At St. Luke’s Health, we believe in caring for the whole person — mind, body, and spirit. And in times like these, it’s especially important to foster hope.
So we spoke with Tyler Whipkey, Director of Mission and Spiritual Care at St. Luke's Health–The Woodlands Hospital, and asked him to share his thoughts about how we can lift our spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One thing that I’m always quick to remind people of is that our spiritual health is just as important as our physical and mental health,” he says. “When we practice positivity, gratitude, and prayer, we are taking steps to become more spiritually healthy.”
Let’s dive deeper into the benefits of these mindful practices.
Positivity: A Source of Light in Dark Times
Positive thinking can increase confidence, reduce stress, and promote healthy behaviors. These benefits then translate into better outcomes in people with chronic conditions, like diabetes, and general longevity.
“Staying positive during dark times can be a challenge,” shares Whipkey. “I often start by asking myself the question, ‘Where have I found hope in the past?’ Then, I intentionally connect with people with whom I have meaningful relationships. I make phone calls, send emails, and make video calls. By surrounding myself with a community of people who have my best interest at heart, I draw upon their strength.”
Whipkey also suggests taking it easy on your screen time. “I also make it a point to limit my social media and news consumption. While they both have a place in the world, too much of either one can be a bad thing.”
Gratitude: Celebrating the Good in Every Day
“When we choose to be positive, we become aware of the things in our lives that are good. That naturally leads us into opportunities to express gratitude for the things that we do have,” he continues.
Gratitude has been linked to improved psychological and physical health. It also works wonders for our relationships.
According to Whipkey, “Gratitude is something that’s best expressed, not kept inside of our minds.”
Here are a few ideas he offered for practicing gratitude:
- Keep a gratitude journal. Each day, jot down three or four things that you’re grateful for.
- Send a thank-you note to someone who has made a difference in your life.
- Say thank you to those individuals who are helping you throughout the day — grocery store employees, restaurant servers (Be sure to tip well!), plumbers, mechanics, etc.