Ideas to Improve your spiritual health in retirement

No one really knows how spiritual health is related to other aspects of health but most agree that the mind, body and spirit are connected.

Spiritual health is about finding purpose and meaning in your life and how this purpose affects you and others around you. It is about self discovery and finding out who you truly are and understanding how you have become the person you are or what you can do to become the person you want to be.

Spiritual health can be many things for each individual person. One strategy to improve spiritual health is to identify the things in your life that bring you inner peace and tranquility.  Everyone is different, so what works for you, may not work for others. You may need to try many of these suggestions before you find what is comfortable for you.

  1. Take time for yourself.  However you like to take time for yourself, you need to find moments in your day to take this break.  This may be a few quiet minutes at your workstation sipping on a tea before starting day and just enjoying the flavor and smell of a hot drink. It can be sitting on a park bench and enjoying the sound of the wind or of children playing. It can be reading inspirational books.
  1. Make a list.  Make a list of what is most important to you and that you find provides you with a sense of love, strength, peace of mind and a connection with someone or something.
  1. Exercise. Exercise can provide different benefits for different people.  While exercise often means going to the gym and pumping iron, it can also mean relaxing things like going for a walk or doing some yoga.  It can mean taking 15 minutes to do some stretches or even play in the park with your kids.
  1. Find quiet moments daily. Silence can therapeutic, calming and relaxing.  Finding silent time everyday can improve your spiritual health.  This can happen at anytime of the day when you have a minute to just think about your breathing or an hour to take a lazy walk.
  1. Be forgiving of others.  It takes so much more energy to not forgive then to forgive and you will always find a sense of peace in forgiveness. It may take some time but in the end will be time well spent.
  1. Be open to your experiences and feelings.  Spiritual experiences can happen anywhere at any time. If you are open to making the connection with yourself and others you will see so much more of the good in the world and the positive effects you have on others.
  1. Attempt to see other points of view.  Being open minded and non-judgmental can allow us to gain valuable knowledge and see more then what might be so evident. Having confidence in your beliefs is a positive skill but remember we can always learn and grow from others. Ones difference of opinion today may make great sense tomorrow.
  1. Allow yourself to mourn.  Prolonged sadness can lead to depression and other health issues.  It is important to allow yourself to feel pain, mourn to release sadness.   It’s good to have a means to express feelings. It is often in these tough times that we are able to allow ourselves to ask and answer difficult questions about our beliefs and what we want to contribute in this world. Feeling the pain leads to recovery and aids in the healing process.
  1. Laugh as much as you can.  Laughter is contagious.  It has many healthy benefits like causing happiness, burning calories, increasing our heart rate and strengthening our stomach muscles.
  1. Take time for family and friends.  Feeling connected with others or part of a community can give you purpose and a feeling of contributing to society. We are naturally social beings that needs companionship and a sense of belonging.
  1. Seek out a faith.  Sometimes faith and religion go together.  Maybe faith is found by going to church or other religious activities.  Maybe it’s about prayer to a higher being. Or just reading religious doctrines.  Faith can also be found from spiritual reading or meditation.
  1. Meditate.  Meditation can reduce stress and help us relax.  Through meditation we can bring our unruly mind under control to help us create peace of mind and enables us to achieve what we want to.

This list is not exhaustive.  What is most important is you find the strategies that work for you.  How could you do that without trying a few things?  What things do you do to improve your spiritual health?

Written by Liz Yih

Elizabeth Yih is a registered dietitian who specializes in Eating Disorders at the University of Alberta Hospital. She also consults for Wholesum Nutrition and has a general passion for living healthy and helping others do the same. Most importantly, she sets a positive example to live life healthy and happy for her four children.

One Response to Ideas to Improve your spiritual health in retirement

  1. I practice yoga a couple of times a week and try to meditate when I can. Life is so hectic that it is difficult to find the time to calm down and improve my spiritual health. I think it is really important though and will try to make time to meditate more.

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