Can I Still Get Better if...

Today, I’m excited to share a question that was emailed to me by a member of the Soul Manifesto community. They ask, “Shouldn’t mental health and spiritual health be considered the same since they both exist inside our brain? And what if I’m not into all that spiritual stuff? Can I still get better?

Now, this person who emailed me—they’re frustrated. They’ve been seeking out all manners of treatment for her anxiety and depression. They talk to therapists, they’ve tried different medications, and they were angry on the day that they sent me an email because they just came from a first session with a new therapist—this person gave me permission to share this with you, by the way, and if you have anything you need to ask me, please know that it will be 100% between us unless you indicate that you’d like me to consider your question as a topic for one of my episodes, okay? 

Either way, I will get back to you when you reach out. Back to the story on Mental and Spiritual Health: What’s the Difference? This new therapist asked my viewer what kind of condition they thought their spiritual health was in. I’d say it’s a fair question, but I’m not them and they didn’t know how to respond to the question.

This wonderful person found the question irritating because obviously there is a struggle with mental health issues, or else they wouldn’t be there. And they asked me literally, “Mental and Spiritual Health: What’s the Difference? I think she actually said What’s the Big Diff? Am I supposed to pray my anxiety away? What if praying, and religion and all of that stuff isn’t my thing?” And at one point this person apologized to me, she didn’t have anything to apologize for, but she said, “I’m sorry if I’m offending you. I know you deeply believe in all this spirituality stuff, and well, that’s why I am asking you. I just feel like this isn’t the first time someone has suggested that I need to believe in some sort of spirituality if I want to get better, and that doesn’t seem right to me. As a spiritual advisor, do you think that’s true?”

Wow. Great question and this person is not alone. Let me just say this plainly, for anyone who is feeling this way: You deserve to feel better, to feel free, to feel safe, to feel like you have inner peace—no matter what you do or don’t believe in. And yes, you can achieve mental health with any spiritual affiliation or with none.

My Friends, it may surprise you to know that scientists and researchers have been asking themselves the same thing for the last 50 years! And the reason this question is so urgent is that the answer can lead to dramatic improvements in our overall health.

In an extensive research study done by interviewing 22 experts in the field of spiritual health, one of the things that everyone agreed on was that spiritual health and spirituality aren’t the same things. Isn’t that fascinating!

First of all, spirituality is having a belief in a power greater than yourself, and having a practice that connects you with that higher power. That’s it. It doesn’t have to be a higher power that you learn about from a religion. It can be almost anything that you want. It just can’t be you, or another person. But it can be anything that gives you a sense of peace, and protection. You can even make it up.

The clients I’ve had over the years with deeply-rooted connections to their religious beliefs struggled and got better in the same ways as my clients who are more comfortable with concepts such as nature, the universe, guiding angels, or music as their higher power.

One thing people don’t say enough about Spirituality is that our relationship with Spirit, or the Universe, or our angels, or the ocean, or whatever—this relationship with a higher power is personal, and unique to us. We are free to define it on the terms that work for us. There is no one correct way to do it.

In the full episode, I am going to highlight 3 Healing Principles of Spiritual Health that can bolster your mental health, so you can see where spiritual health can play a part in helping you heal. For the blog post, I’m going to give you the first one, so be sure to tune in to hear the rest!

The first one I want to discuss is a big one: Acceptance

Okay, so acceptance doesn’t mean you lower expectations and just accept things the way they are. Let’s let that thought just flit on by like a thin cloud in our thoughtscape. Acceptance as a spiritual principle means you release yourself from the emotional pain of wanting to change things that are out of your control, such as other people’s behavior, or the past, or things that just happen that you didn’t have any control over.

In the Buddhist tradition, it is said that most suffering is caused by a lack of acceptance, but you don’t need to practice Buddhism to practice acceptance. The reason why this is a spiritual principle is that practicing acceptance doesn’t come naturally to most people who are struggling, and if you could simply accept the past, and be free as a bird— you’d have done it already, right? So to help us learn this new skill, many people find it more possible to make progress when they use tools like meditation, yoga, connecting with nature, or being of service through community outreach to help them stay strong and centered while they are learning to practice acceptance in their lives.

The Next Healing Principle is: Accepting Our Purpose

I hope you tune in to watch the full episode to hear more about that, and also learn the third healing principle as well. 

Thank you so much for joining me, and thank you to the person who sent me this important question, and gave me permission to share it with others. You never know who might have needed to hear your perspective. Remember, whether you have a spiritual belief system, or not—life is meaningful, you have a purpose, and there are always things you can do to draw yourself closer to your center and help you to heal your mind from the stressors of this world. Thank you. I love you. Namaste. 

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