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Spirit & Soul

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Spirit & Soul


A Whole Health approach to spirit and soul addresses forgiveness, coping, spiritual anchors, and different ways of spiritual practice.

Spirituality is your unique experience of how you relate to something greater than yourself and provides meaning to your life. It also involves how you connect to others.

Why is spirituality important?

Having a sense of purpose and meaning can provide strength in difficult times. In addition, research has shown that religion and spirituality may affect a range of health issues.

What is “Spiritual Health?”

Spiritual health means different things to different people. Here are some things people mention when asked to define it.

Connecting with something or someone bigger than yourself

Living based on what matters and gives life meaning

Seeking God or a Higher Power

Being the best person you can be. Examples might include:

  • Helping and serving others; being part of a community
  • Not giving up; meeting the challenges you face in life
  • Healing past traumas
  • Practicing forgiveness
  • Practicing gratitude (counting your blessings)
  • Finding meaning in suffering and bearing it with dignity

Your answers to this question may change over time as you check in with yourself every so often.

In many studies, religion and spirituality are linked to decreased illness and improved quality of life. There are many different ways to do this, and it may involve belonging to a religion, or it may not. It might mean focusing on service, or it may mean focusing on your own growth. It could be tied to a Higher Power, or it may not. Some people find spiritual health through 12-step programs. You decide.

What are some ways to focus on “Spirit and Soul” as part of my self-care?

The way to work through spiritual illnesses might involve starting (or continuing) some sort of spiritual practice. There are many options. You can try a few things out to decide what might work for you. A spiritual practice is something you do regularly that taps into what gives you as sense of meaning and purpose in your life. The following are some examples:

  • Be clear on what you value. This means asking yourself what matters most to you. Refer to the handout, “What Matters Most? Exploring Your Values.
  • Seek a spiritual and/or religious guide.
  • Set aside regular times—and perhaps places—for spiritual activities. Holidays can be important. Some people find meaning in praying, reading sacred writings, or going to a religious service. Others find meaning through a walk in nature or spending time with a loved one.
  • Gratitude practice. A gratitude practice can be as simple as looking back at the end of each day and listing 3 things you are thankful for.
  • Self-compassion practice. Learning to be kind to yourself and to share this compassion with others. Refer to the “Compassion Practice” handout.
  • Working the 12 Steps. Work on healing in a community with others facing similar struggles. This can include being part of a 12 Step Group.
  • Mindful awareness activities. These can support a spiritual practice. It may help to review the Mindful Awareness handouts for ideas.
  • Use a spiritual anchor. For example, carry something with you (a ring, a picture, a small object) that you can look at any time to remind yourself about what really matters to you.

The resources offered here will help you as you consider the role spirituality plays in your health and well-being.

Spirit and Soul Handouts

An Introduction to Spirit and Soul

See more spirit and soul handouts →