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Invest in your health: Nurturing your spirit!

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This month, we want to know how you are preparing for the future by investing in your health! Tell us (or show us) what you do to invest in your body, your mind, and your relationships for your chance to win a $150 grand prize! To inspire you, we've featured regular healthy aging content on the Northern Health Matters blog all month long!

To finish off our month-long look at investing in healthy aging, I wanted to look at the idea of spiritual health and aging with a sense of dignity, meaning, and purpose.

Having a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives is an important part of healthy aging. It doesn't matter which spiritual path you walk on, it matters that you find a path. Nurturing your spirit can take many forms.

For some, religion provides a sense of purpose and connection. For others, it's a connection to our culture, family, friends and community. Sometimes, spirituality takes the form of being in touch with the world around us.

Many First Nations communities have a holistic view of spirituality and its connection to health. This holistic view includes a "healthy mind, body, and spirit". An integral part of First Nations approaches to health and healing are through the inter-relationships of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of a being.

According to the BC Elders' Guide:

Nurturing spirit is the aspect in your life that gives you a sense of purpose and meaning - it is about feeling good and connected. Nurturing your spirit supports your mental, emotional and physical aspects of your being. Even though your spirit is fundamental in your wellness, it can be overlooked or not supported as part of our health.

How can we ensure that we don't overlook this part of our health? In my experience, practices like tai-chi and meditation can support nurturing your spirit. For some other ideas on how to nurture your spirit, check out the First Nations Health Authority Wellness Diary.

For me, when I think of spirituality and health, religion has ensured that I will not feel alone and has been a source of well-being for me. As an immigrant, I joined a local church when I first arrived in Canada. I felt the love from the community through the Sunday services and small group gathering activities. I felt that spirituality and spiritual growth kept me going and provided me with a sense of comfort and of being accepted. By continuing to practice, I feel spiritual growth and feel myself continuing to flourish in it.

The impacts of nurturing your spirit have been shown to impact health in a few ways, including:

  • lowering blood pressure
  • reducing anxiety

Life can be very hectic for many of us. Some kind of spirituality can help us to have peace and to feel supported. Spiritual practice can be an antidote to fear. Whatever the spirituality that takes you to that stillness - however you nurture your spirit - know that you are not alone!