When trying to achieve happiness, health, and well-being, humans tend to focus on only one area of their lives, thinking that the rest will fall into place. The issue is that you must look at your entire self to gain the clarity necessary to change your life.
The best way to do this is through the Wholebeing Approach and applying the SPIRE model to our own lives, identifying which areas need extra attention and the changes we need to make to better ourselves.
What is the Wholebeing Approach?
The Wholebeing Approach that I teach focuses on the five macro levels of your life: Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Relational, and Emotional, or SPIRE. As explained by the Whole Being Institute, SPIRE is:
Spiritual – Leading a meaningful life and mindfully savoring the present.
Physical – Caring for the body and tapping into the mind/body connection.
Intellectual – Engaging in deep learning and opening to experience.
Relational – Nurturing a constructive relationship with self and others.
Emotional- Feeling all emotions, reaching towards resilience and positivity.
This approach encourages you to look at each level of your life and to get to know your whole being. In doing so, you gain clarity to make a change and the tools to act on what you have learned to accomplish your biggest dreams.
Today we will be focusing on the S in SPIRE, learning how to apply spirituality to our lives to benefit our unique needs and personal values.
What is the S in SPIRE?
S stands for spiritual. This does not necessarily mean religion or faith when used in the context of SPIRE. Rather, spirituality is interpreted broadly, referring to the meaning and purpose we feel that makes our lives worth living.
Using the Whole Being Institutes approach to SPIRE, Astrid Baumgardner explains that spirituality can be broken down into two components:
1) Having a sense of purpose to which you commit.
A sense of purpose can come from various areas within your life. It could be your job, volunteering, or caring for family and friends. Take a moment and think about aspects of life that give you feelings of meaning and fulfillment.
2) Being mindful and experiencing life in the present moment.
This is when you make yourself aware of what you are doing and feeling in the present moment. It is taking that extra moment to appreciate the little things in life, especially those we often overlook.
The Spiritual Impact of SPIRE
Spirituality comes in various forms, affecting all areas of our lives, including our personal and professional lives. Many people do not believe themselves to be spiritual in nature, but you don’t have to be a spiritual person to be affected by the S in SPIRE. All it takes is looking outside ourselves to appreciate the things around us, or as the famous saying goes, “stop and smell the roses.”
Spirituality affects our personal lives in ways many people have not fully realized. It mainly affects our personal life by aligning our core values with our sense of purpose and what brings us the most joy in life. When you develop an awareness of what causes these feelings, you can balance life’s challenges and difficulties by doing the things that make you feel good. When we connect with our sense of purpose, we bring happiness back into our lives.
One thing remains true regardless of your position within a company or an organization. According to Baumgardner that one thing is, “happy individuals experience success in their relationships, careers, income, and work performance, while also enjoying greater physical, mental, and emotional health.” By cultivating spiritual well-being in our personal and professional life, we can achieve a greater sense of overall well-being, which leads us closer to happiness. Here are some things to bring into your professional life:
- What is the mission and vision for the company?
- How do you and your employees know their expectations?
- How are they part of the whole?
- Are you present and mindful of what is going on in your organization?
How to apply SPIRE’s Spiritual Component
It can be easy to view spirituality as a low-level priority, but in reality, it is the connecting force between all the other aspects of ourselves. Training and consistency make spiritual practices easy to incorporate into our everyday lives. Taking time to yourself, having a mindful moment, and even cuddling with your furry best friend are all ways that you can practice the spiritual element of SPIRE without having to make any drastic changes to your life.
Depending on where you are in your life, spiritual practices will look different in how you apply them to the particular areas of your life.
The best thing you can do is pause and check in with yourself. What gives you purpose and meaning? What values drive your actions? If your daily habits and activities do not align at all, think of some ways you can add more meaning and fulfillment to your day.
Many of us spend a large portion of our lifetime working. Even jobs that align closely with our values will occasionally be challenging and demanding. The key is to be mindful of our spiritual wellness and find ways to enjoy ourselves daily.
If possible, weave in moments of happiness and joy. Perhaps it’s reading on your lunch break or going for a walk. Maybe it’s meditating for short periods throughout the day or planning something to look forward to when you’re finished work. Whatever it is, the key is to find balance. The aspects of our life that we don’t particularly enjoy or that result in cognitive dissonance are best balanced out by the parts of our life that help us feel fulfilled and motivated, nurturing our spiritual well-being to become happier.
As a coach, helping others to understand better how they can incorporate the SPIRE approach into their everyday lives to feel happier and healthier within themselves is one of my favorite things to do. In helping others, I am also helping myself – balancing my spiritual well-being by doing something I love and enjoy every day.
How to Get Started Using SPIRE
The best way to use the SPIRE approach is to start by completing a SPIRE check-in.
Using a scale of 1 to 5, with one being low and five being high, answer the following question:
In thinking about the last couple days, how is your SPIRE?
Spiritual: (1-5) – Have you been present in your life? What purpose did you set for the day? Do you feel in control of your life?
Physical: (1-5) – Did you appreciate all your body has done for you today? Have you made a point to do the things that make your body feel happy and healthy?
Intellectual: (1-5) – Have you learned something new today? Have you read any new materials? Have you felt mentally engaged?
Relational: (1-5) – Have you spent time with your friends? Have you met any new people? Have you taken the time to appreciate those around you?
Emotional: (1-5) – Have you checked in on the people in your life? Have you had your needs met? Have you been able to talk about both your positive and negative feelings?
After completing the check-in, identify which areas require could use some improvement and how you want to go about working on them. Need help figuring out ways to improve your SPIRE? The Whole Being Institute has created a short list of examples for each letter of SPIRE, and they have a weekly check-in for those short on time.
Exploring SPIRE in this way helps us uncover what aspects of ourselves could be affecting our well-being. Remember, when one or more are scored low, it can make us feel stressed, anxious, and irritable. This exercise is an excellent tool that helps us identify which parts of ourselves need additional nurturing to help us find balance and get back to feeling healthy and whole.
If you’d like to work through a SPIRE check-in together, or you’d like to learn more about the overarching wholebeing approach, get in touch with me now.