Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all. People may describe a spiritual experience as sacred or transcendent or simply a deep sense of aliveness and interconnectedness.
Some may find that their spiritual life is intricately linked to their association with a church, temple, mosque, or synagogue. Others may pray or find comfort in a personal relationship with God or a higher power. Still others seek meaning through their connections to nature or art. Like your sense of purpose, your personal definition of spirituality may change throughout your life, adapting to your own experiences and relationships.
The human soul is the measure of health and prosperity. Therefore, when you are healthy spiritually it effects every aspect of your life. Studies conducted in the last 20 years have found that religious or spiritual practices are associated with better health outcomes, such as increased energy, longer lifespan, better coping skills, and overall quality of life during an illness. There is clear evidence indicating that spiritual practices are associated with better health and wellbeing for many reasons, including:
Contemplative practice is good for you
Contemplative practices are activities that guide you to direct your attention to a specific focus — often an inward looking reflection or concentration on a specific belief, sensation or concept. Many spiritual traditions have a long history of using contemplative practices to increase compassion, empathy, and attention, as well as quiet the mind.
Meditation can induce feelings of calm and clear-headedness as well as improve concentration and attention. Brain researcher Richard Davidson’s research shows that meditation increases the brain’s grey matter density, which can reduce sensitivity to pain, enhance your immune system, help you regulate difficult emotions, and relieve stress. Mindfulness meditation in particular has been proven helpful for people with depression and anxiety, cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, and cardiovascular disease.
Prayer may elicit the relaxation response, along with feelings of hope, gratitude, and compassion — all of which have a positive effect on overall wellbeing. There are several types of prayer, many of which are rooted in the belief that God has great influence over your life. This belief can provide a sense of comfort and support in difficult times. A recent study found that clinically depressed adults who believed their prayers were heard by God responded much better to treatment than those who did not believe. The prayer of faith is the most effective way of getting what you desire
Journaling is another, often overlooked, contemplative practice that can help you become more aware of your inner life and feel more connected to your experience and the world around you. Studies show that writing during difficult times may help you find meaning in life’s challenges and become more resilient in the face of obstacles. It will also help you to focus on the vision you have for your life. Part of that vision should be to live a long and healthy life.
Some pointers on Spirituality
- There is a big difference between religion and spirituality. Spirituality gives the individual autonomy over his or her interpretation of the soul or spirit, whereas religion implies participation in a communal practice and interpretation of divine belief and worship. It should be noted that any religious traditions contain a “spiritual” element to them.
- A spiritual community can improve your life.
- Spiritual strength can help you overcome hardships.
- Spiritual people make healthier choices.
- Spirituality increase your quality of life an may help you live longer.
- Forgiveness plays an essential part in spirituality and it is good medicine.