As I travel on this spiritual journey, I discover new things each day. One thing that I have recently become more aware of is the importance of taking care of your health and that by doing so you can actually help your spiritual development. I think we are all aware by now that the mind, body and spirit are connected. I love the saying that your body is your temple because it paints a very clear picture. If you think of your body as the temple that houses your spirit, how would you treat that temple? I would imagine that you would treat it with love, kindness and reverence. I think you would do your best to take really good care of that temple every day. So, I am choosing to approach my body and my health that way as I go forward. I am going to see my health as part of my daily spiritual practice and try everyday to get better at caring for my temple.
In this post I will explore 5 areas that can improve one’s health and how they can be integrated with one’s spiritual practice.
1) Eat a healthy diet:
I am not talking about any one specific diet plan. I am talking about asking yourself before you eat something whether this will be good for your body or not. Certain items such as sugars and carbohydrates when eaten in large quantities definitely have a negative effect on the body. Also certain fats and chemical additives can also be bad. Eating foods that contain a high amount of these items can lead to diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart problems, obesity and more. On the other hand, eating more vegetables, fruits, lean protein and drinking more water can have positive effects on your health, such as lowering cholesterol, reducing blood pressure and losing weight.
I have definitely struggled with this and I am not saying you can change bad habits overnight. What I plan to do is to work at it everyday, little by little, being conscious of what I am eating and asking myself does this food help my body or hurt my body. How do I feel after I eat this, do I feel good or do I feel bad. I find that when I eat healthier, I have more energy and feel better overall. I feel like I am being more of my true self and therefore more connected to my spirit. You can also use the time when you eating as part of your spiritual practice by taking time to express gratitude for the abundance of food in your life and for nature for providing it. You can also take the time to bring your mind to present moment awareness and really enjoy the flavors of what you are eating and how it nourishes you.
2) Get enough sleep:
Getting enough sleep is one the best things you can do for your overall health. When you sleep your body has a chance to recover, repair and replenish. Much of the country is functioning while being sleep deprived. According to Web MD, some of the benefits of getting enough sleep include, weight control, reducing blood sugar levels, improving your immune system, aiding in pain reduction and improving memory.
I have had difficulty in this area too, so again, it is something to work on gradually. I plan to make a conscious effort to start getting ready for bed a little earlier every night. You can make the time before going to bed a spiritual time as well by doing some relaxation activity like meditation, yoga, listening to soothing music or writing in your journal. You can then take some time to pamper yourself with whatever beauty routines you like such as cleansing your face or moisturizing your skin. You can use this time to show love and kindness to yourself, to appreciate your body and to be grateful for your blessings.
3) Do some kind of movement/exercise:
Our bodies were meant to move, we were not designed to be sedentary for long periods of time. So find some kind of movement or exercise that you enjoy and do it as much as you can. This can be dancing, walking, yoga, tai chi, kickboxing or anything that speaks to you. The important thing is for you to find something that you enjoy so that you will look forward to the activity and not see it as drudgery.
It is easy to see how yoga and tai chi can be connected to a spiritual practice but walking, dancing and kickboxing can also be part of a your spiritual practice. This can be done by using your breathing and connecting to how your body feels, where are areas of tightness or blocks? Once you have found those areas you can work on letting go of the tension, stress, old hurts and begin to embrace joy and the feeling of aliveness.
4) Practice meditation daily:
There is a lot of information available now that talks about the benefits of meditation. Some of the benefits are it can lower blood pressure, reduce pain, help heart disease, help sleep problems, reduce anxiety and depression. Start doing meditation in the morning and the evening. It can be simple as just a few minutes when you wake up where you start by just doing a few cleansing breaths, clearing your mind or maybe set your intentions for the day. Then again at night, where you do a few cleansing breaths, releasing stressful thoughts or negative energy. You can also do a short meditation anytime you are feeling stressed or anxious and it well help you feel more calm. Just doing 5 – 10 minutes of meditation when you feel stressed can make a huge difference. Additionally you can use healing meditations to help you feel better overall or to have more energy. These meditations can be guided or not, they usually have you visualize yourself being surrounded by healing white, pink or golden light or breathing in the light and exhaling out any dark or negative energies.
Meditation is easy to put into your spiritual practice because more than likely it is already a part of your spiritual practice. Most religions or spiritual practices recommend a time to quiet the mind, whether it is through meditation or prayer.
5) Use affirmations daily:
Our thoughts affect how we feel and they can lead to actual physical aliments. For example, if you have negative thoughts about yourself, about how you look, how successful you are, your future etc., you can start to feel depressed, sluggish, stressed out and lose your motivation. This in turn can lead to depression, weight gain, anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia and more. Conversely, if you have positive thoughts about yourself and your future, you are more likely to feel happier, more energized and more motivated to pursue your dreams. These types of feelings can lead to positive health benefits.
Affirmations are short empowering positive statements of something that you want to happen as if it has already happened, for example:
I love and appreciate myself just as I am.
Abundance is my natural state of being. I accept it now.
Infinite abundance is freely flowing into my life right now.
I am vibrantly healthy and radiantly beautiful.
The light within me is creating miracles.
You can repeat them out loud or just say them silently to yourself, you can also sing them or record them and play them back to yourself. You can try saying them in the morning and then again in the evening, before or during your meditation and see how it makes you feel.
You can make affirmations part of your spiritual practice by incorporating affirmations that are about your spiritual connection or development, for example:
Every day in every way I am getting better and better.
I am one with Universe.
Higher wisdom expresses itself daily in all aspects of my life.
Every day I am becoming a more enlightened being.
I am loving light and I radiate that light to everything in the universe.
Using affirmations daily will improve your self-esteem, strengthen your belief in your ability to accomplish your goals as well as deepen your connection to your spirit.
I truly believe that good health is vital to my spiritual development because when I feel good I am able to connect to my higher self more and that helps me to follow my higher purpose.
If you want to explore this topic further I would recommend reading “Goddesses Never Age” by Dr. Christiane Northrup. Dr. Northrup does an excellent job of discussing ways to improve health while considering spirituality.
Disclaimer: This blog post provides general information only, nothing in this post and in any linked materials is intended or should be construed as providing medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult immediately with an appropriately licensed physician or other health care worker.