A meditation bell on a mantle with small lit candles.

MY SCORECARD: Your Spiritual Practice

Spiritual practice is an important method for improving and maintaining mental and physical health. But what is spiritual practice? How can it help me? How do I implement it into my life?

This topic is the second blog in our series about MY SCORECARD, an acronym we use to explain the domains of wellness that we focus on in the NCHPAD MENTOR program. The second letter in MY SCORECARD, Y, stands for “Your spiritual practice.”

What do we mean by “Your spiritual practice?”

First, it’s important to know that for the MENTOR program, “Your spiritual practice” is not associated with religion. It can be part of the spiritual tradition or religion that you practice in life, but it does not have to.

In MENTOR, “Your spiritual practice” means maintaining a strong relationship with yourself and others and realizing the broader purpose of life in relation to the ‘source’ of all forms of life. 

Spirituality has more to do with the connection of all things and a deep understanding of our connection to each other.

While there isn’t one specific definition for spiritual wellness, there are terms that are associated with this practice: peace, harmony, compassion, connection to others, purpose and transcendence (something beyond this universe). 

The National Wellness Institute defines spiritual well-being as “the search for meaning and purpose in human existence, leading one to strive for a state of harmony with oneself and others while working to balance inner needs with the rest of the world.”

The essential foundation of spirituality is an understanding that everything connects to the whole. 

When the life of others becomes more important than your own life, and your level of faith to an outside source gives you reason for hope and optimism, you are gaining a sense of spirituality that connects you to the rest of the world.

How does Spirituality benefit me?

In a 2016 study, Australian researchers conducted a review of 28 studies focusing on spirituality among individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). This comprehensive review explored how spirituality contributes to the adaptation and resilience of individuals and their family members following SCI.

This review highlighted three key findings that showed the significance of spirituality: 

  1. Higher levels of spirituality were associated with improved quality of life, life satisfaction, mental health and resilience for individuals with SCI. 
  2. Families and people with SCI would like health professionals to use spirituality in their practice. 
  3. The researchers concluded that there is great potential for conducting more research in spirituality to determine how and why this important practice leads to better health outcomes. 

Following a recent injury or new diagnosis, engaging in spiritual practice can offer solace to individuals seeking to regain a sense of balance in their lives. For some, the path to recovery may involve spirituality, offering a profound insight into their inner purpose and ultimately fostering a heightened sense of peace and serenity.

How to apply “Your Spiritual Practice” in your daily life

From NCHPAD Director Dr. James Rimmer

Upon awakening every morning, seek out a place in your home where there is stillness and silence and meditate for about 5-15 minutes (start with one minute if five minutes is too long). Make this your daily practice. 

  1. While meditating, connect with whomever or whatever is your spiritual source, that is, your understanding of how you arrived into this world. 
  2. During your meditation practice, focus on compassionate thoughts for a) family, b) friends and c) those you don’t know who are suffering anywhere in the world.
  3. Use your meditation practice to reach a state of consciousness where you understand how to remove fears, doubts, anxieties and other emotions. Replace them with peace (acceptance of this moment only – no thoughts about the past or future).
  4. Set up your daily mantra (a saying that keeps you grounded in your spiritual practice) to use whenever you fall back into an emotion (fear, anger, jealousy, etc.). For me, it is – “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it yourself.” Eckhart Tolle 
  5. Remember that the focus of spiritual practice in MENTOR is that ‘outflow equals inflow.’ The more you give to others, the more you receive in return. Positive relationships with whomever you meet or with family IS the central aspect of a strong spiritual practice.