Reflections & Insight

Spirituality, Wellness, and IBD

In other articles, I talk about the “mind-body” connection; how our emotional well-being certainly has an impact on our physical well-being. But what about our spiritual well being? Many people suggest that a “mind-body-spirit” connection does exist. Without getting too technical, many recent research studies support the notion that spiritual perceptions, activities, and practices may indeed, lead to modulations of the physiology, biochemistry, and emotional response.

As a psychotherapist within a health and wellness paradigm, I not only acknowledge spirituality as highly personal but I also view ones spiritual well-being as developmental. I respect that each person defines their spirituality in his or her own personal way. Certainly, this definition changes over time so that each person continually reestablishes a new understanding and connection to their spiritual health, perhaps quite differently at various periods in their life as well as during various periods during the course of their health challenges.

What I’ve been discovering is that when people come to see me, they want to discuss the role of spirituality in their lives. As I assess their degree of spiritual awareness in their health maintenance, I’ve discovered that several themes begin to emerge. These themes include a feeling of connectedness, faith, and the ability to make meaning out of their lives. People who hold close, loving relationships with friends and family seem to live healthier lives. As well, those individuals who possess faith, the ability to make meaning out of the unexplainable, allow them to act with feelings of hopefulness. And for those individuals that discover meaning in their life, feelings of fulfillment and purpose guide them in living healthier lives in body, mind, and spirit.

Although most people don’t need any science grasping the concept of their mind-body-spirit health, for those of us that do, I highly recommend reading Candace Perts, The Molecules of Emotion. There is clearly a growing body of evidence-based research supporting this integration of spirit into the mind-body connection.

In closing, I recommend to laugh often, love fully, and stay close to dear friends and family. Above all, take good care of yourself. Continue to strive for less stress by growing your arsenal of coping skills and relaxation techniques. These ways of being will increase your resilience when you’ll need it most.

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