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Defining spiritual wellness

“Every man lives in two realms: the internal and external. The internal is that realm of spiritual ends expressed in art, literature, morals, and religion. The external is that complex of devices, techniques, mechanisms, and instrumentalities by means of which we live.” Martin Luther King, Jr., American Christian minister and civil rights activist.

Spiritual wellness is an essential element to successful living. Spiritual wellness provides systems to follow that include faith, beliefs, values, morals, principles, and ethics. Spiritual wellness allows people to live their lives consistent with their views and morals while finding purpose and meaning in their lives.

The spiritual dimension of wellness is often tricky to explain; however, understanding the personalized nature of this dimension is a critical concept to a successful wellness program and to cultivate ultimate happiness. The International Council on Active Aging defines spiritual wellness as:

“Living with meaning and purpose in life, guided by personal values, is key to feelings of well-being and connection to the larger world. Group and individual faith-based activities, personal meditation, mindful exercise (yoga, tai chi), and experiencing nature can create the opportunity for spiritual growth.”

People who are healthy spiritually have similar qualities such as:

  • having hope
  • demonstrating a positive outlook
  • practicing forgiveness and self-acceptance
  • developing clear values
  • living with meaning and purpose
  • practicing meditation, prayer, or worship



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