What is spirituality? How is it linked to our health and wellbeing?
Spirituality is commonly misunderstood. Many of us confuse spirituality with religious beliefs. This brings about pre-existing ideas and beliefs about the impact of religion on discussions about spirituality. Whilst spirituality may incorporate aspects of religion, spirituality is a broader concept. It’s important to emphasise that it’s possible to be spiritual without necessarily being part of an organised religion.
There are some differences between the two that could change the way we understand spirituality and its benefits for our health and wellbeing.
Religion is a specific set of organised ideologies and practices usually shared amongst a community or group. Whereas, spirituality is an individual practice that is about finding a sense of peace and purpose. It is about the process of developing beliefs around the meaning of life and the connections we create with others.
Spirituality is a great way to find stillness and peace from our busy lives. Spirituality is about connecting to ourselves and creating meaning and purpose in our lives. It is also about discovering a connection to something bigger than ourselves. It is a way of understanding that our lives have greater value than simply what we do every day.
There are many ways in which people choose to express their spirituality. Some choose to practice it through yoga and meditation. For others, spirituality is linked to an association with a church, temple, mosque or synagogue. Some of us simply pray or find comfort in a personal relationship with God or a higher power. Developing a connection to the outdoors and artistic expression is another way people connect to their spirituality.
When we find connection to our spirituality and ourselves, we ultimately create more positive emotions in our life. We experience more peace, gratitude, acceptance, awe, contentment, purpose, patience, understanding, authenticity, truth and honesty. We are able to disconnect from the busyness of our lives and find stillness. These practices have incredible affects on our emotional health and wellbeing. We experience positive emotions more regularly. We cultivate a positive state of mind. We give ourselves an opportunity to de-stress and to relax. When we connect to our spirituality we also find places to connect with other like-minded individuals. We build meaningful relationships and this improves our social health and wellbeing. We come back into our workplace, our families and friends offering our best selves. Our spirituality becomes the foundation of our understanding of the world, often guiding and informing our choices about how we spend our time.
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