What Exactly Is Spiritual Growth (And Why Is It So Important)?
Sally has always made her health a top priority in her life. She exercises regularly, eats a healthy diet, and takes time to manage stress and relax with her family and friends.
But she kept feeling like something was missing in her life. She longed to feel a deeper connection to the people and the world around her, but she was unsure how she could achieve that kind of depth without becoming spiritual in some way.
Sally had always assumed that religion and spirituality were one in the same, and she had never been a religious person.
But she recently had a conversation with her friend, a Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach (CTNC), who explained to her that she could experience spiritual growth and health without necessarily being religious. That spiritual growth was all about the connection that Sally felt was missing from her life.
Sally had an “aha” moment. Now she understood that there were plenty of ways for her to establish this sense of purpose and connection by growing spiritually.
Have you ever wondered what spiritual growth really looks like and how you can achieve it?
The term “spiritual growth” is used a lot in the health and wellness industry—and for good reason. Spirituality plays a huge role in a person’s healing process and is an important aspect of attaining wellness and happiness.
But what exactly is it and how do you measure and experience it?
WHAT IS SPIRITUAL GROWTH?
Spiritual growth is defined as, “the process of developing self-identity, nurturing meaningful relationships with others and/or with a higher power, communing with nature, and recognizing transcendence and unity.”
In other words, growing spiritually comes from putting a conscious effort into learning who you really are and trusting (even through tough times) that you are being guided. It can be achieved and supported through dedicated self-care practices.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Spiritual growth is not a one-way street. There are all sorts of twists and turns and changes in directions that a person’s spiritual journey can take them on.
Spiritual growth can be categorized into two different forms: vertical and horizontal. And they don’t always go hand-in-hand! A person can develop vertically but not horizontally, or vice versus. You can also develop in both forms at the same time or at different times.
VERTICAL SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Vertical (or upward) spirituality is as having a closer relationship with a higher being or purpose.
This type of spiritual growth is aligned with traditional ideas of spirituality and religion. So, a person who is spiritually growing on a vertical scale develops a relationship with an intangible power, being, or energy outside of themselves.
HORIZONTAL SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Horizontal (or outward) spiritual growth is an awareness of and reflection on relationships with others, values, spiritual expression, and an appreciation of the environment.
In this type of spiritual growth, you gain awareness of the components that make up your life: your behaviors, your relationships, etc. And you really hone in and begin to understand what you believe are the most important aspects of your life.
5 WAYS TO SUPPORT SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Spending time in meditation is a great way to connect with your inner self and develop a sense of appreciation for everything happening in your life. Dedicate some time each week to meditate and reconnect with yourself so you can experience personal spiritual growth.
Whether you dance all night or only have time for a 2-minute dance session between projects at work. This expressive way of connecting to yourself and your emotions will help you clear your mind and reconnect with what’s truly important so you can continue to grow.
3. GET INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY
Connecting with others, establishing relationships, and becoming a part of something greater than yourself is a key component of spiritual growth and development.
4. JOURNAL OR PRAY
If you’re a religious person looking to become more spiritual, spend some time in prayer and connect with the higher power you believe in.
If you aren’t religious, give journaling a try! Spend time writing about your deepest thoughts, worries, ambitions, and dreams. Take time to engage with your feelings and emotions, and write about how it feels to know that you are a part of something so much bigger than yourself.
5. SPEND TIME IN NATURE
Spending time in nature is a great way to connect with the environment and notice that the earth is full of life and energy. Connect with this energy and allow yourself to get lost in it.
Connecting with the environment and showing appreciation for how it sustains life is a great way to grow spiritually.
The ultimate goal of growing spiritually is to become a more conscious, connected person who has a clear and grounded view and appreciation of the reality around them. Whether you do this by going up, down, sideways or in circles—all that matters is that you get there.
Which of these 5 things will you try this week? Share it in the comments!