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Running head: SPIRITUAL WELLBEING INVENTORY 1

Evaluating Spiritual Wellbeing: An Inventory

Trent Looney

Kaplan University

HW420

Unit 9 Assignment

Prof: Dorette Nysewander

September 8, 2015
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Evaluating Spiritual Wellbeing: An Inventory

In an increasingly fast-paced, high-stress world of deadlines, commitments and ever

mounting distractions, it is easy to forego the psychological and spiritual processes that benefit

overall wellbeing. Since the dawn of man, the majority of cultures and civilizations have inclined

to seek spiritual enlightenment recognizing the immense benefits of connectivity and

comprehension of the ‘soul’. As our planet tops 9 billion, and the technological race is

continually expanding, humans are beginning to lose sight of the crucial aspects of the psyche

which play an important role in this development. Fortunately, there are methods for becoming

aware of one’s spiritual self in order to promote growth and wellbeing for the individual and the

community. Before we can learn to develop our spirituality, we must first examine the concepts

of wellbeing and determine which misconceived notions and practices keep us from attaining it.

It is also important to note that spirituality and religion are mutually exclusive (Adams, Bezner,

Drabbs, Zambarano and Steinhardt, 2000). While religion may promote spirituality, the item

itself is a concept of personal wellbeing in regard to psychosocial and intrinsic emotional states.

To determine an individual’s state of spiritual recognition, the following questions may be used

as a psychological and spiritual inventory:

1. Does your daily schedule permit you to spend some time completely alone and

free of distractions? This question addresses the concept of self-renewal. According to

Seaward (2013), self-renewal is a necessary process for recharging one’s personal

energy. Everyone needs solitude to some degree in order to regain a sense of self and

rejuvenate the focus of one’s personal energy toward other spiritually healthy practices.

2. What hobbies do you perform in your free time? In line with finding adequate

alone time to revitalize personal energy, there are certain activities which can be
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practiced in this personal time which invigorate the spiritual self. Namely, sacred rituals

are an important part in developing an increased appreciation of life. In large part,

religious practices are a good way to accomplish this, but anything personally valued as

sacred provide the ability to recognize life’s beauty and welcome wellbeing.

3. When someone offends or wrongs you, how long do you stay angry with them? In

their article examining the four domains of spiritual wellbeing, experts Fisher, Francis

and Johnson (2000) discuss the importance of forgiveness as a means of community

involvement and personal development. As Seaward (2013) notes, forgiveness is not

allowing an offending individual to ‘walk over you’, but rather benefits the victim by not

allowing anger to drain oneself of personal energy. It is a widely held belief among

positive psychologists that a grudge only harms that who holds it. Forgiveness is the cure

for this problem.

4. What are the primary non-physical aspects of yourself that you wish you could

change? As the saying goes, ‘we are our own worst critics.’ With that in mind, everyone

has faults of personality which they would hope to change in order to be a happier or a

nicer person. In order to do this, however, we must first learn to embrace the negative

aspects of ourselves, the products of the ego, and recognize their occurrence in order to

deter their presence. Prejudice, cynicism and greed are all normal human emotions, but

the key is to keep them from ruling personal actions and decisions.

5. On a scale from 1 (not at all) to 10 (very much), how much do you get bothered

by immutable occurrences, such as bad weather or high gas prices? There is a famous

saying by Reinhold Niebuhr which says, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things

that I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the
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difference” (qtd. in Seaward, 2013, p. 236). Acceptance is a crucially instrumental

characteristic of spiritual wellbeing. Too often in life, people are confronted with

bothersome situations which remain out of their control. Dwelling on these situations, or

becoming angry because of them, does nothing to change the outcome of the occurrence,

apart from promoting negative emotions. Rather, it is necessary for individuals to

acknowledge and accept an unchangeable situation in order to adapt.

6. When was the last time you thanked someone for doing something kind? While it

may sound cliché, gratitude is a significant contributor to wellbeing. Joy, love and

compassion allow our spiritual selves to promote connectivity with others resulting in an

enhanced state of enlightenment and positivity. This question requires the individual to

assess their sense of gratitude toward others by recognizing how potentially infrequently

they demonstrate feelings of compassion toward others.

7. If you are working on an activity and run into difficulties, do you give up easily?

Though it is often associated exclusively with religion, faith is a broad concept of

spirituality that enables an individual to overcome obstacles and setbacks. Seaward

(2013) promotes faith as a combination of love, trust, optimism, intention and mystery

and notes doubt (a tool of the ego) as the primary impediment toward achieving it. The

most important aspect of faith is recognizing its true concept: the idea that, regardless of

how bad things may appear, in the end, everything will be okay.

8. How often do you let loved ones and friends make decisions concerning you or the

outcome of a shared activity? For some people, who are sometimes negatively called

‘control freaks’, trust in others can be a difficult concept. This question also seeks to

analyze an individual’s faith as faith can also measure one’s level of trust and love for
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another’s opinion or decision. Faith in the actions of others also promotes acceptance in

that an individual can learn to accept the outcome of certain situations, despite their lack

of involvement.

9. When was the last time you actively performed a random act of kindness? Stated

by Seaward (2013) as ‘compassion in action’, service to others is a necessary part of

community wellbeing and connectedness. As Seaward notes, service is different from

helping in that there is mutual benefit from all parties. Compassion provides individuals

with the feeling of unconditional love devoid of expectations which serves to promote

overall kindness and personal satisfaction with one’s deeds.

10. Do you often notice getting somewhere or finishing something without

remembering how it happened? This question addressing the exceedingly common ability

for humans to avoid living in the present. In contemporary society, it is often demanded

of an individual to be consistently looking forward or examining the actions and

consequences of the past. While this is critical for development and learning, it also

deprives oneself of the ability to live in the present moment. Being able to focus on the

‘here and now’ allows one to fully appreciate the joy of each moment and release the

anxiety and tension associated with focusing on the past or future.

To effectively apply the previous inventory questions to promote comprehension of

personal wellbeing and potential development options, it is necessary to provide a brief overview

to the client of the importance of spirituality and the positive consequences of performing

activities to promote spiritual concepts. At the start, it is essential to outline the significance of

the following concepts: self-renewal, sacred space, forgiveness, acceptance, embracing the ego,

gratitude, faith, compassion, light-heartedness and living in the present. The next step would be
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to utilize the above questions to interpret how the individual feels regarding each component of

spiritual wellbeing, as well as where they are on their journey.

Based on the responses, we can then determine which concepts need to be

developed. For instance, Seaward (2013) suggests making a notebook of funny or light-hearted

things to refer to when in a negative mood. Approaching spirituality with a sense of ease and

humor promotes positivity in all aspects of life. In the occurrence that responses suggest a deep

understanding of spiritual wellbeing, we can discuss the aspects involved with the divine

paradox. As human’s progress through life, we gain a greater comprehension of the concepts of

reality and spirituality. As we accomplish overcoming obstacles on our spiritual path, we tend to

become confronted with contradictory viewpoints. There are several insightful concepts, but

perhaps the most notable is the idea that we, as spiritual beings, are god, but also not. Seaward

(2013, p. 241) quotes a popular Serbian proverb which notes, “Be humble, for you are made of

earth. Be noble, for you are made of stars.” It is important to recognize the contradictions

spirituality can provide as it allows us to recognize the complex and connected nature of life.

Though the aforementioned questions serve to assess and recognize the strengths

and weaknesses associated with an individual’s spiritual journey, there are aspects which could

be improved in order to provide a more accurate description for development. For instance, it

may be useful to utilize each question in the form of a numbered scale, such as that found in

question five. This could serve to provide a more succinct understanding of personal status

regarding each concept.

As our world becomes ever more fast-paced, people are gradually becoming more

distracted by activities and material items which serve to diminish spiritual awareness and

wellbeing. In order to promote positive overall psychosocial health, it is necessary to evaluate the
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many concepts of spirituality which inevitably lend to a greater sense of accomplishment,

compassion and connectivity.

Interview

After evaluating one of my co-workers and presenting these same 10 questions through a

brief interview, these are the individual’s responses:

1. Does your daily schedule permit you to spend some time completely alone and

free of distractions? Response- “No”

2. What hobbies do you perform in your free time? Response- “I have no time for

any hobbies.”

3. When someone offends or wrongs you, how long do you stay angry with them?

Response- “I stay mad for long periods of time. There are still things I’m mad about. If

someone wrongs me I hold a grudge for a very long time.”

4. What are the primary non-physical aspects of yourself that you wish you could

change? Response- “Trust”

5. On a scale from 1 (not at all) to 10 (very much), how much do you get bothered

by immutable occurrences, such as bad weather or high gas prices? Response- “An 8”

6. When was the last time you thanked someone for doing something kind?

Response- “I can’t remember the last time.”

7. If you are working on activity and run into difficulties, do you give up easily?

Response- “Yes, because of being out of time and always running late.”

8. How often do you let loved ones and friends make decisions concerning you or the

outcome of a shared activity? Response- “Not very often.”


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9. When was the last time you actively performed a random act of kindness?

Response- “I can’t remember that either.”

10. Do you often notice getting somewhere or finishing something without

remembering how it happened? Response- “Yes.”

After concluding the brief interview by using the spiritual inventory, my interviewee was

shocked and had no idea he even felt these feelings. Almost as if he felt numb. He said, “I really

felt like something was wrong with me.” He had never heard of such a thing as a “Spiritual

Inventory.” I assured him that there was nothing wrong with him and that this is normal. So

many people feel the same way and you’re not alone. I told him, in a sense, this woke him up

slightly to realize that he is not in tuned with the “here and now” and by creating a spiritual

inventory would help guide him to spiritual enlightenment and psychological health of the mind,

body, and spirit. It all begins with “Spiritual Awareness” first of which begins the process of

healing the physical body. Once we start to balance this energy with acts of kindness combined

with positive emotions, begins to heal the physical body from within. This also helps to keep us

in the present. He seemed very intrigued and told me that he would like to use this spiritual

inventory to help him become more in touch with his spirituality and the “here and now.”
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References

Adams, T. B., Bezner, J. R., Drabbs, M. E., Zambarano, R. J., and Steinhardt, M. A. (2000).

Conceptualization and measurement of the spiritual and psychological dimensions of

wellness in a college population. Journal of American College Health, 48(4), 165-173.

Fisher, J. W., Francis, L. J., and Johnson, P. (2000). Assessing spiritual health via four domains

of spiritual wellbeing: the SH4DI. Pastoral psychology, 49(2), 133-145.

Seaward, B. L. (2013). Health of the Human Spirit: Spiritual Dimensions for Personal Health

(2nd Edition). [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from

http://online.vitalsource.com/books/9781284090444/id/ch1lev1sec4