Spirituality in the eight dimensions of wellness

Spirituality was not Invented by Humankind; it Emerged from Our Essence. 

Spirituality has been a fundamental dimension of the human experience since the beginning of human cultural expression.  Even before modern human beings emerged and formed civilizations, the Neanderthal showed evidence of spiritual beliefs and customs.

Neanderthal people would bury the dead with tools and implements that held great value for survival success in the journey beyond life. This burial with tools ritual was evidence to suggest belief in a spiritual dimension of the person that went on to an afterlife. These artifacts of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis that date back over 40,000 years ago are evidence of spirituality emerging long before civilization. Beliefs in an afterlife and a force of power greater than oneself has evolved into the variety of spiritual expressions we see today.

The Eight Dimensions of Wellness

Spirituality is one of the eight dimensions of wellness. These eight dimensions of wellness include the following dimensions of the human experience:

  1. Emotional Resilience
  2. Environmental Consciousness
  3. Financial Responsibility
  4. Intellectual Inquiry
  5. Vocational Purpose
  6. Physical Vitality
  7. Social Connection
  8. Spirituality

All of these dimensions are interconnected such that growth and satisfaction in one area has the potential to stimulate growth and satisfaction in other dimensions as well. As a person exercises spiritual discipline and achieves spiritual wellness, their concept of self changes, their behavior towards other people changes and their overall wellness improves.

Spirituality is a protective factor motivating people to think beyond the here and now and outside of self, as they strive for some greater meaning in life. This fundamental dimension of human psychological experience is a useful resource for facilitating growth to wellness. Wellness is not only experiencing freedom from disease, but also experiencing healthy functioning in multiple dimensions of life.

 

Spiritual Disciplines are the Exercises of Spiritual Growth

Spiritual growth is facilitated by the exercise of spiritual disciplines.  Spiritual Disciplines are practices that lead to meaningful changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Every person who desires to enhance wellness in the spiritual dimension of their life can practice these disciplines on a daily basis to harmonize their inner core values with their everyday lifestyle.

 

Meditation – active and open attention to the present. This discipline leads you to be mindful of self and others with attention to all the valuable resources around and within you.

Prayer – intimate and authentic communication with God. This discipline improves your conscious connection with the Source of energy that fuels your spirituality. Pray for wisdom about all aspects of your life. Pray for peace. Pray for healing and restoration. Pray for the well-being of others. Pray for the power you need to deal with the demands of life.

Fellowship – social connection with others in warmth, cooperation and genuine engagement. This discipline places you in proximity to others and allows you to experience the warmth of inclusion in community. Let your presence in community focus on what you can contribute with your time, attention and genuine care for others, to help others experience authentic connection.

Service – to give your own time and talent to be helpful to others. This discipline results in the most valuable use of your time and talent to enhance the world around you by helping others who will experience greater wellness from you serving them.

Gratitude – to give thanks. This discipline alters your mood and changes your personality. Gratitude causes you to be mindful of the blessings present all around you. Gratitude orients your attention toward what is right in your life and the world around you.

Sacrifice – to release something you treasure or to give up pursuit of something you covet. This discipline starves dysfunctional compulsions in your life. Fasting serves the purpose of exercising discipline through deprivation of self-centered desires. Abstinence from unhealthy substances or behaviors is an example of sacrifice through fasting. Another important aspect of the discipline of sacrifice is to release attachment to unhealthy connections in your life. Any void that is felt when you make sacrifices will be filled by the satisfaction of connection and dependence on the Source of your spirituality.

Forgiveness – to release resentment you hold against another. This discipline releases you from bitterness and the discontentment of resentment. Forgiveness is a gift that you give yourself that releases you from the bondage of self-centered resentment.

Love – is the meaning of life. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Love is creative, restorative, healing and empowering. Love is a renewable energy source that gains strength when you transfer it to others through loving actions. Love’s potential is not achieved through feeling, but rather through action. If you feel love, then do something about it.  Love is as love does. Express your love for others with loving words and actions.

Imagine the positive impact on your own psychological well-being, relational health, and general productivity if you were to practice each of these spiritual disciplines every day.

by Vaughn M. Bryant, III, PhD, LPC-CCS, LMFT-S, LCDC-CCS

Mental Health Specialist at J Flowers Health Institute

Stress and resilience to covid 19 part-2

by Vaughn M. Bryant, III, PhD, LPC-CCS, LMFT-S, LCDC-CCS

Mental Health Specialist at J Flowers Health Institute

www.jflowershealth.com

What was once “out there” feels like it is getting closer to “right here”.

Last month, I wrote an article on Stress and Resilience to COVID-19. I appreciate all the feedback I received from people who informed me that the Mental Health Self Care strategies have helped them with the stress of this pandemic.

Master your mind or your mind will master you.

I want to validate you and affirm that the situation we are in is stressful.  Our lifestyle has dramatically changed. The future is uncertain and the threat that was once “out there” feels like it is getting closer and closer to “right here”.

The future was always uncertain.

There have been so many times in your life when you feared the future. You may have feared some outcome that eventually never came to pass. You may have feared some outcome thinking that you could never handle it, then once it did happen, you handled it. You survived!  Not only did you survive, but you came out even stronger than you were before.

You are stronger than you seem.

I heard it once said that when a broken bone heals, the place where it was broken has a higher density than the unfractured place and the broken spot heals to be stronger than that the rest of the bone.  That happened in your psyche when you “handled” the past crisis in your life. You became stronger. You learned that you are stronger than you seem. That strength you gained dealing with an earlier crisis in your life has made you stronger.  Access that strength now to handle this situation.  Access that strength and have faith in your ability to see it through this crisis.

Lean into your faith.

In Part I “Stress and Resilience to COVID-19”, I encouraged you to enhance your spiritual condition. There is a delicate balance between faith and action.  Most crisis situations in our life can be improved by making changes in our thoughts and behaviors.  The really stressful situations are those situations where we have done all we can, yet the situation is not getting better.  Those are the times when we need to lean into our faith with the acceptance that we have done all we can and believe that God will do the rest – whatever that turns out to be.

That is what it feels like right now with the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are doing all we can by practicing universal precautions and social distancing, but it does not feel like it is getting better.  The public health experts tell us that our precautions are “flattening the curve” which means that the growth of the pandemic is being slowed down from what it could have been without our successful interventions.

There is a power greater than yourself that intersects your human consciousness, restores your soul and guides your attention toward the divine truth of the power of hope and love.  Lean into to that Power now. Access your faith in that Power greater than yourself to help you through this time.

Meditate on these words from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power. That One is God. May you find Him now! (AA Big Book p.59)

I will publish another blog about Spiritual Disciplines in the next couple weeks so stay in touch as you remember these final words of help from Winnie the Pooh written by A. A. Milne:

Always remember…

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and you are loved more than you know.