Tag Archives: Beliefs

The Importance of Spiritual Wellness for People from all Faith Backgrounds

People use the phrase “mind, body, spirit” all the time. We acknowledge that an equilibrium of these three dimensions is foundational for our thriving and wellness, and yet we give very little attention to the spirit. Our energies are poured into exercise, nutrition, mindfulness, meditation, and even therapy, but tending to the spirit feels unfamiliar and intangible, especially in the many hours spent living beyond the walls of religious institutions.

The idea that spiritual wellness is tied exclusively to places and rituals of formal religious groups is a notion that keeps many people afraid of diving deeper into spiritual exploration. There are an overwhelming number of people who have experienced some form of church abuse or disillusionment, and who cast aside their spiritual needs thinking that if they are unchurched or unsure of their religious affiliations that spiritual wellness is something unattainable or irrelevant, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.



I’m one of the lucky ones. I was raised in a healthy religious community by parents who gave me a stable foundation but also allowed me the freedom to think critically and explore my own beliefs. For this reason, I’ve felt comfortable contemplating what spiritual wellness means to me within the context of my own faith while also considering its importance and application to people from diverse backgrounds.

These are some questions I’ve sat with over the years and that have guided my journey for clearer answers:

Is spiritual wellness the same for people from different spiritual belief systems?

Does spiritual wellness require identifying with a specific religion or is a person still able to pursue it if they’re temporarily (or permanently) disaffiliated from a formal place of worship?

Is spiritual wellness attained by adhering to specific daily practices or is there flexibility to engage in different aspects of spirituality depending on the circumstances?

Is spiritual wellness best achieved alone or in community? In quiet meditation or group worship and prayer?

How and why is spiritual wellness relevant for atheists and non-religious individuals?

The answers I have found are not elitist or exclusive. They come from many years spent studying wellness and striving to better understand and educate others about it. In the simple diagram below you will see the various main components of spiritual wellness including morals & values, prayer, community, compassion, beliefs, meditation, private contemplation, and service.



Each of these eight aspects of spiritual wellness are important for a person’s well-being; however, each person will find that they gravitate towards certain expressions of spiritual wellness more than others. For example, an atheist might be more drawn to compassion or service over prayer. A Christian might pour more energy into prayer and community than meditation. A Buddhist might practice meditation and private contemplation more than community. A Hindu devoted to practicing Ashtanga is potentially and uniquely engaged in all of the components of spiritual wellness, or is at least encouraged to pursue them.

It’s okay to spend more energy in one area of spiritual wellness over another, and what we focus on or need is likely to ebb and flow throughout life. The important thing is to recognize that ALL of these eight components are fulfilling to humans and aid us in spiritual meaning and growth. Also, despite some beliefs to the contrary, each of these components is applicable across religious and non-religious belief systems.



There are some Christians who believe meditation is sinful because it allows the mind to wander and be tempted by “the evil one,” but meditation can be practiced in a Christ-honoring way, focusing the mind on the Cosmic Christ’s love, peace and light within. Similarly, atheists might feel that prayer is ridiculous because they don’t believe in a higher power, but prayer can come in the form of communicating with creation (“Dear Universe”), privately and intentionally confessing one’s overwhelm or needs, or saying a prayer directed towards expressing love and learning from one’s ancestors or hope and healing for future generations. In this way, you begin to see how each component is important even if a bit unfamiliar or uncomfortable.

I want you to consider how the components of spiritual wellness work within your own life. I invite you to ponder which areas could use more growth, which ones intimidate you (and why), and which ones feel most organic for how you desire to live with purpose.

Lastly, I encourage you to lean gently in the direction of what puts you out of your comfort zone. I believe wholeheartedly this is where we are invited to grow the most in unexpected and beautiful ways that foster greater spiritual wellness and mind/body/spirit health.



I hope that putting spiritual wellness into a tangible framework and terms helps you focus on it in more meaningful and holistic ways. All of our souls are thirsty, but they can be quenched and live life to the fullest.

The world is in dire need of more people who recognize and recommit to living a spiritual life. Will you be one of them?

Yours in health and wellness,





Find Your Wellness Brand

Pop Princess Katy Perry’s song “Roar” was nominated at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards for the 2013 Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. The song is about self-empowerment. We’re not here to talk about whether or not you’re familiar with the song. We’re here to focus on one of the song’s verses: “I stood for nothing so I fell for everything.” Most women can identify with feeling this way at some point in life. We have all experienced times when we find ourselves falling for anything and everything. The chaos of our indecisiveness can become so intense that we reevaluate our personal beliefs.

Our belief systems have become synonymous with our “personal brand,” aka how we project ourselves to the outside world. We typically think of our careers, clothes, hairstyle and social media presence as components of our personal brand; however, wellness is a huge, oftentimes forgotten, piece of the equation. When it comes to wellness, what do you stand for? What do your food choices, exercise patterns, self-confidence, and health say about you? Are they consistent with the “you” you want to be?

When I started working full-time in the fitness industry I found myself trying to take on one too many personas. I was struggling to figure out what I stood for and to find my own brand. I was determined to be a hard core boot camp instructor, an intelligent personal trainer, a peaceful yogi, a thoughtful Pilates instructor, a powerful cyclist and an avid marathon runner all at once. At the same time, I was overindulging on the weekends, enjoying lavish parties and DC’s fine dining. I barely got any sleep during this time because I was living out the cliché phrase “burning the candle at both ends” and as a result, my health was suffering.

After trial and error, I found balance. I decided that I stand for and believe in moderation. I will always love diverse exercise formats and I will always love food (between the two sides of my family there are bread and wine makers!) but taking any of these things to the extreme is moving away from the path of wellness and balance.

The National Wellness Institute defines wellness as “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.” This means that wellness is not a static state, it is an evolving one.WW Yoga Pic

As we grow and age we have greater potential to evolve into the best versions of ourselves. We can establish a meaningful existence and anchor our personal brand. Scared of aging? Don’t be! Time and experience help us become aware of the positive and negative consequences that different decisions have on our wellness. Wellness is a journey.

A journey takes place daily, one small decision after the next. It’s not a quick sprint or a linear path. Often we become more in tune with what we believe, and how we want to act, after moments of tension and regression. These moments act like slingshots, pulling us backwards to the point of maximum tension before we are catapulted forward a greater distance than we would have achieved without such strain.

My days of overindulgence didn’t actually pull me backwards. They catapulted me into a love of helping people live in moderation and balance. The decision to change was not instantaneous. The progress was not always linear. But I evolved and so can you.

Consider another example of non-linear change: Melanie tries to lose weight via crash diets and daily exercise but finds that every time she reaches her goal weight she rebounds and quickly regains every single pound. Fed up and frustrated, she decides to follow the advice of a respected nutritionist who counsels her to make modest adjustments to the portions of her meals instead of drastically cutting calories or surviving on detox, juice-only diets. The nutritionist also advises Melanie to work out four times a week instead of seven. Melanie initially gains a few pounds following this system; however, at the end of six months she has lost more than her goal weight! She feels that she is in a healthy routine that is easy to maintain.

Melanie’s weight loss proves that change does not happen overnight. It also does not come without mistakes and resistance; however, over time, positive decisions add up. They become so great in number that they start to define you. They begin to anchor you in a more harmonious existence and your brand becomes a reflection of your beliefs.

One simple decision. That’s how we change. Go try it out. Try today!

Yours in health and wellness,