Are You Exercising, Spiritually?

Carly BensonPractice, Spirituality

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In today’s world, we constantly hear about the importance of eating clean.  What you put into you body really does dictate your health and the longevity of your life.  We read about the importance of nourishing our bodies with good foods like fruits and vegetables. Or how we should cut sugar from our diet.

Added to that often comes the topic of how we need to exercise, build muscle and sweat in order to release stress, toxins and fat cells from our body.  That we need sleep and rest so the body can repair itself, which also plays a leading role in good health.

All of these points are extremely valid and, if practiced, they do work.  I’m sure most of us can understand these concepts and have probably even tried to put them into use at some point in our lives.

For any of you that have tried to diet or lose weight, you know how hard it can be. Not only does it mean that you need to watch what you eat, it also requires a strong mentality.  When you catch yourself craving junk or fast food, you need to be able to practice real discipline.  You have to mindfully plan out your meals and your day around the types of food you know you should be eating.  You have to make time for your workouts and to get to bed at a reasonable hour.

Just as we need dedication to be successful with our physical health, we also need to a similar commitment for our spiritual health. What has been so instrumental for me in my transformation from party girl to where I am today, are simple values I have learned over time by opening my heart to the creator of all and reading His words.

I understand that some of you are not as far along or familiar with these views, but I hope that you will read what comes next with an open mind and apply it to your life in the ways that feel most comfortable and appropriate for you.

God tells us to nourish our minds with his word. Those are the fruits and veggies.  He tells us to remove sin from our lives as best as we possibly can. Just as sugar can be a deadly part of our bodies, sin can be a deadly part of our lives and should be minimized.  God tells us to repent of our sins and to rid our lives of things like anxiety, anger and worry. Those are the fat cells that we need to try to actively shed on a regular basis.

He also tells us to rest and to meditate on his word. Just as rest is important to our body’s repair in the physical sense, it is even more important for our spiritual growth as it is in times of rest and stillness that God is able to speak the loudest to us.

Spiritual nourishment and living a cleaner life require the same type of discipline that you need in order to keep a healthy diet.  You have to mindfully begin to fill up on things that are good and wholesome. You have to set aside time to pursue positivity.  Not to mention, it is hard work to actively participate in your thoughts and to be able to catch yourself when you are “craving” sinful desires or getting hung up in negativity.

Certainly, if you are a devout Christian, you can easily see the parallels with what I’ve just mentioned and even if you are not, I’m hopeful that you can see the similarities in how we live our lives for both physical health as well as spiritual health.

It’s great to be physically healthy, look good and have a nice physique.  But none of that means anything without also having your spiritual health in check.  You can have all the nicest things in the world and look good, cosmetically, but if your heart and mind are not right, you’ll never be able to truly enjoy any of it.

Our bodies are sacred temples. They were a gift to us from before we were even born.  How we take care of ourselves and what we put into our bodies should be treated with ultimate respect. Your body also includes your mind. What you feed into your brain everyday has more of an impact on you than you realize.

If practicing these kinds of Christian values and reading the Bible sounds a tad too heavy for you right now, that’s ok. I once wore those shoes. I understand it can seem “out there.”  If you’re not comfortable with this, I recommend starting with these simple suggestions:

  • Read books that are positive and offer an optimistic perspectives on life.
  • Turn off the news and all the media hype and tune into something to expand your knowledge base instead.
  • Start being conscious of your thoughts. Are you constantly worried or negative towards life?
  • See if you can begin to catch when you feel angry or anxious.
  • Be mindful of how you react to situations and people.
  • Ask yourself: Are you filling up on gossip or drama?
  • Pay attention to what you have in your immediate surroundings as people and their attitudes generally affect how you behave.
  • Take notice of if and when you allow yourself quiet time to relax.

Just like when you start a new regimen to eat right and exercise, it does take time to start seeing results. They are not immediate. However, the more consistent and dedicated you are to your diet and workouts, the more you start to notice your body changing. The same is true for living clean. It takes practice and consistency before you begin to witness the impact it has on your life.

The more you can get to a place where you are consciously or even unconsciously focusing on bettering these areas of your life, the easier they become and over time you start to notice the abundant blessings surrounding you.

Spiritual health is the fundamental backbone to ultimate happiness and provides the foundation we all need to navigate through life without getting hung up on the things of this world that can so easily weigh us down. When you are exercising yourself spiritually, you get stronger and thus are able to lift the heavier parts of life with much more ease.

As we are slowly becoming a society that is aligned with eating clean and being physically healthy, I encourage us all to try to live cleaner as well.  Give some thought to this and ask yourself: What spiritual food you are filling up on?  What sinful fat do you need to lose in order to gain spiritual muscle? Honestly, are you exercising, spiritually?

Photo Credit: John Sifferman