What Does It Mean to be Spiritually Well?
Hey it's Mya!
When it comes to spiritual wellness, people tend to be all across the board, varying in beliefs, practices, and saliency. When you think of spiritual wellness, what do you think of? How does it pertain to your life and personal experiences?
Maybe you’re someone whose faith is so salient to you that it’s a defining element of your identity. You read scripture every morning, go to worship weekly, and participate in religious clubs and organizations. Maybe your faith helps guide you to who you want to be and the life you want to live. On the other hand, maybe you grew up with a certain religious background from your family, but then have kind of lost touch since coming to college, or maybe you didn’t come from any religious influence at all. Maybe you’re a stressed-out Honors student who has had to sacrifice Sundays for all-day study sessions. Maybe spirituality is something that you don’t quite feel connected to, or it could be confusing, overwhelming, and downright stressful. If that’s you, know that you’re not alone.
College is a time for self-discovery. Finding out who you are, determining your goals, passions, and values, and finding what truly speaks to your soul, regardless of any external influence. If you aren’t sound in your spirituality, don’t panic! You don’t have to identify with a traditional religion to be spiritual. We are in the age of “spiritual, but not religious” individuals, who are finding their connection in less structured ways and in turn pulling on influences from multiple and different traditions, blending them into a faith that is entirely and uniquely their own.
In essence, any spirituality practice has an overall goal of finding meaning to life and connection to something larger than ourselves. So, that natural human desire can be fulfilled in many aspects of life, as long as you’re willing to notice it.
Spiritual connection can be found in a meditation/mindfulness practice. In meditation practice, the focused attention on your breath, flowing in and out of your body, can facilitate a connection to your inner self, the part of you that is pure, eternal, and effortlessly complete. In mindfulness practice, you can walk with awareness throughout your day and notice the beautiful little moments, or the interconnectedness of us all.
Spiritual connection can be found in nature. Take off your shoes in the woods, on Bowman field, or maybe on a beach. Feel your toes supported by the dirt, grass, or sand and let it ground you to our Earth. Conversely, look up at the starts on a clear night and feel yourself elevated to the infiniteness of space. Listen to the beautiful song of birds on your way to class. Listen to the soft wind rustle through the branches on a tree. Listen to the gentle ebb and flow of the mighty ocean. You can feel connected to this massive sphere floating through space and know that you are a part of something so much bigger than you.
Spiritual connection can be found through acts of compassion. The best way to do this is to smile at a complete stranger. Recognize that you and that person are both humans, on the same planet, in the same place, and are just trying to make it by. That’s beautiful and they deserve that smile you just offered them.
No matter what end of the spiritual spectrum you fall on, your personal experiences and beliefs are valid and valued. At the end of the day, finding meaning to life and connectedness to something larger than ourselves helps us all deal with the fast paced, overwhelming world we live in. Spirituality is constant, everlasting, and essential, in any capacity, in the never-ending pursuit of personal wellness.