This article was written by Premier Neuro Therapy team member, Zach Michael.
Mental and spiritual health…woah. That’s not a topic I thought I’d never be writing about.
Growing up, the only time I ever heard the term mental, it was either related to “mental toughness” or being crazy.
As an athlete, “mental toughness” meant you needed to be able to stay focused, even keeled, and un-rattled, no matter how badly the game was going. In some respects, to me, it also meant shutting down your emotions and bottling things up.
If I was going to maintain an even keel, I wasn’t allowed to let myself get too high during the good time or too low during the bad times. The easiest way to do this was to keep myself from feeling anything emotionally.
The only time I ever heard the term “spiritual” or “spirituality” was in church. Spirituality was completely related to God. It meant following what the Bible says, which at the time just felt like a set of rules based on something people from a long time ago wrote down.
Add in that these had many different interpretations, and as a young person, spirituality felt confusing and constricting.
Whether it was a conscious decision or not, I think I decided to write off any need to focus on mental and spiritual health a long time ago.
I was a tough guy– I didn’t need to put any more effort into the area.
The problem is my interpretation of mental and spiritual health was way off.
Let’s start with spiritual health. It doesn’t necessarily have to have anything to do with the Bible or any religious teaching. For some, it does – and that’s ok, because spirituality is about what’s best for your soul (or conscience).
Notice I said your soul. Spiritual health is about allowing the best version of you to drive your actions. It’s about allowing the ‘good voice’ in your head make decisions, rather than the bad voice. It’s about pursuing the best version of you and being able to feel good about it.
It’s not about trying to follow someone else’s interpretation of what’s best for you and feeling bad about it when you don’t live up to those standards.
Which leads right back to mental health. Shutting your ‘feelings’ off is probably not exemplary mental health. In order to be healthy spiritually and mentally, you must be able to feel. You need to be able to feel gratitude for the things you have in life. You need to be able to identify when you’re feeling sad, angry, or stressed, and be able to talk to others about it.
Mental health is about being in tune with how you’re feeling, understanding what circumstances are making you feel that way, and knowing you can take action to change those circumstances if you choose.
As we noted in a previous blog, your mental and spiritual health plays a vital role in optimal performance of the nervous system.
Many of you reading this are likely doing AMAZING work with your physical health by working out consistently and eating healthy.
If you’re anything like me, you wouldn’t know where to start if asked to work on your mental and spiritual health.
Over the next few months, we’ll be sharing a few mental/spiritual “workouts” on this blog to get you on the right track – be sure to tune in.
Questions about the blog? Comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author
Evan Lewis is a nationwide leader in Neuro Therapy and founded the Baltimore area's only specialist Neuro Therapy facility.
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