Spirituality is one of those tough subjects to discuss with other people. It is also often overlooked in healthcare settings. When asked, some people are overly boisterous and share their spiritual opinions freely. Some are shy and humble in their spiritual beliefs and prefer to keep such things to themselves. Some people connect to their spirituality by attending a religious service, or providing for the needs of others, or seeing a breath-taking view and feeing a sense of spiritual connection deep inside them. Whatever your beliefs are, we are spiritual beings and live in a world of shifting energies and emotions. These energies and emotions can have profound effects on our health.
There is no denying that there is good/positive energy in the world and bad/negative energy. Positive energy begets positive emotions like well-being, happiness, hope, optimism, meaning and purpose, high self-esteem, and a sense of control over your life. These positive emotions can translate to positive psychological traits like kindness, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, and gratefulness. These positive emotions have significant effects on our health.
Feelings of spiritual connectedness, positive energy and emotions, and a sense of community have been shown to have lower blood pressure readings, lower risk for coronary artery disease, lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and increase immune function. Positive emotions are linked to positive outcomes for things like cancer, diabetes, chronic pain, stress, and adverse life events. The power of positivity can even alter our genes.
It is not possible to feel good all the time, but it is important for our overall health not to dwell in the negative spaces and allow the negative energy to control our actions. Negative emotional states can include depression, anxiety, anger, or bitterness, which can lead to substance abuse issues, suicide, relationship instability, or delinquency/crime. It has also been shown that negative energy and emotions can produce negative effects and outcomes on our overall health.
We cannot afford to wallow in negative energy or emotions and must develop coping mechanisms to shift our energy to the positive side. But how can we do that?
Forgive yourself. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. It is important not to dwell on those mistakes, because that can put us back into a negative mindset. We can accept that we made a mistake, learn from the mistakes we have made in the past, and make different choices in the future.
Remember the good things you have done. Give yourself a pat on the back occasionally. Give yourself credit for the good things you choose to do for others every single day.
Surround yourself with positive, healthy people who bring out the best in you. Choose to spend your time with people who lift you up and don’t bring you down. Focus on the positive aspects of people that you wish to emulate and practice putting yourself in a more positive mindset every day.
Take a deep dive into your beliefs about the meaning of life and purpose for your life. Think about the principles that are important to you and how to guide your life to live by those principles.
Start a journal and write down your thoughts. Acknowledge any negative thoughts that may intrude, but then shift them into a positive. If you find yourself thinking things like, “I can’t…” or “I’m not good enough to…” or “This is going to be a disaster, because...” or “Everyone thinks I’m going to fail, because…” then change the statements to positive affirmations like:
I have the tools and abilities to make the right decision, and I trust myself enough to choose what is best for me (my family, etc.) in this moment.
I am learning valuable lessons about myself every day, and I will keep trying to learn more.
I allow myself to be who I am without judgment because that is what is going to allow me to be happiest in my life.
My drive and ambition allow me to achieve my goals because I have a fire inside of me pushing me forward.
I forgive those who have harmed me in my past and peacefully detach from them.
I am at peace with all that has happened, is happening, and will happen.
I give myself space to grow and learn because I understand that there is always room for growth in our lives.
My mind is full of brilliant ideas that I can use to benefit myself and others.
Develop healthy habits. Eat healthy foods, incorporate more vegetables, and eliminate processed and fast foods from your diet. Participate in physical activities, especially with friends and family to improve your sense of community. Meditation and yoga are also ways to incorporate mindfulness and physical movement. Use the positive affirmation statements while meditating to put yourself in a positive state of mind and emotions. Have a regular sleep schedule and aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Take a break from electronics and get out into nature.
If you focus on positive energy, you will get positive energy in return, and the easier it will be to cope with the unexpected events that can happen in life. As one who used to focus on a plethora of negative thoughts and emotions, I can tell you that a mind shift change is hard, but it is worth it.
I acknowledge my self-worth and am willing to improve in areas that I consider weaknesses right now.
I make a difference in the world by simply existing in it and trying to make it a better place in whatever ways I can.
Are you ready to acknowledge your spirituality? Are you ready to shift your mindset to a more positive outlook? Are you ready to PIVOT to functional health and wellness?