Tapping Into Your Spirit for Better Health

Jackie Hays shares lessons learned from Julie Haber about discovering the spiritual side of health and wellness.

Do you have a purpose in life? Do you believe in something greater than yourself? Julie Haber, spiritual wellness provider from Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Tucson, Arizona, says all of us have a spiritual side we may not know about. She says finding that part of yourself and putting it to use may help you be physically and emotionally healthier and happier.

Haber was the speaker at a Norton Healthcare Go Confidently event at The Olmsted in Louisville on Feb. 3. The rooms were packed with more than 600 men and women who wanted to know more about how spirituality is linked to healing and well-being. Haber, who has practiced holistic medicine for 25 years, says she found her “spiritual” side, or purpose in life, when she was dealing with the effects of Lyme disease that went undiagnosed for a decade or more. The disease, spread by deer ticks, attacked all parts of her body, leading to fibromyalgia and extreme lethargy. She told the audience that one day she fell to her knees asking God to either heal her or help her find a way to live with it. Just a day or two later she met someone who taught her about spiritual well-being, which allowed her to accept her disease and concentrate on doing things to heal physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

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In her current role, Haber works with people individually and in small groups to connect with who they are and what they believe their purpose is. She told me one of the highlights of her job is hearing people say, “Wow, I have never thought of myself as spiritual, but now I think I am.”

Haber is particularly interested in the intersection of healing and spirituality, and firmly believes that the trials we go through in life are opportunities to strengthen our faith. She teaches people to deal with those trials through meditation, prayer, writing, support groups or any ritual that helps us get through difficult times.

Does this approach to wellness really work? Haber says there are several studies that back it up. She cites a Duke researcher, Harold Koenig, who wrote a book called “Medicine, Religion and Health.” In a nutshell it says people who practice spirituality are healthier and happier. Haber says there’s also research showing those who practice forgiveness and gratitude can reduce their risk of heart attacks, lower their cholesterol and lessen depression and anxiety. She says it’s virtually impossible to be grateful and angry at the same time.

For a woman who still copes with the side effects of an autoimmune disease, Haber has found a way to not only live a productive and fulfilling life, but she’s teaching others to deal with their challenges in the same way — by discovering their spiritual side. Doing that, she says, is the foundation to healing on many levels. If you don’t believe it, she dares you to try it for yourself and see what happens.

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