There are, experts say, four areas for total well-being: Spiritual, Physical, Social, and Emotional.  We could all take a pretty good guess at what is meant by the last three, but Spiritual well-being is harder to grasp.  It is also, therefore, harder to work towards.

Physical Well-being is about having all the parts of the body working properly.  It is having no broken bones or infections.  It is being able to walk up stairs without losing one’s breath.

Spiritual Well-being, on the other hand, is about being able to make sense of situations, in terms of meaning.  It is about sorting out purpose for living.  Spiritual Well-being is having cherished beliefs and standards that provide a moral compass.  Those who are spiritually well can appreciate things beyond self.  This could be belief in God or an appreciation for the vastness of the universe.  People who are spiritually well also have an awareness of a connection with others.  They can feel selflessness, love, or a drive to work with others for a common good.

We know that for physical health, we need to exercise our muscles and eat a balanced diet.  We need to see a doctor periodically to check how things are working, and take remedial action if there is any disease.

So then, how does one exercise to optimize spiritual health?  First of all, it is important to have values in life and a sense of what life’s purpose is.  It is important to have a feeling of connection to community as well as a sense that we are not the centre of the universe.  Beyond that, we should exercise:

  • ·         Practice kindness
  • ·         Volunteer to help others
  • ·         Recycle
  • ·         Pray or meditate
  • ·         Take a course or read on philosophy or religion
  • ·         Read material that encourages your belief system
  • ·         Meet with others who share your beliefs

When a difficult time comes, who will best be able to meet the need by carrying a heavier load or by working longer hours?  The one who is physically healthy and has been exercising.

When a difficult time comes, who will best be able to recover from the traumatic event?  The one who is spiritually healthy and has been exercising.  Make sense of your life.  Exercise.