AHHA SELF-HELP ARTICLES COLLECTION
   
Nicki Riddell Tiffany is the founder/director of Alternative Answers, a referral service for integrative health practitioners in Rochester, NY. She also is a charter member of the Integrative Health Committee of the Monroe County Medical Society in Rochester. You can contact Nicki Riddell Tiffany at (585) 461-5189 or moochiejojo@aol.com.


The American Holistic Health Association has compiled a collection of self-help articles to support your efforts to enhance your own health and well-being.

This article is part of the
article category
HOLISTIC PERSPECTIVE FOR DEALING WITH AN ILLNESS
and the sub-category
HEALING IS SPIRITUAL

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Spirituality plays an important role that is often overlooked in one's healing process. Your "Spirituality" is an aspect of who you are. "Healing" is ridding the body of disease, either mental or physical, to bring about wellness, the results of which can be readily seen.

A prominent integrative practitioner, Andrew Weil, M.D., states, "You are body, mind, and spirit. Health necessarily involves all of these components and any program intended to improve health must address all of them." Dr. Weil further states, "Many people consider spirit to be in the province of religion, but I insist on making a clear distinction between spirituality and religion. Spirituality has to do with the nonphysical aspects of your being - the part of you that existed before and will exist after the disintegration of your body."

Spirituality has many facets, including awareness of the world that surrounds you; a sense of wonder, love, and gratitude; a practice of loving-kindness towards yourself and others; listening to your intuition and trusting your heart. Spiritual health is evidenced by people demonstrating the ability to be authentic, face their fears, let go of the past, and develop insight, forgiveness, peace, compassion, and love.

A sampling of what enhances spiritual health includes meditation, yoga, music and art therapy, breathwork, laughter, and martial arts. Regardless of your personal definition of spirituality, you can explore these and other options in a vast realm of modalities and processes that exist for the purpose of developing your spirituality and adapting it to your everyday life; and thus to having a healthy body, mind, and spirit.

Do you pay attention to your thoughts and what you are "saying" to yourself? What you truly believe at the core of your being has great power over what you are creating in your life.

One well-known, practical process to enhance healing is to focus on these internal messages. Many people use affirmations (positive statements) to do this. Repeated often, affirmations can influence your core belief system, which may then bring about change in your physical, emotional, and mental states. It is very important to use affirmations that are positive statements in the present tense. For example, a very basic statement that affirms the value of self is: "(Your Name), I love you and accept you exactly the way you are." Another example of an "affirmation" statement would be: "I am whole." When repeating this affirmation, really picture yourself as whole. This shuts out concentration on any illness or health problems you may be facing, and the resulting disconnection of the body/mind/spirit. Regular practice of this affirmation leads to the core belief that you are truly whole, in spite of any physical evidence that might suggest otherwise.

You can easily compose your own personal affirmations to address whatever needs healing in your life, be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Affirmations can be said as part of a meditation session, silently, like a mantra, or aloud while walking or driving. The more times they are repeated, the more effective they become. Another way to keep them foremost in your thoughts is to write them down on cards and place the cards in places where you will be sure to see them. It's alright to change the wording to suit a situation and/or to say several different affirmations.

Author Barbara Hoberman Levine wisely reminds us that the aim of almost all spiritual work is to "...unify your Body/Mind/Spirit and reconnect your seemingly separate parts. By doing this you expand your ability to choose freely and to ensure yourself of clearer Body/Mind/Spirit communication. You will know yourself better. You will begin to recognize and accept your emotions, uncover harmful beliefs and seedthoughts, and begin to change them through the power of creative thinking. Joyfully accept it! An attitude of gratitude is the primary ingredient for a happy, healthy, peaceful fulfilled life."