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Support spiritual wellness through creative outdoor design by Jack Carman, FASLA, and Nancy Carman, MA, CMC

Wellness—it’s a concept we are instinctively drawn to. As health and wellness professionals, to instill wellness in a community or facility, we need to break it down into various components to help us understand its role in creating positive quality of life. Of all the dimensions of wellness—physical, social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and vocational—spiritual wellness may be the most personal and possibly the hardest for us to quantify. Yet spiritual wellness is also the dimension that adds depth and meaning to the other five.

What does spiritual wellness mean? In 1975, the term “spiritual well-being” was defined by the National Interfaith Coalition on Aging, a National Council on Aging special interest group, as “the affirmation of life in relationship with God, self, community and environment that nurtures and celebrates wholeness.”1 The spiritual aspect of wellness, as defined by the National Wellness Institute, “recognizes our search for meaning and purpose in human existence.”2 It is a lifelong journey in which we seek ways that demonstrate “values through behaviors, such as meditation, prayer and contemplation of life/death, as well as appreciating beauty, nature and life.”3

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