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Women's Health

Let's Get "Spiritual": Women's Health America Offers Exercises for the Spirit

Spiritual health is equally important as physical well-being, according to Women's Health America.

A number of simple "exercises," cited in Women's Health America's August newsletter, "Women's Health Access," can help you improve your spiritual health, regardless of your religious orientation.

Write. Lists, letters or journal entries provide time to size up hopes, fears and blessings. Write down things for which you're grateful or about which you need guidance.

Pray or meditate. Whether addressing a deity or offered to the universe, prayers manifest hope. Dr. Larry Dossey writes about prayer and health in "Healing Words" and "Prayer Is Good Medicine." Praying changes brain waves from frantic "beta" rhythms to calmer "theta" cadences. Prayer and meditation unclutter thoughts, accentuate the positive and symbolically release things beyond control.

Laugh. Humor and laughter benefit heart and sedimentation rates, but humor also helps you shoulder difficult burdens.

Start over. Live each day like it's your first — create new patterns and live as if the past never occurred.

Touch. Experimental baby monkey craved touch more than sustenance, and so, perhaps, do humans. Giving and receiving touch liberally keeps us connected to the greater human family.

Put it away. Author Anne LaMott writes down her concerns, placing them in a small box that represents her willingness to accept whatever happens.

Forgive. Anger is less powerful when viewed as energy to burn. Forgiving yourself for mistakes brings peace and bravery to face new challenges. Forgiving others frees you of hurt.

Join. Support groups, prayer circles, 12-step programs or other gatherings help many people acknowledge spiritual principles that are important to them.

Serve. Doing for others is a double-edged sword. A selfless act of service is a way to "give back." It's important, though, to distinguish between healthy service and placing others' needs consistently above your own.

For more information, contact the Women's Health Hotline at (800) 222-4767, or write: Women's Health America, P.O. Box 259690, Madison, WI 53725.

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