The red string, spirituality, and wellness
If you have read some of my other blogs, you would have gained a sense of my personal struggles with general health and wellbeing. The impacts due of poor sleep rendered me distressed for many years, and contributed to a decline in mental and physical health and wellbeing. While I remained undiagnosed, and with little support from my healthcare professional, I started to develop an interest in spirituality. This was mostly to help find some guidance and meaning to life, and to help explain what was happening to me, as science was failing to do so.
When you start looking into spirituality, there does not appear to be a clear definition. Though, I did find this definition, and it worked well for me:
“Spiritual wellbeing relates to our sense of life-meaning and purpose. It can include our connection to culture, community, spirituality and/or religiosity and includes the beliefs, values, mental models and ethics we hold.”
I do not consider myself to be religious, though I do consider myself to be somewhat spiritual. For me, I enjoy and practice Kabbalah. The first book I picked up was The Power of Kabbalah back in 2004. Kabbalah was put into the spotlight in the 00s, mostly through celebrities, such as Madonna, sporting a red string tied onto their left wrist. When I started to learn more, I realised that so much of what is taught in Kabbalah is common sense, and practical things I could use on a daily basis. In addition, as I started to study kabbalah, I realised much of what is taught aligns to theories of psychology. I even have a Kabbalah instructor, who I seek support and guidance from when I need it. For example, the Kabbalah Centre suggest a few simple ways to find joy each day including:
Schedule time to appreciate the blessings in your life. Take the time each daily to truly pause, think, and appreciate the blessings in our lives. They emphasise that this needs to be routine in daily lives, and not when we remember, or manage to find the time.
Observe the details. Take a moment to think about something you are grateful and appreciative of your life, and what that has introduced you to. For example, a good job introducing you to a great circle of friends, income to support you, and an opportunity to challenge and grow.
Choose to give energy to positive thinking. When faced with a challenging situation, people may fall into negative thinking patterns. While it is not always possible to control the situation, it is possible to control how to react. The Kabbalah Centre suggest that challenges can be blessings in disguise. Such situations can help us to transform and to learn, and how we react can help in that transformation process.
Use joy to awaken more joy! Kabbalah suggests that the relationship between joy and appreciation can help each other to grow. Just like a snow ball rolling down a mountain, the more we appreciate what we have, the more joy we receive. As the joy and appreciation rolls down the mountain, it gains momentum and larger in size.
It has been argued that research into spirituality has become a hot topic of interest in terms of health, wellbeing, and religion. A challenge for research into the associations between spirituality, and health and wellbeing are how do you measure spirituality? As the definition we looked at earlier showed, spirituality may encompass factors such a culture, community, ethics, values, and religious beliefs. While research has shown that measures of spirituality to be a predictor of positive wellbeing, there are mix results on how reliable some of these measurement tools actually are.
While it has been argued that spirituality is a challenge to measure, the question I ponder is, ‘does it really matter?’
I am not suggesting that everyone ties a red string on their left wrist (there is a whole process and meaning associated to the string), or study Kabbalah. Spirituality is an individual and intimate part of our lives. If you find something that you can relate to, and adds value to your general sense of wellbeing, then enjoy your spiritual journey.
Blessings & Light