What is strong spirit?
Being strong in spirit will help you feel grounded, positive and confident in who you are. Many of our old people will yarn about our true identity as being the spirit, and that when we are true to ourselves, our families and cultural values we are strong in spirit. Being strong in spirit can be about where your ancestors lived, connection to the spiritual world, your belief system, where you practice culture and everything is OK so long as it is right for you. Your spirit thrives on being connected to the earth, the world around you and to others.
How to have strong spirit
For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, keeping a strong spirit is practised by connecting to country and participating in practising culture. Having a strong spirit can help you feel more confident in your identity, to feel more positive in hard times and to feel more connected to others. It can greatly help with your mental and physical wellbeing. Your strong spirit will flow out onto others and help them too. How deadly is that!
To have strong spirit, as an example, you could find a still moment in the day. Stop and listen to the birds, insects, and animals wherever you are, or look at a picture of nature. Block out the sounds around you and become one with nature whether it be in the bush or in the city. Feel inner peace in that moment and gently breathe it in. You can build on these moments and this forms part of your journey of strong spirit.
How to look after your strong spirit
For some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people seeking and strengthening their connection to their ancestors can keep their spirit strong. You might do this by speaking to Elders or going on country. Sit with them and listen and learn about culture and family. This can be very healing and supportive of a strong spirit.
Understand that you are unique, beautiful and important no matter how hard this may seem to do. Consider each and every day the things you are grateful for, no matter how small they might seem. Be kind to yourself – treat yourself like you would treat a friend. You wouldn’t talk down to a friend so why would you talk down about yourself?
Connect to nature as much as possible. This might be through bushwalking, swimming in the river, going surfing or simply sitting in nature. Connecting to nature regularly can help you maintain a stronger spirit and mind .
If you follow a faith that gives you comfort and answers, be true to that, if you follow traditional lore, be true to that too. As long as you are being true to yourself it is good for you and good for others too.
What can impact on your spirit
Nothing impacts more on the spirit than constant negativity. Sometimes things can seem real rough . It is important in these times you try and concentrate on good things, what is working for you and the good times you have.
If you are constantly doing what others want you to do even when it doesn’t feel right to you, then you are running the risk of becoming weaker in spirit.
Disconnection will also weaken your spirit. If you have a strong connection to family or friends but are pushing them away, or you feel very deeply connected to country but are choosing not to spend time with country then you are likely to weaken your spirit.
Consider your connections and try to keep these strong and positive and avoid negative people and influences. It’s all good to step away from people who make you feel down if you need. Try to avoid alcohol and other drugs when you’re not feeling so good, they won’t help. Instead find the places, people and activities that really make you feel deadly and allow yourself to connect with these as much as you can.
- Uncle Bob Randall – The land owns us
- Strong Spirit Strong Mind - Young People and Alcohol and drugs
- Queensland Health - Strong Spirit, safe mob
- headspace - Download and create your own Stronger You wheel
- WellMob - Social, emotional and cultural wellbeing online resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
If you feel you would like more help in keeping you spirit strong you might want to try connect with a local Elder from your mob, healer in your community or a leader in your faith system. There is also a lot of information freely available on the internet on connecting to nature, meditation and visualisation if you think this might be of benefit too. You can always contact headspace at a centre or online and arrange to yarn with someone who could help guide you through similar processes or help you figure out what works best for your strong spirit.
This resource has been developed in partnership with the headspace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Reference Group (Womenjeka Reference Group), Marumali Consultations, the headspace National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group and headspace National.
The headspace Clinical Reference Group oversee and approve clinical resources made available on this website.
Last reviewed 1 July 2021.
Wellbeing wheel reference:
Gee, G., Dudgeon, P., Schultz, C., Hart, A, & Kerrie, K. (2014).Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Wellbeing. In P. Dudgeon., H. Milroy, & R. Walker (Eds.), Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing principles and practice (2nd Ed.) (pp. 55-68). Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.