize the fundamental connection between our body, mind, and spirit. All three influence and impact each other. Holistic approaches to healthcare are the norm.

Research has accumulated across many disciplines demonstrating the physical and mental health benefits of cultivating the spiritual dimension of life. Positive spiritual experiences can activate the same reward centers in the brain as other pleasurable activities and deactivate the effects of stress and anxiety.

What does spiritual well-being look like?

When most people describe spiritual well-being, they refer to something that helps them feel whole, centered, and grounded in their lives. It gives them the ability to be positive and peaceful when their mind is full of anxiety and doubt. Spiritual experiences tap into an intangible, almost inexpressible dimension of life that invokes awe, inspires growth, and instills hope.

For some people, spirituality is found in religious institutions and organized worship communities. Spirituality can be intensely personal and private for many people. Some experience it through religious customs. Others may experience it on a nature walk, while volunteering, or reading an inspirational book. 

“Spirituality” doesn’t have a single, universally accepted definition. (PRO TIP: Ask your family what “spirituality” and “spiritual well-being” mean to them.)

Ways To Improve Spiritual Well-Being

If you want to explore and improve your spiritual well-being, try a few of the following ideas. Remember that everyone is different. The spiritual practices that work for others may not work for you. Learn what is comfortable for you and your family members.

  • Explore how your family could be more involved in your current faith community.
  • Visit a worship service, then talk about it.
  • Have a family prayer time or time to express gratitude and thankfulness.
  • Learn breathwork or guided breathing exercises together.
  • Work on meditation or mindfulness and discuss the results as a family.
  • Have some quiet time uninterrupted by technology or other distractions.
  • Brainstorm a way to serve your community.
  • Spend time in nature, individually and as a family.
  • Do yoga together.

Even though it may be difficult to define, spiritual well-being helps you be optimistic, compassionate, patient, and joyful. It may not heal you when you’re sick, but it can make you feel better and can support you during suffering and loss. 

Identify the things in your life that give you a sense of inner peace, comfort, strength, love, and connection. Spiritual well-being can be seen as a journey. What does that journey look like for your family?

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