Whenever I meet with H3 guests individually I always inquire about their spiritual beliefs. Why? Because I believe it’s very limiting to embark on a journey of self-improvement without addressing the whole person. You see, we’re the complete package—physical, emotional, social, and spiritual in nature. If your quest to improve your health is limited to nutrition and fitness interventions, then you’re only attending to the physical component of your more dimensional-self.
It could be that this dynamic causes us to frequently slide backwards, as if the lesson will be given to us repeatedly unless we learn it, or at least factor in the other variables (i.e. emotion, spirit, and social connections). I can say with all honesty that addressing only the physical aspects of my dysfunctional behaviors surrounding food resulted in many years of chronic dieting and personal self-loathing. It wasn’t until I looked at my emotional eating, and my under-nourished spirit, that I started to find long-term recovery from compulsive eating and progressive weight gain.
The interesting thing about cultivating spirituality is that it’s linked with many health benefits. People who have a spiritual connection heal faster after surgery, experience less depression and anxiety, are more resistant to stress, have lower blood pressure, cope better with chronic illness, experience greater recovery from addictions, and tend to experience more hope and optimism which is linked with increased immune function.
So say this simple blog has you thinking about the concept of nurturing your spirituality but you’re not really sure where to start. Begin by asking yourself the following questions and revealing the answers by way of journaling:
- If you are all there is in this life, if everything begins and ends with you, how does that affect your potential or your life’s possibilities?
- If you were to explore a personal concept of a higher power or spiritual connection, how could that create a negative outcome? How could it create a positive one?
- How could a spiritual connection serve as a resource in your efforts towards healthy lifestyle changes?
Once you’ve answered these questions then start the process of connecting to your spirit by simply focusing on gratitude throughout your day. You see, gratitude is a direct link to your spirit. When we experience gratitude, which means we acknowledge what we are grateful for while tapping into the positive emotional response (because gratitude only gives birth to positive emotions), we move beyond the preoccupations in our head to a more meaningful experience.
I will be exploring the concept of spirituality as it relates to long-term weight loss in the upcoming FAR workshop. Please feel free to call me with any questions.