Spiritual wellness is described differently by each person, but the concept generally relates to one’s sense of purpose, life’s meaning, our relationship to other people and a self-awareness to these things.
Many define spirituality according to religious values while others find expression of spirituality through personal relationships or through nature. In all cases the AAEP agrees and believes that living a professional life full of meaning, purpose and rich relationships with others is both important and intrinsic to being an equine veterinarian.
Spiritual wellness provides us with systems of faith, beliefs, values, ethics, principles and morals. A healthy spiritual practice may include examples of volunteerism, social contributions, belonging to a group, fellowship, optimism, forgiveness and expressions of compassion. Spiritual wellness allows one to live a life consistent with his or her’s own belief and moral systems, while we establish our feeling of purpose and find meaning in life events.
Five Habits for Spiritual Wellness
- Meditation has been practiced by leaders of all major religions and non-religious people alike. Meditation is the process of being fully here, with all concentration focused on the now. By living in the present and letting go of the past and not worrying about the future, we can achieve the inner peace that we strive- mitigating worry, alleviating stress, finding forgiveness and achieving clarity in our purpose. The Headspace App provides a simple non-religious guide to meditation that many have found invaluable. It is available at the App Store or Google Play.
- Yoga is a physical technique that can help improve your spiritual wellness by reducing emotional and physical strains on your mind and body. Yoga is taught at all levels and can help lower stress, boost the immune system and lower blood pressure as well as reduce anxiety, depression, fatigue, and insomnia. Search for a local yoga studio near you (Google Search), or download apps such as Yoga Studio.
- Travel can allow us to temporarily leave our day-to-day obligations in order to obtain perspective, contemplate deeper questions, reflect on our experiences and obtain rest. National Geographic Expeditions offers some of the most interesting travel information in the world, though a trip to your local state park can sometimes even be more enlightening (Google search 'my local state parks')!
- Volunteering can provide for a healthy spiritual life. Like bathing, serving others through volunteering is best repeated frequently. Search for a local rescue mission or food pantry, or explore initiatives which support the horse such as World Vets, Equitarian Initiative, Veterinarians Without Borders, AAEP Foundation projects, Texas Equitarian Project, and FullBucket's "Get Plugged In."
- Mentoring - whether as a professional mentor or personal mentor - is a beneficial spirit builder as you are helping others achieve their dreams. Community mentoring programs such as Big Brothers/Big Brothers or mentoring opportunities through professional organizations or colleges of veterinary medicine can provide meaningful connections.