Spiritually Threadbare: How to Strengthen Men’s Sense of Spiritual Wellness


 By Darci L. Graves, MA, MPP, Health Power Editor

We ask a lot of our men!
We ask them to be strong, to provide, protect and endure.  These qualities can become liabilities when it comes to their health.  To be sick is often considered weak.  To be weak is to be unable to protect.  To ask for help is also to admit weakness, and not endure.  Physical, mental and spiritual well-being can all be in danger when men try to remain strong in the face of illness, trouble or injury.  Society asks them to power through, when it may be better for them to power down because their thread of spirituality has become frayed and ragged.  There is evidence to show that men experience lower levels of religious, philosophical and spiritual well-being.  Yet, spiritually is known to have a positive influence on one’s overall health.
 Spiritual Well-being Connections

Clearly defined, spiritual well-being is a sense of connection with others, a way of finding meaning in one’s life, and figuring out how to nurture oneself in order to attain wellness.  That same society, which encourages people to power through, also prescribes nature, art and creative expression as ways to improve their spiritual wellness  But what if you or the man in your life is one that scoffs at the sunsets, balks at a trip to the art museum and declines to pick up a paint brush?
How does the formerly rugged, now ragged, man find his spiritual thread?
Maybe he goes for a long solitary drive.  Maybe he joins the men’s group at church and participates in outings, barbeques or sports games.  Maybe it is hitting a bucket of balls at the driving ranges or spending time in a batting cage.  Maybe it is watching that Western that he loves, because he and his father used to watch it together.  Or maybe it is grilling meat over an open flame, while embracing a healthier way to prepare dinner.  Any and all of these are mechanisms that while embracing a healthier way to prepare dinner.   Any and all of these are mechanisms that can allow men to achieve a sense of religious, philosophical and spiritual well-being.
Resources and References:
Hammermeister, J., Flint, M., El-Alayli, A., Ridnour, H., and Peterson, M. (2005).  Gender differences in spiritual well-being: are females more spiritually-well than males?  American Journal of Health Studieshttp://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0CTG/is_1-2_20/ai_n27869283/?tag=content;col1

Hawks, S. R., Hull, M., Thalman, R. L., & Richins, P. M. (1995).  Review of spiritual health: definition, role, and intervention strategies in health promotion.  American Journal of Health Promotion, 9, 371-378.

Insel, P., and Roth, W. (2012).  Wellness Worksheets Twelfth Edition.  The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.