What is Spiritual Self-Care and How Do I Practice It?

Spiritual self-care is one of the three primary foundations of self-care. We often think of physical and even emotional, and forget about spiritual in this realm. All three are equally important to thrive in this life. If one is off, we falter. Spiritual self-care is the understanding and connection to who we really are—without the influence of the world.

Our spiritual practice may be religious or not. In essence our spiritual quest is being in tune with our higher selves and how we relate to the people and the world around us. It’s connecting with our higher power and examining the true essence of who we are at our core.

Spiritual self-care takes time and self focus. It requires us to slow down and look inward. To explore ourselves and all we know to be true. To connect with who we truly are and develop those qualities. It goes beyond the emotional to our very essence.


If you were to strip away the influences of the world and learned behaviors, who are you really? At your core, are you kind and gracious and loving and thoughtful, for example? Where do you fit in the big scheme of things?


From spiritual practice flows gratitude, purpose, love, a sense of belonging and knowing.

This takes time and self focus. It requires you to slow down and look inward. To explore yourself and all you know to be true. To connect with who you truly are and develop those qualities.


Here are 4 Ways to Develop Your Spirituality:


1. Meditation & Prayer

Meditation is essentially the quieting of the mind. It is a time to sit with ourselves with the goal of quieting the thoughts of the world running through our minds so that we can connect to our inner stillness.


We all have a stillness at our core that transcends what we know in active life. In this place of stillness and quiet we start to connect to who we really are at our core. To connect with our higher power. We begin to experience who we are and could be without the influences of the world.


There are numerous scientifically proven health benefits to meditation such as reducing stress, anger, anxiety, lowering depression, blood pressure and many more. Consider these just the icing on the cake. Seek this time in mediation for the true knowing of you. It is through this practice you develop your calm, gratitude, love and compassion.


It is through this practice you know your true inner (and beyond) nature. You may read about it and know the qualities to be true and here in meditation you feel them and experience them. They become rooted in you for your every day.

Mediation can or can not be a religious practice. It is what you bring to it. How you choose to practice it. In the Christian faith, we are told to meditate and we see that Jesus meditated. We see mediation in some form throughout most all faiths. And, those without a particular religious conviction can also benefit from mediation.


When incorporating your faith into mediation it can become a sort of prayer time. A pure form of prayer where our focus is on gratitude, discovery and listening. So many times we can get caught in using prayer as a time for asking for or begging for things or worldly outcomes. This goes beyond that practice.

Great news, a mediation practice can be as short as a breath in and out.

 

RELATED: The Science: Why Meditate and How to Start?

 

2. Grow

When practicing spiritual self-care the goal is to grow spiritually. And growth requires feeding. In this case knowledge, contemplation and implementation. To learn and grow in any area we need information. We need understanding. And, then we must implement what we have learned.


This can come in many forms. Seek spiritual books for reference and insight. Give time to this practice each day to impart the teachings. Then, meditate on the words you have read. Do they resonate and feel right at your core? Can you feel those teachings and qualities when you find stillness inside?


We have resources right at our finger tips to teach us and to remind us of who we really are at a core level. We simply have to reach out and read them. To take the information in and contemplate it. This process can help to strip away lies you have come to repeat internally that hold you back. Lies like, I am not good enough, or I am too old for that, or I can’t do that, or I am bad, or I am ____. Fill in the blank.


If we know at our core who we are—if we have felt it inside—and we take quiet time to observe and become aware of what we tell ourselves each day, we are more able to spot the lies and wipe them away. We are able to reset our thoughts and ideals of ourselves and our potential in this life to who we really are. This is how we begin to grow.


3. Nature

Spending time in nature has profound, science-backed benefits. Exposure to forests and trees, nature in general has been shown to boost the immune system, improve mood, reduce stress, increase energy levels and improve sleep (all things we need for a healthy immune system). (1,2)


Spending time in nature has also long been associated with connecting with our higher selves. There’s just something about being in nature and surrounded by its marvels that connects us to a knowing of something bigger than us is at work.


It is also a time where we can simply let go of the day as we are engaged with all five of our senses. We are truly in the now. That is, of course, as long as we allow ourselves to leave our work or thoughts of the day at home.

There’s a reason so many people “go for a walk to clear their head.” Let it all melt away and simply immerse your senses and feel the peace fill and invigorate you.

 

RELATED: 10 Ways to Boost Immunity

 

4. Community

We are spiritual and communal beings. We are made to connect and interact with others. In the sense of spiritual self-care it is beneficial to surround your self with a group of like minded people. People who are also looking to connect to the best of themselves.


This could be in a church or simply a gathering of like minded friends aimed at growth. A place where you are allowed to express your thoughts and explore with others freely. Where you gain inspiration and growth together. It should feel good and peaceful and nurturing.


Studies of the longest lived peoples have shown connection to others to be a strong factor in their lives. And, remember, we are influenced the most by those we surround ourselves with the most. Give much thought to the circle of people you choose—are they going in the same direction of spiritual self-care and growth you are wanting to take?

 

Knowing at your core who you are and what you are really capable of can change the trajectory of your life. It can help to balance your emotions and the joy you experience every day. You will know peace, contentment, gratitude, love right inside of you. You will learn and experience it is all found inside you—not outside. Not in anything of the world.