Spiritual health and well-being are important components of overall health. You cannot achieve truly optimal health through physical health alone.
Spiritual practices need not have anything to do with religion - any activity that makes you feel more alive, more connected to others and to nature,
less isolated, and more comfortable with change can be beneficial to your mental and physical health. It can also help you to accept the challenges
that come with aging, and help you to age gracefully.
Dr. Weil's book, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health, provides a list of eight elements to help enhance spiritual health and well-being. These are lifestyle
practices that everyone can incorporate in order to age gracefully and fully enjoy the benefits of life. Each day, try to do the following as a way to
connect with the elements around and within you.
- Pay attention to your breath. Breath is our link to the source of universal energy that circulates through us and connects us. Minding your breath is a way of expanding consciousness beyond the ego and of experiencing transcendence. Read and try the "4-7-8 Breath" available in the Stress section.
- Connect with nature. Try walking or sitting in a natural setting, whether a city park, a nature preserve or your garden. Allow yourself to slow down, drop your usual routines, and absorb the influence of nature.
- Create a list of people in your life who make you feel more alive, happy, and optimistic. Make an effort to spend more time with them. Our spiritual selves resonate with others, and that connection is healing.
- Bring flowers into your home and enjoy their beauty.
- Listen to music that you find inspirational and uplifting.
- Admire a work of art that raises your spirits - a painting, sculpture, or work of architecture.
- Reach out and try to resume connection with someone from whom you are estranged; practice forgiveness.
- Do some sort of service work. Give some of your time and energy to help others. The possibilities are endless, and should not be limited to just writing a check to charity.