Wellness is made up of several different dimensions including physical, emotional, social and even spiritual wellness. Unfortunately, spiritual wellness is most commonly the first facet to get pushed to the back burner when people are trying to improve their overall health and well-being. This is ironic because without a connection with your spirituality, every other aspect of your wellness cannot and will not reach its full potential. Spiritual wellness is the backbone of wellness because it affects all of the other components of your well-being.
You see, spiritual wellness encompasses everything from our daily disciplines to finding our true purpose in life. It is the values and beliefs in which we live by. Implementing realistic standards and boundaries based on our beliefs and values is crucial because without them it is next to impossible to find your calling and reach your full potential. Moreover, spirituality is necessary in order to attain fulfillment.
Additionally, being spiritually healthy is the only way to live with genuine JOY. Some may think that is an overstatement on my part, but what they may not realize is the difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is simply a temporary emotion. Today, so many people have found themselves caught up in pursuing the things this world says will make them happy. A few examples of these falsely advertised ‘must-haves’ may be attaining a 4.0 GPA, accumulating a large amount of money, or having the ‘perfect’ body image. But what they don’t know is the things of this world are only temporary and can never bring long-term fulfillment or satisfaction. Meanwhile, joy is also an emotion or a feeling, but is one that we have been commanded to feel. Therefore, that command can only be granted by God himself because joy is the natural reaction to the ways God is working and moving in our lives. Just as we are commanded to be joyful, we are commanded to rejoice, fear, express gratitude and be tender-hearted. However, these things are all out of our control to produce because we are sinful human beings and have fallen short. Only through a relationship with God can we produce these emotions. It is written that through Christ and Christ alone we can do all things. As humans we were never meant to do everything in our own strength. As a matter of fact, we can’t. We become not only spiritually weak, but also physically and mentally weak when we try to do everything in our own strength. This is why stress affects every aspect of wellness.
Stress is one of the biggest struggles people are faced with today, especially college students. Some may say it is the result of living in our extremely fast-paced society with unrealistic expectations. Although that may be true, I believe there is more to it. Without values and beliefs and ultimately without having a relationship with our Creator, there is no ‘bigger picture’ or purpose in life. When you begin to live only in the moment instead of living as if this is only your temporary home, you tend to handle certain trials and temptations differently. Suddenly a misinterpreted glare or a deadline for a paper blow up into huge conflicts and result in a load of stress that is impossible for anyone to carry around.
I am writing this today to tell you that you no longer have to carry around the burden and weight of stress. I am not saying your life will be stress-free, but when you intentionally pursue a relationship with God, you will experience a sense of freedom like never before. As a result, your overall well-being and health will be greatly affected.
Spiritual wellness also involves community. It is crucial to surround yourself with a positive community of people or those who will help you stay true to the values and beliefs you have decided to live your life by. One of my mentors in high school always said, “Show me your friends, I’ll show you your future.” Realizing who is influencing you and how they are influencing you is an extremely important analysis to do, especially in college when there are always pressures to make poor decisions. Finding this community may be difficult to find and it might take some time, but it will be so worth the wait. For me, I found my community through a campus ministry called Chi Alpha. In the last two years, Chi Alpha has been a place for me to grow in my faith alongside other college students who are also intentionally pursuing the promises of Christ and not the things of this world. The opportunities Chi Alpha presented me and the friendships I made within this community are truly what made my transition from living at home to college so smooth. It is my hope that each student on our campus will realize their need for spiritual wellness and choose to seek out and get involved with a community in college that positively influences them.