How Can Spirituality Help Us With Out Past? (Question)

Why is spirituality important in our lives?

  • While people use many different religions and paths to find God or to express their spirituality, ​research has shown that those who are more religious or spiritual and use their spirituality to cope with life, experience many benefits to their health and well-being.

How spirituality can help you?

Some research shows a connection between your beliefs and your sense of well being. Positive beliefs, comfort, and strength gained from religion, meditation, and prayer can contribute to well being. It may even promote healing. Improving your spiritual health may not cure an illness, but it may help you feel better.

How is spirituality important in everyday life?

Spirituality is linked to many important aspects of human functioning—spiritual people have positive relationships, high self-esteem, are optimistic, and have meaning and purpose in life. Spiritual people self-actualize.

How does spirituality affect your life?

You may feel a higher sense of purpose, peace, hope, and meaning. You may experience better confidence, self-esteem, and self-control. It can help you make sense of your experiences in life. When unwell, it can help you feel inner strength and result in faster recovery.

What are examples of spirituality?

Spirituality is the state of having a connection to God or the spirit world. An example of spirituality is praying every day.

What is a spiritual life?

In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. Some may find that their spiritual life is intricately linked to their association with a church, temple, mosque, or synagogue.

What are the 3 elements of spirituality?

The shamans, healers, sages, and wisdom keepers of all times, all continents, and all peoples, in their ageless wisdom, say that human spirituality is composed of three aspects: relationships, values, and life purpose.

How can we live a spiritual life?

Seven Ways to Improve Your Spiritual Health

  1. Explore your spiritual core. By exploring your spiritual core, you are simply asking yourself questions about the person you are and your meaning.
  2. Look for deeper meanings.
  3. Get it out.
  4. Try yoga.
  5. Travel.
  6. Think positively.
  7. Take time to meditate.

How do you show spirituality?

Spirituality has to do with having a sense of peace and purpose in life. Here are some ways to express spirituality:

  1. Think about how you see yourself in relation to your friends, your family and your world.
  2. Identify what’s important to you.
  3. Try to describe your ‘authentic’ or ‘true’ self.

What is a spiritual person like?

Being a spiritual person is synonymous with being a person whose highest priority is to be loving to yourself and others. A spiritual person cares about people, animals and the planet. A spiritual person knows that we are all One, and consciously attempts to honor this Oneness.

How do I know my spirituality?

Here are some ways you can go about finding what others believe.

  1. Learn about organized religions.
  2. Do some research online.
  3. Read books about spirituality.
  4. Read the sacred texts of various religions.
  5. Ask friends and family about their beliefs.
  6. Talk to local religious leaders.

Spirituality Can Improve Many Aspects of Your Life and Health

Spirituality is a wide notion that encompasses a belief in something greater than oneself. The belief in a higher power can be based on religious traditions, but it can also be based on a holistic belief in one’s connectedness to others and to the rest of the universe, as in the Buddhist tradition. People who practice spirituality hold to a worldview that says that there is more to existence than simply what they can perceive with their senses and bodies. Instead, it indicates that there is something bigger at work that ties all living things to one another and to the rest of the cosmos.

People from all walks of life have turned to spirituality and religious activities as a source of comfort and stress alleviation for centuries.

Signs of Spirituality

Spirituality is not a single path or belief system. There are various methods to encounter spirituality and the advantages of a spiritual experience. For some people, this might involve the belief in a higher power or a specific religious practice. For others, it may involve experiencing a sense of connection to a higher state or a sense of inter-connectedness with the rest of humanity and nature. Some symptoms of spirituality can include:

  • The exploration of difficult themes like as pain and what occurs after death
  • The development of deeper relationships with others
  • The development of compassion and empathy for others Feelings of oneness are being experienced
  • Awe and amazement
  • A desire for pleasure that goes beyond money things or other outward rewards
  • Awe and wonder
  • Looking for meaning and purpose in life
  • Wishing to make the world a better place
  • And so forth.

Not everyone has the same spiritual experiences or displays their spirituality in the same manner. Spiritual experiences can occur in any element of one’s life for some people, while others are more prone to have these sensations under certain circumstances or in specific settings. Examples include persons who are more prone to have spiritual experiences in churches or other religious temples, as well as people who are more likely to have these sentiments when out enjoying the great outdoors.

Types of Spirituality

There are many various styles of spirituality, ranging from religious traditions to more secular approaches, and each has its own distinctive characteristics. Some of the most important types of spirituality are as follows:

  • Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Humanism, Islam, Judaism, New Age Spirituality, and Sikhism are all religions.

Keeping in mind that there are many different spiritual traditions that exist around the world, including traditional African and Indigenous spiritual practices, is critical to remembering this. When it comes to groups of people who have been subjugated to the impacts of colonialism, spiritual rituals like these might be particularly essential.


It is possible for people to turn to spirituality for a variety of reasons. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • To discover one’s life’s purpose and meaning: Investigating spirituality can assist people in discovering answers to philosophical problems such as “what is the meaning of life?” and “what purpose does my life serve?” When dealing with stress, sadness, and anxiety, spiritual experiences can be quite beneficial
  • Nevertheless, they should not be relied upon only for this purpose. In order to restore hope and optimism, spirituality can assist people in developing a more optimistic attitude on their lives. Because spiritual traditions are frequently associated with organized faiths or groups, being a member of one of these organizations may be an extremely valuable resource for finding social support.

Impact of Spirituality

Though spiritual beliefs and practices are a matter of personal conviction, science has established some of the advantages of spirituality and spiritual engagement. However, while the findings will come as no surprise to anybody who has found solace in their religious or spiritual beliefs, they are notable for the fact that they illustrate in a scientific manner that these activities are beneficial to a large number of individuals.

More favorable discoveries relating to spirituality and its impact on physical and mental health include the following, among many others:

  • It has been demonstrated through research that religion and spirituality can assist people in dealing with the impacts of ordinary stress. According to one research, everyday spiritual encounters helped older persons better cope with unpleasant emotions while also increasing happy emotions. Age-related differences in appreciation to God have been found in women over the age of 50, with women experiencing more stress-relieving health benefits as a result of their gratitude. The findings of the study showed that individuals with an intrinsic religious orientation, regardless of gender, had less physiological reaction to stress than those with an extrinsic religious orientation, which is consistent with previous findings. While the intrinsically oriented committed their life to God or a “higher force,” the extrinsically oriented used religion to achieve exterior goals such as gaining friends or raising their social status in the community.

It is possible, based on this and other research, that remaining involved with a spiritual group has concrete and long-term advantages. This connection, along with the thankfulness that often accompany spirituality, can act as a stress-relieving buffer, and it has been related to improved physical and mental wellbeing. Dedication to God or to a “higher force” resulted in reduced stress reactivity, improved emotions of well-being, and, in the end, even a lessened dread of death among participants.

Prayer is effective for both children and adults.

  • Improvements in health
  • Increased psychological well-being
  • Decreased sadness
  • Decreased hypertension
  • Decreased stress, especially during difficult circumstances
  • Increased pleasant sentiments Stress-resistance abilities that are above average


If you are rediscovering a long-forgotten spiritual path, reaffirming your devotion to an already well-established one, or seeking a new source of spiritual fulfillment, studying your spiritual side may be beneficial to your overall health and well being. It is important to remember that spirituality is a very personal experience, and that everyone’s spiritual path is different. However, according to research, some spiritual stress alleviation practices have proven to be beneficial to a wide range of people, independent of their religious beliefs.

  • Consider your emotions: Part of adopting spirituality is accepting all aspects of being human, both the good and the terrible
  • Pay attention to how you are feeling. Concentrate on others: Spirituality is characterized by the opening of your heart, the sense of empathy, and the willingness to serve others. Meditation: Make an effort to spend 10 to 15 minutes each morning engaging in some sort of meditation. Gratitude is something to cultivate: Create a thankfulness diary in which you may record things you are grateful for on a daily basis. As a result, it may serve as a wonderful reminder of what is most important to you and what offers you the most enjoyment. Try focusing on the present moment: You may become more aware and appreciative of the present moment if you practice mindfulness meditation. In order to be more mindful, you should try to be less judgemental (both toward yourself and toward others) and concentrate more on the current moment rather than lingering on the past or the future.
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This episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast, hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, explores what it means to be ‘wholly human,’ and features GRAMMY Award-winning singer LeAnn Rimes. To listen to it right now, please click on the link below. Now is a good time to start: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and RSS are all options.

Potential Pitfalls

In terms of spirituality, one of the major pitfalls is a phenomena called as spiritual bypassing. This is characterized by a proclivity to utilize spirituality as a means of avoiding or sidestepping difficulties, emotions, and conflicts. As an example, rather than apologizing for any form of emotional damage you have caused someone else, you can choose to just excuse the situation by stating that “everything occurs for a reason” or recommending that the other person should “concentrate on the good” instead.

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  1. M. Akbari and S. M. Hossaini Spiritual health and quality of life, as well as emotional control and burnout: The mediating function of emotional regulation in this connection Iran 2018
  2. 13(1):22-31 in the Journal of Psychiatry. Whitehead BR, Bergeman CS
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  6. Geronb GB. Spirituality as a lived experience: Investigating the core of spirituality for women in their late thirties and forties. International Journal of Aging and Human Development (2012) 75(2):95-113. McMahon, B.T., and Biggs, H.C. doi:10.2190/AG.75.2.a. In this study, we will look at spirituality and innate religious orientation as a way of dealing with test anxiety. Health Vulnerability in a Changing Society. 2012
  7. 3 (1). Johnson KA, doi:10.3402/vgi.v3i0.14918, and others. Prayer may be a powerful tool in the rehabilitation from depression. J Relig Health 2018
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  10. Wachholtz AB, Sambamthoori U. Changes in national trends in the use of prayer as a coping method for depression from 2002 to 2007 are presented. Relig Health 2013
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Why Is Spirituality Important?

There is an increasing amount of data demonstrating that spiritual activities are related with improved health and well-being for a variety of reasons, including the following:

Contemplative practice is good for you.

Practices that help you to concentrate your attention to a specific focus—often an inward-looking reflection or concentration on a certain sensation or concept—are known as contemplative practices. The use of contemplative techniques to promote compassion, empathy, and attentiveness, as well as to quiet the mind has been practiced for thousands of years in many spiritual traditions.

  1. Meditation may help you feel peaceful and clear-headed, and it can also help you enhance your concentration and attention span. According to brain researcher Richard Davidson’s studies, meditation enhances the gray matter density of the brain, which can lower sensitivity to pain, strengthen your immune system, assist you in regulating tough emotions, and relieve stress. People suffering from depression and anxiety, cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, and cardiovascular disease have all found mindfulness meditation to be beneficial. In addition to the relaxation response, prayer may evoke good emotions such as sentiments of hope, appreciation, and compassion, all of which are beneficial to one’s general well-being. There are many different styles of prayer, many of them are based on the concept that there is a higher power who has some sort of control over your life. There are various varieties of prayer. A sense of comfort and support can be provided by this belief in tough times—a recent research discovered that severely depressed persons who felt their prayers were heard by a caring presence reacted much better to therapy than those who did not believe
  2. Incorporating physical postures, ethical behavior, and breath expansion, yoga has been practiced for thousands of years to bring about a sense of unity inside the practitioner. Yoga has been shown to reduce inflammation and stress, as well as sadness and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and boost emotions of well-being when practiced regularly. In addition to journaling, which is frequently disregarded as a contemplative activity, it may assist you in being more aware of your inner life as well as feeling more connected to your experience and the surrounding world. According to research, writing through tough times might assist you in finding meaning in life’s struggles and being more resilient in the face of adversities.

5 Ways To Find A Sense Of Spirituality Without Religion

The most recent update was made on March 16, 2020. It’s possible that if you ask 1,000 people what spirituality means to them—let alone spirituality that is not tied to a particular religion—you’ll receive 1,000 different replies. Without reference to religion, spirituality is defined as the connection we have with a dimension of existence that is bigger than ourselves. Practicing religion on a daily basis is a daily practice in which we are both teachers and students, as well as givers and receivers, and it helps us to live from a position of deeper compassion for ourselves and for others.

Here are five easy steps you can take to live a more spiritual life, regardless of your religious affiliation:

1. Take 10 minutes to calm your mind when you wake up.

With the ability to guide our thoughts in a good direction, we can make a difference in our own lives, those of others, and the globe. Being still and connecting with something higher than yourself is something that may be accomplished by devoting the first 10 minutes of each day only to this purpose. Begin practicing meditation or yoga, reading an inspiring text or taking a stroll in nature as soon as you wake up to see whether it works for you.

2. Be useful to others.

We have the ability to guide our thoughts in a positive direction, whether for ourselves, for others, or for the entire planet. We must exercise this potential. Being still and connecting with something higher than yourself is something that may be accomplished by devoting the first 10 minutes of each day only to that purpose. Begin practicing meditation or yoga, reading an inspiring text or having a stroll in nature as soon as you wake up to see whether it works for you!

The essence of spirituality is that it takes place in the present moment. Rather than focusing on the things you accomplish, it is more important to focus on who you are. Your life is precisely how it should be in order for you to advance in your spiritual development. Contrary to popular belief, it is precisely when you yield to this reality that the gates of boundless love and transformation are opened to you.

4. Explore what spirituality without religion means for you and who embodies it.

Read books, watch videos, and attend conferences and seminars to broaden your knowledge. Find a role model that represents spirituality in your own terms and study his or her methods of living in this world, but always remember to stay true to your own values and principles.

You have your own distinct and magnificent taste and gift to this world, and no one else can duplicate your flavor or contribution. That is what spirituality is supposed to assist you in discovering as well.

“Spiritual success” is not defined by celebrity, power, or wealth. Realizing that everything is great and that we are all one is what it is all about. There is a force that holds everything in place and binds everything together in one cohesive whole. This place of faith and inner calm can be the springboard from which meaningful activities might emerge. Allow yourself a few minutes each day to forget about your to-do list. Simply switch off your phone and pay attention to what is going on in your environment and for you.

And it’s possible that a roomful of 1,000 individuals would come to the same conclusion.

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According to some psychologists, religious ideas are pathological, a term that dates back to Sigmund Freud. They regard religion as a cancerous social force that supports illogical thinking and repetitive habits. Of fact, psychologists’ reservations — as well as those expressed by many others throughout history — have done little to diminish religion’s tremendous hold on mankind today. Religion has been around for more than 100,000 years and continues to thrive today. Every culture has some form of religious belief, with more than 85 percent of the world’s population professing some form of religious belief.

It is becoming increasingly clear that religion may, in fact, be a byproduct of the way our brains function, arising from cognitive tendencies to seek order from chaos, to anthropomorphize our environment, and to believe that the world around us was created specifically for our benefit and enjoyment.

It’s difficult, says psychologist Justin Barrett, PhD, director of the cognition, religion, and theology project in the Centre for Anthropology and Mind at Oxford University, “to then build the case that religion is a pathology if we’re on the right track with this byproduct idea — and the findings are really starting to pile up.”

Predisposed to believe

According to Barrett, there is no single cognitive tendency that underpins all of our religious views. The impulse for religious beliefs, according to him, is “basically just your fundamental, garden-variety cognitive processes.” Those cognitions are linked by the fact that they cause us to perceive the world as a place with an intentional design, one that has been made by someone or something. According to a series of research conducted by Boston University psychologist Deborah Keleman, PhD, young children, for example, are more likely than adults to believe that even little components of the natural world were created with a purpose.

According to study, adults also seek significance in their lives, particularly during times of uncertainty.

322, No.

According to the researchers, this study shows that people are predisposed to notice indications and patterns in the environment they live in.

As a result of his research, he has discovered that children as young as three years old naturally attribute supernatural abilities and immortality to “God,” even if they have never been taught about God, and that they tell elaborate stories about their lives prior to birth, which Barrett refers to as “pre-life.” We’re demonstrating that our fundamental cognitive equipment predisposes us to certain types of thinking, which results in beliefs in a pre-life, an afterlive and gods as well as the existence of invisible beings that are doing things — themes that are common to most of the world’s religions, according to Barrett.

This foundational equipment includes a memory system that appears to be unusually adept at recalling the types of narrative found in many religious texts, according to preliminary findings.

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The memory of notions that ranged from obvious — a grazing cow — to mildly counterintuitive — a cursing frog — to exceedingly counterintuitive (a shrieking blossoming brick) was examined in one research published in 2006 in Cognitive Science(Vol.


As Norenzayan, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia, explains, this finding was replicated in both American college students and Maya villagers from the Mexican Yucatan, indicating that stories with a few minimally counterintuitive elements, such as those found in many religious stories, are more easily remembered and, presumably more readily transmitted from person to person.

Instead, they were most likely used for other adaptive purposes.

As Atran points out, it was probably preferable for us to make the incorrect assumption that the wind was actually a lion rather than ignore the rustling and endanger our lives in the process.

According to Atran, head of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, when taken together, it’s simple to understand how these cognitive tendencies may lead our minds to build religions based on the concept of supernatural entities that keep an eye on our every move.

People, according to psychologist Dr.

APA Division 36 President, Dr.

This work, if nothing else, serves to remind us that we are full persons, with biological and psychological as well as social, cultural, and spiritual aspects that are all interconnected.

Neural underpinnings

According to Jordan Grafman, PhD, director of the cognitive neuroscience department at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, neuroscience research supports the premise that the brain is predisposed to believe. According to him, this inclination is widespread across the brain and is most likely the result of neuronal circuits that were originally designed for various purposes. According to Grafman, who will be joining the Kessler Foundation in West Orange, New Jersey, in January to direct a traumatic brain injury research laboratory, “the concept that there is a ‘God spot’ in the brain where religious ideas and sentiments develop has generally been dismissed.” Grafman performed an fMRI research in 2009 demonstrating that religious beliefs stimulate the part of the brain responsible for understanding the emotions and intentions of others — a skill known as theory of mind — when they are experienced.

  • Grafman and his colleagues discovered that when participants heard phrases such as “God’s will guides my actions” and “God protects one’s life,” areas of the brain involved in theory of mind lit up.
  • 106, No.
  • Danish researchers discovered that the same brain regions were activated when religious individuals prayed in a 2009 study published in Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience(Vol.
  • 2), according to the findings of the study.
  • Furthermore, he asserts that contemplation is not restricted to religious thought, despite the fact that some traditions such as prayer or meditation may necessitate specific types of mental processes.
  • What distinguishes religion from banal thoughts about one’s parents, according to University of Wisconsin psychologist Richard Davidson, PhD, are contemplative traditions such as meditation and prayer, which have the capacity to alter the way the brain is wired among frequent practitioners.
  • In essence, meditation — and possibly any contemplative spiritual practice — increases attention while simultaneously turning off the parts of the brain that are preoccupied with one’s own thoughts and feelings.

ERN (error-related negativity) is a brain wave created by the anterior cingulate cortex that spikes when people make mistakes, and his research focuses on this brain wave in particular.

“When we make a mistake, it is stimulating and causes a little sense of worry.” Psychological Science(Vol.

3), published this year, examined the occurrence of this “uh-oh” response among persons who completed a typical color-naming Stroop task as part of his research.

“They’re more composed and elegant under pressure,” says Inzlicht of the women.

21, No.

It was discovered that individuals who wrote about religion had a lower ERN response than those who wrote about something that made them joyful.

As a result of its ability to “explain” occurrences we don’t comprehend, religion, according to Inzlicht, may have a calming impact on individuals in general, making them more tranquil.

“This difference occurs in only a few hundredths of a second, but we believe it can lead to an entire lifetime of being calmer.” According to Plante, editor of the book “Contemplative Practices in Action: Spirituality, Meditation, and Health,” these findings are consistent with a substantial body of research and clinical reports showing religious persons are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than the general population (APA, 2010).

In Plante’s words, “adaptive spiritual practices can operate as a counterbalance to anxiety and despair.” The possession of spiritual beliefs may also result in living a longer and better life.

According to psychologist Michael McCullough, PhD, of the University of Miami, Inzlicht’s study may give a partial explanation for these findings. Inzlicht is a professor of psychology at the university.


Religion, according to Norenzayan, may also serve an important function in that it permits people to exist in vast, cooperative communities. In fact, the employment of religion as a social tool may account for a significant portion of its longevity and cross-cultural prevalence. “Religion is one of the most significant solutions that human civilizations have discovered for causing unrelated persons to be pleasant to one another,” adds Norenzayan. Specifically, according to his findings, religion motivates individuals to be more philanthropic by encouraging believe in a divine entity that works to benefit all of humanity.

  • 18, No.
  • 18, No.
  • Another set of participants was tasked with the task of unscrambling religiously neutral terms.
  • Interestingly, the researchers discovered that people who were primed with religious sentiments contributed an average of $2.38 more than the other participants, on average.
  • 327, No.
  • He demonstrated that, when playing economic games with strangers, persons who engaged in a global religion were more fair toward strangers than people who did not participate in a world religion across 15 various nations.
  • This is because God is looking at you.” It is also consistent with the theoretical work of University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt, PhD, and his former graduate student Jesse Graham PhD, who is now an assistant professor at the University of Southern California.

They argue in a paper published in February in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review (Vol.

1) that religion and morality co-evolved as a method to link people together into big moral societies as they progressed through time.

Early religions employed rituals to publicly display their moral concerns, such as banning specific foods such as pig and dressing in attire to symbolize modesty, to demonstrate their moral concerns.

Those religious practices are still practiced today.

“While religion may bring people together in certain ways, it can also produce significant splits,” he adds.

Much of the world’s turmoil and bloodshed is caused by distrust, which is one of the reasons why the “new atheists,” notably evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, PhD, and neurologist Sam Harris, PhD, want religion to be eliminated entirely.

Norenzayan believes that secular communities established on a common moral foundation might be a viable alternative to religious communities.

Nonetheless, such communities will still require many of the components of religion, including the conviction that we are all members of the same moral community and, as a result, should make sacrifices that are beneficial to society in general.

“As the research matures and we incorporate other areas of psychology, I believe we’ll have a greater understanding of the nature of religion and where it could be headed,” says the researcher. Beth Azar is a writer who lives in Portland, Oregon with her family.

Spirituality and Health

Meaning, hope, comfort, and inner peace may all be found via spirituality. Spirituality is a way of life. Religion is a popular way for many individuals to find spirituality. Those who discover it via music, art, or a connection with nature are among those who do so. Others discover it inside their own set of beliefs and ideas.

How is spirituality related to health?

No one is completely certain of the relationship between spirituality and health. However, it appears that the body, the intellect, and the soul are all intertwined. The health of any one of these aspects appears to have an impact on the other elements. According to some study, there is a link between your beliefs and your overall feeling of well-being. Positive ideas, comfort, and strength received via religion, meditation, and prayer may all contribute to a person’s well-being and well-being can be improved.

Even if improving your spiritual health does not cure your sickness, it may be able to make you feel better.

Path to improved health

If you wish to increase your spiritual well-being, you might want to consider some of the suggestions below. Keep in mind, however, that everyone is an individual. If something works for someone else, it may or may not work for you. Make the decision that is most comfortable for you.

  • Examine your life and identify the things that provide you with a sense of inner calm, comfort, strength, love, and connection. Make time every day to perform the activities that will benefit your spiritual well-being. Participating in community service or volunteer work, praying, meditating, singing devotional songs, reading inspirational books, taking nature walks, setting aside quiet time for reflection, practicing yoga, participating in sports, or attending religious services are examples of activities that can be done.

Things to consider

If you are being treated by a doctor for a medical condition, you should consider discussing your spiritual views with him or her. Your spiritual beliefs and practices may have an impact on your sentiments and ideas concerning your medical condition. Inform your doctor if you believe that your spiritual views are having an impact on your health care decisions. If your spiritual beliefs are interfering with your ability to follow your doctor’s advice, you should always notify him or her.

When to see a doctor

Speak to your family doctor about your spiritual views, thoughts, or concerns if they are giving you anxiety. If your doctor is unable to assist you with these concerns, he or she may be able to refer you to someone who is.

Questions for your doctor

  • Is it possible that my spiritual or religious views have an affect on my health? Is it necessary for me to communicate my spiritual or religious convictions with you
  • If so, please explain.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Health-Related Quality of Life survey measures how people feel about their health. The American Academy of Family Physicians retains ownership of the copyright. This material is intended to offer a basic overview and may not be applicable to all situations. Consult with your primary care physician to determine whether or not this information applies to you and to obtain further information on this subject.

Does Spirituality Make You Happy?

The following article is an extract from TIME magazine’s special edition, The Science of Happiness, which is available for purchase on Amazon. This is the first of the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha, and it’s there in front of you: “Existence is a source of sorrow.” If that’s not your thing, you may turn to the preacher Ecclesiastes, who said, “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun, and behold, they are all vanity and vexation of mind.” According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells his followers the parable of the rich man who has established a happy life, only to be told by God, “You idiot!

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Your life will be asked of you on this very night, if you do not flee.

As a result, it may come as a surprise that studies have discovered time and time again that individuals who engage in spiritual practices or adhere to religious views tend to be happier than those who do not.

Taking part in a religious organization, according to a 2015 survey conducted by researchers at the London School of Economics and the Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands, was the only social activity associated with sustained happiness—even more so than volunteering for a charity, taking educational courses, or participating in a political or community organization.

I’ve personally saw and experienced this event.

I was concerned that I might wind up using antidepressants, which are prescribed to more than 13 percent of the population in the United States.

The relaxing effects of continuous, deep breathing were not immediately apparent to me.

It might have been the fact that, despite the fact that I was meditating alone, the app I used to pace myself informed me how many other people were meditating at the same time I was, making me feel like I was part of a community of individuals who were also struggling to achieve that inner quiet.

It turns out that my experience is not unique; a review published in the journalJAMA Internal Medicinefound that even brief periods of meditation training can be beneficial for those suffering from anxiety, depression, and chronic pain.

In the same way, religious belief and spirituality have protective properties that are worth considering.

If you believe in a hereafter, which is something virtually all modern faiths share, it’s possible that this world will be a happier place for you since you’ll know you’re on your way to someplace greater.

Indeed, there appears to be something to the assumption that having religion makes people happy, according to some research. And it appears that one of the primary reasons for this is the fact that there is power in numbers.

The power of the group

Many faiths forbid vices that, over time, might be harmful to one’s health and, consequently, one’s happiness. The mortality rates of Mormons, for example, who are forbidden from smoking, drinking alcohol, or using caffeine, are significantly lower than those of nonobservers, and the same is true for abstaining Seventh-day Adventists, who follow vegetarian diets and refrain from drinking. However, experts have shown that the number of choices available in a free, consumer-driven society might actually cause people to become more ill-equipped to deal with the challenges of life.

  • That burden may be alleviated to some extent by religious requirements, particularly if those requirements, as well as the religious community that enforces them, discourage hazardous practices.
  • Scientists have known for a long time that having strong social bonds is one of the most important predictors of overall happiness.
  • Anyone who grew up religious, on the other hand, is well aware that there is something about religious relationships that makes them particularly adhesive.
  • Religio comes from the Latin word religio, which literally translates as “to join together.” Atomistic persons are tied to their families—both their immediate family and their ancestors—as well as to their friends, their community, and their congregation.
  • Religion may not be as effective a deterrent against misery if there is no sense of belonging among those who practice it.

“I believe the research demonstrates that it is not always attending to church and listening to sermons that makes individuals happier,” Lim told TIME, “but rather creating church-based acquaintances and developing close social networks in that environment.” It appears that the most vulnerable people in society are ones who suffer the most as a result of the protective nature of religious communities.

Using self-reports from hundreds of thousands of people all across the world, researchers discovered that the link between religious faith and happiness was highest among those who were living in challenging circumstances, such as fear, poverty, or hunger.

You may think of it as scientific confirmation of the old adage that there are no atheists in a foxhole.

The importance of religious community to slave populations throughout history, from the ancient Israelites under Pharaoh’s boot in Egypt to African Americans enslaved in the American South during the antebellum period, may be explained by this.

A wealthy individual may find it more difficult to enter heaven than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, but he may not believe that he has any reason to rely on heaven in the first place.

Being in the majority matters

When it comes to happiness and social support in prosperous but secular nations such as France and the Netherlands, both religious and nonreligious people report roughly the same levels of pleasure and social support. The truth is that some of the happiest countries in the world—Nordic nations such as Denmark and Sweden, which consistently rank high on measures of well-being—have a disproportionately high proportion of atheists in their populations. Being entirely agnostic about religion—and, presumably, not giving any thought to any form of afterlife—didn’t appear to prevent them from enjoying this life to the fullest.

  1. It is possible that the welfare state will give a similar level of existential assurance in prosperous countries as religion does in impoverished ones.
  2. Studies have also revealed that religion’s socially protective features are most effective in countries where religion is extensively practiced, according to the findings.
  3. The fact that you are in the majority in a predominantly religious society such as the United States makes sense.
  4. In a secular society such as the Netherlands, where atheism is common, the inverse is true of religion.
  5. Those religious social bonds are eroding, and with them, the protective aspects of spirituality are diminishing as well.
  6. Additionally, there is a substantial association between religious density and better economic results, such as greater wages, reduced divorce rates, and a higher possibility of holding a college degree, among other things.
  7. Aren’t these considerations a little too worldly for something that should be a matter of the spirit rather than economic numbers in the first place?

Where spirit comes in

The notion that human happiness should be the ultimate goal of religion is a relatively new one, and it would have been unrecognizable to the stern Protestants who landed on Plymouth Rock, who believed that the point of existence was the glorification of God rather than the fulfillment of human desires. The past, however, has passed away, and now, many of the descendants of those flinty Protestants are preaching the prosperity gospel, which clearly connects monetary success in this world to God’s favor.

  1. In addition, while the prosperity gospel may be an extreme example, numerous spiritual systems today expressly teach that happiness is a desirable objective.
  2. During his speech, the Buddhist leader explains why happiness is so significant.
  3. As a matter of fact, poll after survey has revealed that dissatisfied persons are more likely to be self-centered and to be socially aloof, gloomy, and even aggressive.” This worldview views happiness as more than simply a conceivable by-product of religion; it views it as a moral obligation.
  4. It was advised by Howard Cutler, a psychiatrist who collaborated with the Dalai Lama on the book, that it not begin with the fairly unsettling first Noble Truth, “life is suffering,” according to the Dalai Lama.

I started with more positive emotions and worked my way up to how we all want to be joyful but had to deal with misery, Cutler said in an interview with TIME magazine. “It had a really American feel to it.” Please contact us at [email protected]

Can Spirituality Exist Without God? A Growing Number Of Americans Say Yes

In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, more than a quarter of Americans described themselves as spiritual but not religious. (Image courtesy of William Farlow/Unsplash) As one of the top ten New Year’s plans for 2020, according to global research organization YouGov, is to “become more spiritual.” However, the image selected to represent this ambition is of someone who is meditating, rather than someone who is praying. More than a quarter of Americans now describe themselves as spiritual but not religious, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center.

  1. For some, the two coexist in the same space.
  2. There are theories that suggest it has something to do with the way we relate to people, with living more contemplatively, and with enjoying nature and the natural world.
  3. She is the originator and host of the public radio show ” On Being,” which includes the ” Calm Conversation Project,” which invites individuals with opposite points of view together to discuss very difficult matters in a civil and respectful manner.
  4. “I believe that the root meaning is interior life.” Earlier this year, researchers from Yale and Columbia universities discovered the “spiritual component of the brain” – a place they’ve dubbed the “neurobiological home” of spirituality.
  5. Tippett claims to have noticed the growth of a tremendous secular spirituality in recent years.
  6. “We are a culture that for a long time now really exclusively valued and rewarded outer success,” she argues.
  7. While it may have been a wonderful or unpleasant experience, the fact is that it happened “”Each of us was provided a space where we were encouraged to reflect,” she explains.

Many young people these days are pursuing their passions in a variety of sectors, such as business, politics, or even spin class, according to Ms.

Those who consider themselves “nones,” a phrase used to characterize people who self-identify as having no religious affiliation, according to Tippett, have a “genuine spiritual interest” about spiritual matters.

As she explains, “I regard scientists as deeply rooted partners in these old, stirring existential problems.” The spiritual is also discussed by Tippett in relation to individuals who utilize nature to achieve spiritual experiences.

She believes that this contributes to the concept of “awe” as well as the work of Dacher Keltner at the University of California, Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, according to her.

While “wonder” has traditionally been associated with religion and the belief in a higher power, she claims that Keltner’s research proves that people may experience awe in the natural world.

Her philosophy is based on “constantly returning back, looking inner, becoming re-centered, and seeing beyond ourselves,” she explains.

As she explains it, the ideal place in which we reach out to one another is one in which we do not allow our differences to determine the possibilities of our relationship.

Brown mentioned in the interview that you should move in and ask questions, and that you should keep in mind the following: “that spiritual conviction in an inextricable link between two things What ties me to you in a sense that is deeper and more fundamental than our differences in political ideology?” “Folks that are smart will tell me, “We’re in relationship with the people on the other side of whatever it is that’s bothering us.” Tippett expresses himself.

I believe this is the type of hard understanding that the spiritual traditions are inviting us to have.” As she puts it, “it’s about your soul” when you’re working through awkward or challenging talks with other people.

Todd Mundt was interviewed by Karyn Miller-Medzon, who produced and edited the interview for transmission. Besides that, Miller-Medzon modified it for the web as well.

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