by Amanda Box, N.D.
You are a whole person, composed of a triune nature:
Achieving whole health requires a balance of all 3 of your parts. You can’t expect your body to be healthy if your mind is a mess. Neither can your mind be at peace if your spirit is in turmoil.
Think about it. When you obsess over something and become stressed, your body often manifests the consequences. You may experience a rapid heartbeat, insomnia, or nausea, for example. These are all physical symptoms from something you’ve been experiencing emotionally.
Furthermore, when your body experiences imbalances, your mind often suffers. Ladies, many of you experience this every month during a little something called PMS.
But what about our spirit? Does it really have anything to do with our health?Sadly, our western culture focuses primarily on the health of our mind and body, neglecting our spirit. You’ll likely never go to a doctor and hear him talk to you about the condition or health of your spirit. Many doctors don’t even believe we have a spirit, let alone that it contributes to our overall health. Spiritual health just isn’t a part of typical western medicine.
However, Eastern culture has understood the importance of our spirit for thousands of years. Eastern medicine takes into account that a weak spirit can contribute to illness of the mind and body. Eastern doctors recommend prayer and meditation to their patients. They understand the balance of a whole person is what contributes to wellness. They look deeper than just the symptoms.
It’s pretty easy to understand why our spirit doesn’t get included when we don’t feel well. Our body tends to get the most attention simply because it makes the most noise. It is our body that manifests symptoms, discomforts, and pain. Our body is what typically alerts us when something is out of balance.
Our mind is often the second to show symptoms. Many of us struggle with depression, anxiety, and other psychological issues. Even some of our physical symptoms manifest from issues with our mind. What we believe, think about, and express can impact our body. When our symptoms seem to have no physical cause, doctors will then look for psychosomatic roots. They recommend medications, counseling or therapy to reduce symptoms.
However, in searching for the answers for our health, the third and most important part gets disregarded. Honestly, this is a tragedy.
More importantly, it is our spirit that is our direct connection to God. It does not deserve the back seat. Because we live in a physical and tangible world, we forget the important role of our spirit. It is responsible not only for communing with God, but for keeping us healthy.
Nourishing a Healthy Spirit
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “He/She is in good spirits.” There is so much truth to this idiom. We say this when someone is going through something difficult, yet they remain positive.
We always have more hope when we see someone in good spirits. We understand that this optimism can be what pulls them through whatever obstacles they may have.
I would venture to guess that many of you have never stopped to think about this. But, this example is why making sure you nourish and take care of your spirit is just as important as taking care of your body.
Many of us have a wounded spirit. Unfortunately, none of us are exempt from pain or trauma. We have all experienced wounds, both great and small. Many times we don’t truly heal from life’s pains and disappointments. Instead, we often resort to coping mechanisms. Some of the most common coping mechanisms include:[am4show guest_error=’noaccess’]
- Denial: refusing to admit that something happened or that you feel like you do.
- Idealism: focusing on the good points while ignoring and never dealing with the bad.
- Addiction: using drugs, alcohol, pornography, or other mechanisms to make us temporarily feel better and avoid feeling the pain.
- Stuffing: shoving your feelings down deep into a compartment and refusing to talk about them or work through them.
- Anger: often accompanies one of the above mechanisms. Anger explodes out because the feelings of pain and fear have not been resolved.
Coping, rather than working through life’s pain and disappointments, takes its toll on our mind, and on our spirit. The spirit and mind are so closely connected. What we feel, focus on, and believe can either build our spirit up, or tear it down. This toxic build up of negativity can eventually seep into our body, causing disease.
Just like bodily exercises, repeat these practices often, over and over, to see results. You don’t expect to gain strong arms from doing one push up, right? Neither should you expect to see significant results from walking through these steps one time. This is a lifetime commitment to health.
Here are some great ways to help build a healthy and strong spirit
1. Take a step back and look at the big picture
None of us can truly understand the difficulties of your life. But, you are here for a reason. No matter how unfair or wrong things have gone for you, you have a purpose. I promise you that. Take a step back and look at all the things in your life that hold you back. They are likely more trivial than you’ve let them be. Look for ways to break out of the negativity and set goals for a better future!
2. Forgive others
Forgiveness is deliberate decision. It is not saying that what someone did to you was okay. Instead, it is cutting the tie of resentment and releasing them, which in turn releases you. Wanting people to pay for what they did only keeps you bound to negativity and prevents you from moving forward. I’m not trivializing what happened to you. But you cannot move forward when chained to unforgiveness.
3. Look for daily blessings
Sometimes it’s just too easy to be the pessimist. We get caught up in what’s going wrong that we forget about how blessed we are. Take the time each day to acknowledge what you’re thankful for. If you have to, start a journal of thankfulness. It might surprise you to realize how many things you take for granted and how blessed you truly are! Making this a habit can turn a pessimist into an optimist.
4. Feed Your Spirit
Take time every day to do something specifically for your spirit. We feed our bodies with food, so feed your spirit, too! Things that feed your spirit include:
- Reading the Bible
- Positive affirmations
When you pray, don’t pray like a beggar. Pray with expectation and declare God’s goodness. Thank God for your blessings. Read Bible passages that encourage you. Speak positive words out loud over yourself. Really take the time to believe what you’re saying. Science has even proven the power of positive self-talk on health. These practices are as important for your wellness as eating healthy foods and exercising the body!
If you’re looking for whole body health, take the time to give your spirit the nourishment and attention it needs. Let go of negativity, forgive others, and move forward with a thankful heart for all the blessings in your life. The very thing that may be holding you back from breaking free from sickness may be your spirit! Don’t neglect your spirit any longer! Gain health as a balanced, whole person and watch your life change for the better!
Amanda Box is a Traditional Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.
com/ for contact info.